Taiwan to review Chinese activist’s request for asylum

Taipei--Taiwan has received an application for asylum from Chinese civil rights activist Zhang Xiangzhong (???) and will review his case to see if he meets the requirements, the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Tuesday.

Zhang is currently being questioned by the National Immigration Agency (NIA) after leaving his Chinese tour group last week and being located by authorities on Monday, MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (???) said.

Officials from the responsible agencies will meet later Tuesday to discuss Zhang's case, according to MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (???).

Asked if Zhang might be repatriated back to China, Chiu said such a possibility "could not be ruled out."

NIA officials, meanwhile, said the agency has provided an appropriate place for Zhang to temporarily stay in Taiwan but has not reached a conclusion on whether to allow him long-term residency.

The 48-year-old civil rights activist from Shandong province arrived in Taiwan on April 12 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, who has indicated his intention to seek political asylum in Taiwan, was found in New Taipei's Xindian district on Monday.

Chang said Monday that the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area does not cover political asylum, but political refugees from China may be granted long-term residence on a case-by-case basis.

If Zhang requests asylum, the NIA will examine his case to see whether he meets the requirements for long-term residency, according to Chang.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel