Liu Xinglian (劉興聯), a Chinese national who spent months at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after arriving for a transit stop and then seeking asylum, arrived in Canada on Saturday, his Taiwanese guarantor said yesterday.
Liu left Taiwan on a China Airlines flight at 11:35pm on Saturday and arrived in Vancouver at about 8pm, said Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元), chairman of the New School For Democracy, a non-governmental organization founded in 2011 that promotes democracy in the Chinese-speaking world.
Exiled Chinese poet Bei Ling (貝嶺), who lives in Taiwan, yesterday wrote on Facebook that Liu was escorted onto the flight by immigration officers.
He was able to travel to Vancouver with the help of the Canadian government and religious groups in Canada, Bei said.
A sponsor in Canada agreed to cover Liu’s costs for the next year and secured a place for him to live in Ottawa, Bei said, adding that Liu was likely be granted permanent residency in Canada soon.
Liu arrived at the Taoyuan airport on Sept. 27 last year, along with Yan Kefen (顏克芬), on a flight from Thailand on their way to Beijing, but instead of boarding their flight to China later that day they applied for asylum using refugee certificates issued by the UN, saying they were dissidents persecuted by the Chinese government.
However, since Taiwan does not yet have an adequate mechanism to deal with refugee claims, and lacking documents that would allow them to enter the nation through normal channels, the two men had to remain in a restricted area of the airport.
Li and Yan left Taiwan briefly on Jan. 30, traveling to an undisclosed location for “professional exchanges,” but returned on Jan. 31.
With the help of Bei and Tseng, they were allowed to leave the airport when they returned and to stay at a residence in Taipei, with Tseng acting as guarantor for both men.
Yan left for Canada on May 18, having been approved for professional immigration.
Liu, who is a diabetic and has hypertension, had to stay longer for medical tests and treatment, Tseng said.
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Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease