Chinese student in Taiwan faces uncertain future after criticizing Xi

04/03/2019 09:21 PM
Li Jiabao (李家寶) / CNA file photo
Li Jiabao (李家寶) / CNA file photo

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) A Chinese student in Taiwan who recently spoke out against Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Twitter is in dire economic straits because his access to financing has been cut off following his comments, the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said Wednesday.

"Money deposited by Li Jiabao (李家寶) in a Taiwan bank will only last until late April," said SEF spokeswoman Kuan An-lu (管安露) at a weekly news briefing.

According to Kuan, the SEF has been in contact with Li to gain an understanding of his situation in Taiwan after he criticized Xi in a live stream on Twitter March 13.

After discussing the matter with his school, the SEF will provide assistance to Li if he needs help, she said.

Li has already expressed a desire to apply for asylum or seek refugee status, but Taiwan currently has no related refugee law or a mechanism in place to deal with asylum requests from Chinese nationals.

Kuan said it would be the first such case since the government allowed Chinese students to study in Taiwan in 2011.

Li's possible long-term settlement in Taiwan needs to be handled by the National Immigration Agency and the Mainland Affairs Council, she explained.

In the March 11 video titled "I oppose," Li criticized Xi's decision last year to remove the two-term limit on presidential terms in office, arguing that with that move, modern politics in China has become an extension of past autocratic empires.

"China today is like one of those absurd and deplorable worlds British author George Orwell wrote about in his novels," Li commented. "In China, it is darker now than before the Xinhai Revolution."

The 21-year-old Li from Shandong Province, who is currently enrolled on a short-term program at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science in Tainan, southern Taiwan, said he has been unable to contact his parents since making the comments and therefore not received any money from them.

According to Li, friends in other countries have also tried to send him money through online payment websites, but were unable to do so because his cellphone number in China had been canceled.

Li said he has also received death threats online.

(By Miao Chung-hen and Flor Wang)


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