Taiwan has received an application for asylum from Chinese civil rights advocate Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠) and is to review his case to see if he meets the requirements, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) said yesterday.
Zhang was being questioned by the National Immigration Agency after leaving his Chinese tour group last week and being located by authorities on Monday, Chang said on the sidelines of a forum on cross-strait exchanges in Taipei.
Officials were to meet yesterday to discuss Zhang’s case, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said.
Immigration officials said the agency had provided an appropriate place for Zhang to stay temporarily, but it has not reached a conclusion on whether to grant him long-term residency.
The 48-year-old from Shandong Province arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday last week as part of a tour group on an eight-day visit, but left the group the next day and his whereabouts remained unknown for days.
Zhang said he abandoned the tour group after being inspired by Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), who is trying to secure the release of her husband, Taiwanese rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲),who was detained by the Chinese government after entering China on March 19 for “activities that threaten China’s national security.”
Zhang, who had indicated his intention to seek political asylum, was found in New Taipei City’s Xindian District (新店) on Monday.
Zhang had been sheltered by a non-governmental organization since he left the tour group, before an immigration officer found him by tracking his mobile phone.
Chang on Monday said that the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) does not cover political asylum, but that Chinese political refugees can be granted long-term residence on a case-by-case basis.
Additional reporting by Wang Kuan-jen
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