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Chinese asylum seeker in Canada after being stranded in Taiwan

2019/05/21 14:31:31

Chinese asylum seeker Yan Kefen (right, CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) Chinese asylum seeker Yan Kefen (顏克芬), who has been stuck in limbo at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for more than seven months, arrived in Canada on Sunday, according to a Facebook post on Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese on Tuesday.

Using his People's Republic of China passport, Yan departed from the Taoyuan airport Saturday night and reached Ottawa after transiting through Toronto the next day, the post said.

Yan and another Chinese national, Liu Xinglian (劉興聯), arrived at the airport on Sept. 27, 2018 on a flight from Thailand on their way 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.

As a result, without documents that would allow them to enter the country through normal channels, the two men have had to stay in a restricted area at the Taoyuan airport since then.

The two exited Taiwan briefly for "professional exchanges" by flying to an undisclosed country on Jan. 30 but returned to Taiwan later that day.

Upon arriving in Ottawa, Yan told RFA Chinese that he was grateful to the Taiwanese and Canadian governments and all of the people and non-governmental organizations that have helped him.

New School For Democracy (NSD) Chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元), a guarantor for the two Chinese asylum seekers, confirmed the news, saying that Yan left for Canada after receiving approval for professional immigration to the country.

Liu, 64, who has diabetes and hypertension, must stay in Taiwan for medical treatment at this time, Tseng said.

MAC spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) declined to comment on the two Chinese asylum seekers on Tuesday.

(By Miao Zong-han and Evelyn Kao)
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