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Bid for Taiwan asylum called off

China | Apr 20, 2017
A Chinese dissident who intended to apply for asylum in Taiwan returned voluntarily to the mainland with his tour group yesterday, bringing down the curtain in quick time on a situation that threatened to turn into a diplomatic wrangle.

Political activist Zhang Xiangzhong, who met with immigration officials on Tuesday, decided his "best solution" was to return to the mainland, Taiwanese authorities said in a statement. He flew out of Taipei yesterday morning in the tour group with which he arrived.

Zhang left his nine-day package tour last week and said he intended to seek asylum in Taiwan as a political refugee.

He had been jailed by mainland authorities in connection with political activities.

Taiwan stopped offering asylum to mainlanders after a series of plane hijackings in the 1990s by people seeking to flee China, though it offers long-term residency.

But in Zhang's case there was "difficulty" in conforming to requirements for long-term residency, officials of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said. And Zhang "fully understood" the situation, they added.

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