The Case of Jia Jia
(Democracy activist deported to SAR, Ralph Jennings, Reuters, via The Standard)
A mainland man, denied political asylum in Taiwan after leaving his tour group last week, has been deported to Hong Kong. Taipei police have declined to discuss the case, but they confirmed that Jia Jia, 55, was deported to Hong Kong. Jia can spend seven days in Hong Kong but hopes another country will take him in before that time expires. He has supporters in Hong Kong, but said Chinese agents were following him everywhere.
Jia said he wanted to use Taiwan's freedom of speech to promote democracy in China and that he faces jail time back home. The part-time science professor in the Shanxi provincial capital of Taiyuan, said Sunday he joined a Taiwan-bound tour group intending to break away and seek asylum. He is the son of a Nationalist Party air force official, who stayed behind after the Communist Party emerged victorious from a civil war in 1949. If the asylum bid had been approved, Jia said he would have published pro- democracy articles in an environment free from punishment by Communist Party government officials.
"If you choose Taiwan to do activities promoting democracy in China, the conditions are ripe," Jia said. "A lot of people in the mainland think Taiwan is their only hope," said Jia, who is also secretary general of the Shanxi Provincial Association of Science and Technology Experts. "I want to tell Taiwan people to gather together with us and not believe the Communist Party."
Divorced for 24 years, Jia said he had already sent his son to a university in New Zealand as part of his plan to get the family out of China. Jia escaped his 27-member tour group October 22 after clearing customs at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, local media said. He turned himself in Wednesday after a police manhunt. Jia said he had been staying with a friend in Taipei. Police asked where he was staying and why he wanted asylum but took few notes when they woke him up at dawn in police custody to go to the airport, Jia said. He said he told Taipei police they were behaving like communist leaders in China. "They didn't say I was rejected, but they hauled me off to the airport," he said. "I was really mad." Jia said his family was sent to Shanxi 30 years ago as punishment for his father's Nationalist Party affiliation. He is afraid to return after seeking asylum.
Now this case is a bit of mystery on the basis of the news reports when Jia Jia was in Taiwan. Here are some examples:
(ETTV 10/25/2006) On the evening of October 24, Jia Jia showed up at the Tourism Bureau. He told the police that he came to seek political asylum. Then he changed his story and said that he went to use the airport restroom and when he came out, he could not find his group. He said that he took the bus to Taipei and he found a hotel in Taipei county. He did not say what he did during the past two days.
(TVBS; BOC 10/26/2006) When Jia Jia stepped out of the police station, the media were waiting for him. Here is the Q&A with the reporters.
Q: Why are you seeking political asylum? Do you have a political position?
A: Yes, yes, yes.
Q: Were you persecuted?
A: Yes, yes, yes.
Q: Who persecuted you?
A: The Republic of the Chinese Democratic Alliance, established as of today.
Jia Jia was taken to the airport to be deported to Hong Kong. At the airport, he got on the airplane and caused a commotion. The pilot finally expelled him on the grounds that he was "distrubing the other passengers." Next, Jia Jia demanded to be sent to New Zealand to be re-united with his son. Then he wanted to go to Thailand where he was visiting before coming to Taiwan. Finally, the police purchased two more tickets so that two officers can escort Jia Jia all the way to Hong Kong and make sure that he won't act irrationally.
(China Times) Jia Jia said, "I'm for real. Based upon your observation, do I look like I have a mental problem?" He said that he divorced his wife 25 years ago. The mainland wanted him to return and so they asked his ex-wife, the travel agent and his colleagues to "work on him." "I told her (the ex-wife) that I have no more relationship with you." In order to realize his vision, he had sent his son to New Zealand a long time ago. "I taught my son not to mind what I do and just study hard. I am a person of stature in mainland China, and I would not leave the tour for no reason. I am a secretary-general of an association and I have my own company. I am leaving China in order to promote Chinese democratic ideals because one cannot speak out in China." Although he has only been in Taiwan for a few days, Jia Jia missed Taiwan. He summarized his "Taiwan experience" by saying that the Taiwanese are too timid, too civilized and too scared of the Communists. He said that for the sake for democratizing China, he has forsaken everything he had and therefore he is completely unafraid. On October 27, Jia Jia held a press conference in Hong Kong during which he asked for help from the international community so that he won't be sent back to China and suffer "brutal persecution." Jia Jia's ideal place is Taiwan and he said, "Don't worry. Even if I can return to Taiwan, I won't stay there too long."
(BOC) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Liu Te-hsun said that Jia Jia is a scholar who is the secretary-general of the Shanxi Science and Technology Association. He is not an administrative officer and he is not a member of FLG. In Jia Jia's contacts with Taiwan scholars, there is not hint that he was being persecuted. Concerning the rumor that Jia Jia has requested political asylum, Liu said that political asylum has its conditions.
Jia Jia can stay in Hong Kong for seven days. He had better find asylum quick. While the major local newspapers are not following this case, certain media outlets are tying Jia Jia to having heeded the call in the Nine Commentaries and joining the 14 million plus party members who have already resigned (see AsiaDemo.org). Is this going to work this time?
