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Chinese asylum seekers could enter Taiwan Saturday: sources

2019/01/25 23:00:03

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) Two Chinese asylum seekers who have been stuck into limbo at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for months could be allowed to enter the country on Saturday, according to sources Friday.

The two Chinese nationals, Yan Kefen (顏克芬) and Liu Xinglian (劉興聯), could enter Taiwan on the basis of "professional exchanges" Saturday evening at the earliest, but they will first have to exit and then re-enter the country on another plane in the morning, sources said.

There was no word on where the two might fly to.

Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元), a board member of the New School for Democracy, confirmed the news to CNA Friday, saying he was willing to act as guarantor for the two asylum seekers and that his decision was based solely on human rights considerations.

The move will allow them entrance into Taiwan to await resettlement in a third country, Tseng said.

Yan and Liu arrived at the airport on Sept. 27, 2018 on a flight from Thailand to transit to Beijing, but they did not board their scheduled flight to China later in the day.

Instead, they filed for asylum status with Taiwanese authorities, using refugee certificates issued by the United Nations.

Taiwan, however, does not yet have an adequate mechanism to deal with refugee claims, according to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the main government agency responsible for cross-Taiwan Strait affairs.

That has meant that without the required documents to enter the country, the two men have remained in a restricted area at the Taoyuan airport since then.

Tseng said he was hopeful Taiwan will be able to hear their story once they have entered Taiwan.

Sources on Friday also said their accommodation will be looked after by the Independent Chinese PEN Center during their time in the country.

(By Miao Zong-han and Ko Lin)
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