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Taiwan will not repatriate two Chinese asylum-seekers

2018/10/18 16:36:39

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Taiwan will not send back two Chinese passport-holders who applied for political asylum during a transit stop at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in September, a spokesman for the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Wednesday.

MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) did not respond directly to a question as to whether the government will help the two asylum seekers , who are being detained at the airport, to settle in a third country, saying only that the government has done a lot to help them.

Meanwhile, the MAC, the top government body responsible for mainland affairs, said in a statement issued later that day that it has collaborated with the National Immigration Agency and has several times dispatched staff to the airport to gain a fuller understanding of the situation, but are still investigating the case.

The MAC said the government will ensure the two asylum seekers' safety during their time in Taiwan and will handle the case by taking into account international practice, Taiwan's laws and regulations, past instances of handling similar cases, human rights protection and international media coverage.

On Sept. 27, 43-year-old Yan Kefen and 63-year-old Liu Xinglian, traveling on valid Chinese passports, transited via the Taoyuan airport on a flight from Thailand and were scheduled to continue on to China. However, they did not board the China-bound flight.

Immigration officers later found that Yan and Liu were holding refugee certificates issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The duo allegedly suffered political persecution in China and expressed hope of applying for political asylum in Taiwan, according to the immigration officers.

They have also contacted the U.S. and Canadian governments through their friends in those two countries in the hope of receiving political asylum there before leaving Taiwan.

At present, they are still being held in a restricted area of the Taoyaun airport.

(By Miao Zong-han and Evelyn Kao)