Here are some relevant translations from Observe China:
Jia Jia said: "It is the 14 million figure of resignations from the Communist Party that forced me to come out. When I visit the party resignation website, it is saying this. It is saying that many countries and governments in the world do not believe in this number. They don't believe this is happening. This is why I had to come out."
Jia Jia said: "The broad masses of the mainland people despise the Chinese Communist dictatorship. The true number of people who want to resign from the party far exceeds the number at the website. So I say that the 14 million figure is not only true and reliable, but the number is far, far too small. If Hu Jintao or the central party organization department's He Guoqiang disagree with me, they can hold a press conference to dispute my view. Then we can let the people of the world know that we will set up a party-resignation website -- an open and legal website -- and put it on Tiananmen Square so that all 78 million Chinese Communist Party members can go there to resign under the supervision of the United States and without persecution. Free elections. Free elections. At that time, we will see how many Chinese Communists are left. At this moment, I think that 95% of the party members want to resign. If I want to be more systematic and scientific, the only true Communists are those in the party central."
Concerning the assertion that China would fall into chaos without the Chinese Communist regime, Jia Jia said that it was the Chinese Communists who are the source of chaos: "Without the Chinese Communists, China will definitely be stable, because all the chaos in China is caused by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist is the root cause of all chaos. We can see that every incident was incited and led by the Chinese Communists. Every incident is linked to documents from the Chinese Communists. None of the incidents was started by the people. The people cannot start everything. The people are not interested. The people cannot solve the problem of getting food to eat. There are three mountains in front of the mainland Chinese people -- school, health and housing. If these are not solved, chaos will happen. How is that possible? All the chaos is caused by the Party Central. The Party Central is the most basic root of all chaos in China. Without the Chinese Communist, China will definitely not have any chaos. Don't worry about there being chaos in China without the Chinese Communist. There will be many dedicated people like me to form the new Chinese government. The Chinese Communists is the reason why this democratic government is prevented from being born."
(from Jia Jia's son Jia Kuo, now studying in New Zealand) On October 22, 2006, Jia Jia left this tour group in Taiwan and applied for political asylum. He stated openly that he wanted to overthrow the Chinese Communist dictatorial regime and implement democracy and freedom in China. He was representing the several hundred member of the Shangxi Provincial Science and Technology Association to jointly resign from the Communist Party and build a democratic party. He is using his personal expereince to prove that the 14.7 million figure for Communist Party resignations is true and reliable. But because the Chinese Communist applied huge pressure on the Taiwan government as well as unknown reasons, the Taiwan government decided to send him back to mainland China. Fortunately, when he arrived in Hong Kong, some righteous people helped to stay over temporarily. But he only has a seven-day transit via. As Jia Jia's only son, I fully support his political stance and this current action. I have written to various governments for emergency help. We hope that all the righteous people and governments of the world will offer support and aid.
(Wang Xizhe's Blog) October 29, 2006.
1. Last year, a person named Yan went to Taiwan to seek political asylum. When the Democratic Party was asked to offer help, I said that I agreed with what Shi Wei said: "Under the Chinese Communist dictatorship, all 1.3 billion people in China have the right to ask for political asylum." What is wrong is that some people used political asylum for personal financial gains. Asking for political asylum is not wrong in itself.
2. Therefore, it does not matter whether the person is named Yan or Jia, he/she is free to seek political asylum wherever he/she wants to. We want to see him/her succeed and we will not oppose it.
3. But the situation of "1.3 billion" people is complicated. We cannot possibly know the background and true motives of every one of them.
4. Any national/regional government or its officials may accept the "values of freedom and human rights." But at the same time, they have their own national/regional interests. Understandably, no nation can possibly satisfy the demands of all 1.3 billion Chinese asking for political asylum at the same time. They must have a set of screening criteria based upon international customs and their own unique conditions. They must protect those who are genuinely going to be persecuted in mainland China and other totalitarian countries. But they don't want to protect those who are abusing political asylum, especially those are filing falsely for political asylum (such as persons who have committed economic and other crimes).
5. When we do not know the background and true motives of a person, I think that we can only let the local government do the screening. Only when we know that a certain person had already been or is likely to be persecuted in mainland China can we undertake to speak out for his quest to flee and seek political asylum. We do not have the obligation to speak out for those with uncertain or suspicious backgrounds in mainland China. So if we do not have any evidence of someone's political position in mainland China, we cannot object when a foreign government goes through its screening, rejects the asylum claim and returns the individual back to mainland China like any other illegal immigrant. This is so unless you think that every national/regional government in the world must be responsible solely to "universal values" and ignore the interests and responsibilies of itself. Every day in the world (including mainland China), tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are being expelled. Shall the overseas political activists speak out for every one of them? Will they have time left for anything else?
"Now, Mr. So-and-so has publicly stated his political choice." I do not think that there is any practical significance when a person who has expressed nothing while in mainland China to shout some slogans now to please certain groups in order to obtain political asylum.