Taipei open to asylum call

China | 18 Apr 2017

Taiwan said it is prepared to review a petition for asylum from a Chinese activist who left his tour group in Taiwan without notice last week.

Local media reported on Sunday that Zhang Xiangzhong, whose whereabouts remain unknown, has said he will make an asylum request today with the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's China policy-making body.

"If he submits a political asylum request, we're ready to review it," MAC chairwoman Chang Hsiao-yueh said.

"It is too early to say if we will allow it ... We're looking for him. He has not contacted any government agencies."

Zhang, 48, is from Shandong province and was jailed for three years for participating in the New Citizen's Movement in China. He was released in 2016.

China has jailed several people for involvement in the group, which advocates working within the system to press for change.

Chang said Taiwan does not offer political asylum to Chinese, but it can offer "long term stay," providing a visa to remain in Taiwan without officially calling it "asylum."

Chang said the government will review any request with immigration authorities.


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