Chinese tourist’s asylum request rejected by Taipei


Taipei – A request for politcal asylum by Chinese tourist in Taiwan was rejected Tuesday, as immigration officers said they believed the woman was mentally disturbed.

Zheng Zhong, 55, flew form Beijing to Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport with a Chinese tour group Tuesday. As she was clearing customs, she told a customs officer that she wanted political asylum, the Broadcasting Corp of China said.

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But according to the airport’s immigration office, Zheng – who is married to a German – was trying to draw attention to a dispute with her Japanese neighbour in Germany.

‘She said her Japanese neighbour often breaks into her house. She complained in vain to German police and the Japanese consulate. As no one paid attention, she hoped the Taiwan government could convey her complaint to those who are concerned,’ an immigration officer, who gave only his surname Lin, said by phone.

He added that the officials believed she was mentally disturbed and did therefore not meet the conditions for entering Taiwan. Zheng agreed to be repatriated to China via Hong Kong.

Taiwan, split from China since 1949, used to welcome Chinese defectors during the Cold War, but nearly stopped doing so as cross-strait tension began to thaw.

In the last 10 years, Taiwan has sheltered very few Chinese defectors on a case-by-case basis. Instead of granting them political asylum in Taiwan, Taipei accepted them as refugees and helped them find a third country to accept them.