News Update


On a jet ski, ‘Chinese activist Kwon Pyong’ fled to South Korea.

According to the country’s coast guard, the man traveled roughly 300 kilometers (186 miles) across the Yellow Sea using binoculars and a compass before being trapped.

Local media identified him as Kwon Pyong, a critic of President Xi Jinping, although his identification has yet to be confirmed.

The Chinese embassy in Seoul did not respond.

Beijing has intensified its use of exit bans at airports and other lawful border crossings in recent years to prevent activists from leaving Chinese territory.

Many pro-Beijing countries in Southeast Asia would no longer accept asylum seekers, complicating the situation for dissidents seeking to flee.

Last month, the well-known Chinese human rights lawyer Lu Siwei was apprehended in Laos and deported to China before rejoining his wife and children in the United States.

However, jet surfing over stormy waters to South Korea is one of the more daring escape attempts reported in recent years.

The man, who was wearing a life jacket and helmet, was hauling five barrels of petrol from Shandong province behind the 1800cc engine, according to South Korea’s coast guard.

“He refilled the petrol on the ride and dumped the empty barrels into the sea,” it said, adding that he ran into problems near a cruise terminal off the western port of Incheon and requested assistance.

The coast guard did not name the guy, but said he was apprehended last Wednesday for attempting “to smuggle himself” into the city. There is no reason to suspect him of being a spy. Mr Kwon, 35, was the escapee, according to South Korean campaigner Lee Dae-seon of the non-profit organization Dialogue China, who told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Mr. Kwon was imprisoned in China for publicly criticizing President Xi.

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It is quite possible that he would have had difficulties attempting to leave the nation via regular travel routes in order to seek asylum, and he would have been subject to an exit ban preventing him from leaving China lawfully.

“While [Mr Kwon’s] means of entry into South Korea in violation of the law was wrong,” Mr Lee said, “surveillance of Chinese authorities and political persecution of Kwon since 2016 are behind his life-risking crossing into South Korea.”

He went on to say that Mr Kwon was now debating whether to apply for refugee status in South Korea, which only approves a few requests each year, or in a third nation.


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