Taipei, April 20 (CNA) A Chinese political activist, who intended to seek political asylum in Taiwan, was given assistance by the government to return home because his case did not conform to the regulations on long term-residence, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday.
Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠), 48, from Shandong province, arrived in Taiwan on April 12 as part of a tour group but left the group the next day and had been telling several media organizations that he planned to apply for political asylum in Taiwan.
He was apprehended Monday in New Taipei by the National Immigration Agency (NIA), which examined his case and concluded that he could not be granted residence in Taiwan under any of the existing regulations governing long-term residency or even under draft bills, including a draft Refugee Act, said Chiu chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council.
Zhang had been imprisoned in China for three years on charges of causing social disorder and was released last year.
After the NIA explained the legal obstacles to granting Zhang asylum in Taiwan, he agreed to rejoin the tour group and depart with the other members on Wednesday, Chiu said.
The NIA assisted Zhang and his departure went smoothly, Chiu said, adding that Zhang had not been deported.
The MAC told Zhang it would ask China to handle his case in accordance with a cross-strait agreement on Chinese tourists traveling to Taiwan.
The Taiwan government will continue to keep a close watch on the situation, Chiu said, adding that as far as he was aware, there were no threats to Zhang's freedom of movement.
MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) said Monday that Taiwan's Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area did not cover political asylum, but political refugees from China may be granted long-term residency on a case-by-case basis.
(By Mioa Chung-han and Evelyn Kao)