Two Chinese visitors reportedly applied for political asylum during a transit stop at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport at the end of last month, newspapers in Taiwan revealed, citing a source in the island’s National Immigration Agency.
The agency reportedly detained the two mainlanders at the airport as they did not have valid documents allowing them to enter Taiwan, while officers reviewed and verified their claims.
The agency later confirmed the reports, but did not reveal the identities of the asylum seekers, who asked for protection from political persecution in China.
Meanwhile, the island’s Mainland Affairs Council have added that the two men held Chinese passports and touched down at Taoyuan Airport on a scheduled flight from Bangkok that was en route to an unspecified mainland city.
In May, Chinese human rights advocate Huang Yan sought political asylum during a transit stop in Taiwan.
Huang, who held a refugee certificate issued by the United Nations, was permitted to enter on humanitarian grounds and she stayed in Taiwan for around three months before heading for a third nation for resettlement.
Since neither side of the Taiwan Strait recognizes the legitimacy or jurisdiction of the other, China and Taiwan do not have a repatriation agreement. Nor is there an unofficial mechanism by which to extradite criminals or asylum seekers.
Some key leaders of the student movement in the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989 fled to Taiwan via British Hong Kong after a bloodbath resulted from Beijing’s military crackdown in the square. They included Wu’erkaixi and Wang Dan, both of whom remain on Beijing’s wanted list.