A Chinese activist’s attempt to defect to Taiwan earlier this week could have shaken the careful balancing act that has prevailed across the Taiwan Strait since May 20 last year
The decision by the Taiwanese government earlier this week to deny political asylum to a Chinese dissident who had left his tour group at the weekend may have saved the Tsai Ing-wen administration serious headaches amid a controversy surrounding the detention of a Taiwanese rights activist in China.
At first glance, Zhang Xiangzhong’s attempt to obtain asylum in Taiwan looked like a straight-up case of a Chinese dissident seeking freedom from authoritarian rule in China. The 48-year-old civil rights activist from Shandong Province claims he had served three years in jail after taking part in the New Citizens Movement (he was arrested in July 2013). Upon his release in July 2016, Zhang says he was under constant surveillance by the Chinese security apparatus.