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Taiwan considering allowing entry of 2 Chinese asylum seekers

2019/01/24 19:34:56

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister and spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday that is it mulling a plan to permit two Chinese asylum seekers to enter Taiwan for "professional exchanges".

The proposal is still under discussion among the relevant government agencies and will require the cooperation of the two Chinese men, who have been in a restricted area at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for the past four months, said MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正).

Meanwhile, in a written statement, the MAC said the matter will have to be handled in accordance with Taiwan's laws and regulations, taking into consideration international precedent in similar cases and human rights protections.

The MAC, the main government agency responsible for cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, said Taiwan does not yet have an adequate mechanism to deal with refugee claims.

However, the MAC and other government agencies are committed to upholding human rights and protecting the safety of the two Chinese nationals while seeking appropriate solutions, according to the statement.

The two Chinese men, 43-year-old Yan Kefen (顏克芬) and 63-year-old Liu Xinglian (劉興聯), arrived at the Taoyuan airport on Sept. 27 last year on a flight from Thailand and were scheduled to continue onward to Beijing but did not get on the outbound flight.

Instead, they put in a claim for asylum on grounds of political persecution in China but they could not provide any supporting evidence, the MAC said at the time.

Immigration officers later found that Yan and Liu were holding refugee certificates issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees but the officers could not immediately ascertain whether the men had applied for asylum elsewhere.

Since then, the two men have been in a restricted area at the Taoyuan airport, the MAC said, adding that they do not have the required documents to enter Taiwan.

They are being monitored around the clock and assisted by the National Immigration Agency's Border Affairs Corps and appear to be emotionally stable, according to the MAC.

Liu, however, suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and adrenal tumors, the MAC said.

(By Miao Zong-han and Chung Yu-chen)