“I was able to successfully obtain political asylum in Canada,” Chinese activist Chen Siming said, thanking human rights organisations, as well as the governments of Taiwan and Canada, and the UN refugee agency.
October 9, 2023
A Chinese activist who fled to Taiwan last month and urged the self-ruled island not to deport him said Sunday he had arrived in Canada and obtained political asylum.
Chinese activist Chen Siming takes a selfie with a Canadian national flag after arriving in Vancouver on October 5, 2023. Photo: Chen Siming
Chen Siming said last month on X, formerly Twitter, 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 Chen was not able to enter. He posted on X from Taipei international airport’s transit area.
Chen said in his latest post he had arrived in Vancouver on Thursday.
“I was able to successfully obtain political asylum in Canada,” Chen 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.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which manages relations with Beijing, confirmed that 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), 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.