Chinese dissident Gong Yujian (龔與劍), who supported the Tiananmen democratic movement in 1989 and came to Taiwan with a tour group late last month, is said to have sought political asylum in the nation.
The news was first broadcast by Radio Free Asia on Monday, through which 38-year-old Gong said he has decided to seek political asylum in Taiwan after more than 20 years of harassment and threats from Chinese security agencies.
Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏), who worked with the Taiwan Association for Human Rights in assisting Gong to stay and seek asylum, told the Taipei Times that Gong has met Wuer Kaixi and Yan Peng (燕鵬), two other exiled Chinese dissidents in the nation, and the two have confirmed Gong’s status as a person subjected to political persecution.
“Gong has brought documents with him, including arrest warrants,” Yang said.
Gong supported the Tiananmen democratic movement as a 12-year-old by helping students hand out the fliers and putting up posters calling for democracy, according to the Radio Free Asia interview. He continued to put up posters demanding justice for the protesting students and revealing the violent oppression of the government against the students after the crackdown, and was arrested in 1994.
Gong was sent to a labor camp for a year and three months on “anti-revolution” charges. He continued to suffer police harassment, intimidation and surveillance afterward, Yang said.
“He told me that he would rather stay in a Taiwanese prison than be frightened in China,” Yang said.
“A refugee law is still needed in Taiwan, and also an amendment to Article 17 of 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), which is the refugee clause for Chinese [as the ROC does not see them as foreigners],” Yang said. “It is actually demanded by two international human rights conventions, that our government has ratified.”
“We are calling on the government to view Gong as a special case, as it did with the nine Chinese dissidents who were recently granted refugee status, Yang said, adding that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should not repatriate Gong.
“Gong has already made statements in the media denouncing the Chinese government, calling it a gang of robbers and scammers. It would be life-threatening if he is sent back to China,” Yang said. “Repatriating Gong would be against human rights conventions and set a bad precedent of caving in to Beijing’s pressure and hurting Taiwan’s dignity as a sovereign nation.”
National Immigration Agency official Hsu Chien-lin (徐健麟) said the agency had not received Gong’s application for asylum as of yesterday, adding that it would have the Mainland Affairs Council deal with the application as a special case.
“An evaluation on whether the case can be identified as one seeking political asylum has to be done,” he said, adding that each case is different when asked whether Gong would be repatriated.
In response to the Taipei Times’ request for comment, the council said last night there is a set mechanism in place for Chinese who seek asylum in Taiwan.
“According to the regulations [governing the long-term residence of Chinese], they can apply for long-term residence on the basis of political consideration, and a review team on the case would be convened by the Ministry of the Interior,” it said, adding that the immigration agency has so far not received the application from the person reported by the media.