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Cablegate: Taiwan Inside Story On Prc National Jia Jia

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3742/01 3061051
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021051Z NOV 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2881
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5878
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1589
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7098

C O N F I D E N T I A L AIT TAIPEI 003742

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR CA/VO/F/P, EAP/CM, PRM, DRL/ASY, DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2031
TAGS: PHUM PINR PREL HK CH NZ TW
SUBJECT: TAIWAN INSIDE STORY ON PRC NATIONAL JIA JIA

REF: HONG KONG 4284

Classified By: Deputy Director Robert S. Wang, Reason(s): 1.4 (B/D).

1. (C) Summary: PRC national Jia Jia entered Taiwan from
Thailand on October 22, as part of a 26-member Chinese tour
group. Jia separated from the group after passing through
Customs, and afterward, met with two Taiwanese professors,
both outspoken advocates of Falun Gong. Jia surrendered
himself to the Taiwan Visitors Association on October 25. In
police custody, Jia identified himself as the Secretary
General of the Shanxi Province Science and Technology
Association, but denied being a member of the Chinese
Communist Party or the Falun Gong. He claimed to be a
democracy advocate interested in taking Taiwan's democratic
lessons back to the PRC. Claiming to fear persecution if
returned to China, Jia requested political asylum. The
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) played down public discussion
of Jia's asylum request to avoid creating difficulties for
him in the PRC. MAC also disseminated a politically neutral
"cover story" that Jia's decision to split from his tour
group had been caused by depression. Taiwan denied Jia's
asylum request because he could not prove he had or would
suffer any form of persecution in the PRC. Taiwan offered
Jia two options: to return to Thailand or to travel to Hong
Kong. Jia chose Hong Kong, expecting the aid of sympathetic
Falun Gong practitioners there. MAC told AIT that the New
Zealand representative in Hong Kong had agreed to issue Jia a
visa, but the request was ultimately denied. As of 7:00
p.m., November 2, Taipei time, Hong Kong Falun Gong
practitioners are hoping to secure travel for Jia to
Thailand, where he will try to petition for refugee status.
End Summary.

2. (C) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Legal Affairs
Director Jeff Yang (Jia-jun) told AIT on November 2 that
local press reporting of PRC national Jia Jia's case told
only part of the story. According to Yang, Jia entered
Taiwan from Thailand on October 22, as part of a Chinese tour
group from Shanxi and Henan provinces. Jia's tour group was
scheduled to stay in Taiwan October 22-28. Jia split from
the group after clearing Customs at Taoyuan International
Airport. He was on his own for two days, during which time
he met with two well-known Falun Gong advocates, National
Taiwan University (NTU) professors Chang Ching-hsi and Ming
Chu-cheng. Jia turned himself in to the Taiwan Visitors
Association (Taiwan's tourism bureau) on October 25.

3. (C) MAC's Yang told AIT that during the initial interview
by the Ministry of Justice Investigative Bureau (MJIB), Jia
readily identified himself as Secretary General of the Shanxi
Province Science and Technology Association, and offered
supporting documentation. However, Jia denied being a member
of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and denied any
affiliation with Falun Gong. Jia told investigators he
wished to understand and experience Taiwan's democracy first
hand, and to share that experience with others in China. Jia
also advocated the establishment of a "Chinese Democratic
Confederation." Although Jia admitted he had not yet begun
pro-democracy activities in China, he asserted that he would
do so in the future when the "time was right." Jia requested
political asylum in Taiwan because he feared he would suffer
persecution upon his return to the PRC. (Note: The local
press reported that Jia had initially claimed to be a
democracy activist, and a member of Falun Gong, and that he
had sought asylum to avoid persecution by PRC authorities.
Papers later reported that Jia then denied Falun Gong
membership, and claimed that his decision to separate from
the tour group had been motivated by depression over a recent
split with his wife. End note.)

4. (C) Yang and MAC Department of Information and Liaison
Section Chief Cheng Wei-ching explained to AIT the "marital
difficulties" story, although rooted in fact, was essentially
a "cover story" publicized by MAC in an effort to
de-politicize Jia's case. Jia would probably face some kind
of investigation if he were to ultimately required to return
to China, Yang told AIT. The "marital difficulties" story
was intended to enable Jia to plead emotional distress as the
cause of his erratic behavior and controversial statements
while in Taiwan. Jia would have been much worse off facing
the Chinese authorities without this kind of "plausible
deniability," Yang continued, and the Taiwan authorities
wanted to preserve his ability to return to China, should he
so desire.

5. (C) Yang told AIT that Taiwan authorities denied Jia's
asylum requst. They found Jia's case atypical in that he
held a privileged position in the PRC and had been permitted

to travel freely to Taiwan by the PRC authorities. Jia,
moreover, admitted that he was not actually a political
dissident yet, and was only planning to become one in the
future, and he could not prove that he had been or would be
the victim of politically-motivated persecution. Yang told
AIT that Jia was laboring under the misconception that as a
PRC citizen, he would automatically be eligible for asylum or
refugee status once he made it to Taiwan, and therefore was
unprepared to meet his "burden of proof."

6. (C) Once his asylum request was denied, Taiwan
authorities offered Jia two options: to return to Thailand to
pursue a refugee claim there with UNHCR, or to go to Hong
Kong. Jia chose Hong Kong, where he expected help from
sympathetic Falun Gong practitioners there. Yang explained
that NTU professors Chang and Ming were willing to help Jia
because he shared their hatred of the CCP, and had publicly
urged its members to quit. Chang and Ming were responsible
for energizing the Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong, who
ultimately helped Jia secure a seven-day stay in Hong Kong.

7. (C) Yang told AIT that Jia did in fact suffer an
emotional breakdown at the airport on the morning of October
25, when he was scheduled to fly to Hong Kong, as had been
reported in the press. According to Yang, Jia was afraid of
"facing the unknown" in Hong Kong, where he feared he might
be detained by Chinese authorities. After he recovered his
composure, Jia flew to Hong Kong on the afternoon of October
25. Yang said the Taiwan government has received no
communication from the PRC on Jia's case, and has not been
pressured by Beijing in any way.

8. (C) MAC told AIT that, at the behest of the Taiwan
representative office in Hong Kong, the New Zealand
representative there had agreed to issue Jia a visa. Taiwan
authorities had agreed to pay for Jia's flight to New
Zealand, which would have transited Taiwan. Unfortunately,
the New Zealand visa request was denied. According to Yang,
as of November 2, 7:00 p.m. Taiwan time, Hong Kong Falun Gong
practitioners are hoping to secure for Jia a direct flight to
Thailand, where he may try to petition for refugee status.
WANG

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