TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Chinese human rights activist who disappeared after his arrival in Taiwan with a tour group last week and announced he would apply for political asylum, left the island Wednesday, the Mainland Affairs Council said.
Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠), 48, left with his original group of his own accord without any duress with the assistance of the National Immigration Agency (NIA), the MAC said in a statement issued Wednesday morning. His case did not correspond to the conditions necessary to stay in Taiwan for a long time, according to the authorities.
Zhang arrived in the country on April 12 but disappeared from his hotel the next day. Reports said that he had been inspired by the case of the Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who has been detained in China since March 19, and his wife, who Zhang reportedly admired for her courage.
On April 17, the NIA located Zhang in Xindian, New Taipei City, and questioned him about his intentions. The following day, meetings took place to discuss the contents of the conversations, while another discussion with Zhang took place.
The MAC said the conclusion was that the Chinese activist did not fulfill the requirements necessary for him to remain in Taiwan for a longer period of time, and he agreed to leave with the tour group he had originally participated in.
Zhang reportedly said he respected the decisions of the Taiwan government. He apparently boarded a flight back to China at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Zhang is a member of the New Citizens’ Movement, a group working for more democracy, government transparency and rule of law in China. He was reportedly arrested in July 2013 and spent three years in prison.