Chinese activist stuck in transit lounge now in Canada

Chinese activist stuck in transit lounge now in Canada

Updated / Sunday, 8 Oct 2023 12:03

Chen Siming was stuck in the transit lounge of the airport for two weeks

Chen Siming was stuck in the transit lounge of the airport for two weeks

A Chinese activist who fled to Taiwan last month and urged authorities there not to deport him said he had arrived in Canada and obtained political asylum.

Chen Siming said last month on X, that he had fled China in July and arrived in Taiwan two months later.

He urged Taiwanese authorities not to send him back because he was seeking political asylum in the United States or Canada.

Self-ruled Taiwan has restrictions on travellers from China – which claims the island as its territory – and so Mr Chen was not able to enter. He posted on X from Taipei international airport’s transit area.

Mr Chen said in his latest post he had arrived in Vancouver on Thursday.

“I was able to successfully obtain political asylum in Canada,” he said, thanking human rights organisations, as well as the governments of Taiwan and Canada, and the UN refugee agency.

“This kindness… will never be forgotten,” he said.

A Canadian national flag can be seen in the background of one of two selfie photos Chen posted with his message.


— 陈思明 (@csm8964) October 8, 2023

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which manages relations with Beijing, confirmed that Mr Chen was no longer in Taiwan.

AFP has not independently verified Chen’s account.

The activist, who was based in China’s southern province of Hunan, had vocally supported Hong Kong protesters in 2019 when the city was gripped by massive demonstrations calling for more autonomy from Beijing.

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Mr Chen travelled to Laos after leaving China in July before crossing into Thailand.

However, due to concerns about being sent to immigration prison in Thailand – a country with a track record of deporting dissidents – he bought a return ticket to China that transited Taiwan, RFA said.

Two Chinese dissidents spent more than four months trapped at Taiwan’s airport after fleeing China in 2019.

Immigration officials refused to grant them entry because they did not have valid visas, but the democratic government was also wary of deporting them.

They were allowed a temporary stay outside the airport after 125 days and have since left for Canada, where both were granted asylum status.

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