(CNA file photo)
Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Chinese civil rights activist Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠), who escaped to Taiwan last week, has not made any formal request for political asylum, the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday.
In Taiwan, 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, MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) told lawmakers in a legislative committee meeting.
If Zhang requests asylum, as he indicated in an April 15 interview with Apple Daily, the National Immigration Agency will examine his case to see whether he meets the requirements for long-term residency, Chang said.
Zhang, a 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 has not been located since.
His actions were a violation of Taiwan's regulations pertaining to Chinese visitors, Chang said, adding that the government had informed Chinese authorities of the situation, under the terms of a cross-Taiwan Strait tourism agreement.
In an interview that aired on Radio Free Asia on April 14, Zhang said he was imprisoned in China for three years because of his participation the New Citizens Movement, a group that calls for a civic spirit based on freedom, justice and love.
Since his release from prison in July 2016, Zhang said, he has been under constant surveillance by the Chinese authorities.
(By Miao Tzung-han and Y.F. Low)