Taiwan’s immigration department said yesterday that it has provided temporary accommodation to a Chinese dissident who left his tour group intending to apply for political asylum in democratic Taiwan. Zhang Xiangzhong abandoned his fellow travelers on April 13, one day after arriving in Taipei on a package tour. He said he hoped to stay on the self-governing island to promote democracy on the Chinese mainland, which is ruled by the authoritarian Communist Party. The department said in a statement that it found Zhang on Monday night and provided him with temporary accommodation because he did not have any. It said it was investigating the reasons for him leaving his tour group. Taiwan stopped offering political asylum to Chinese citizens to discourage illegal immigration and a string of plane hijackings in the 1990s by mainland citizens wanting to flee to Taiwan.
Few major Western leaders to attend Chinese summit
Leaders of 28 countries are set to attend a Chinese summit next month showcasing President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy plan, but few will hail from major Western countries. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday that Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Spain’s Mariano Rajoy are among those slated to appear next month in Beijing for a summit to discuss Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure investment program to stitch together the Eurasian continent. Wang said leaders from France and Germany will not attend due to their domestic election schedules, not because they snubbed China. China has sought to frame Xi’s vision for the China-led development program as an inclusive project rather than a statement of geopolitical ambitions that should concern the West.
Home prices rise in more cities as buyers beat curbs
China home prices rose in the most cities since October, suggesting buyers are trying to get in ahead of any further restrictions on property purchases. New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, gained last month in 62 of the 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 56 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. Prices fell in eight cities, the data show. Chinese authorities have pledged to enforce strict curbs in most first- and second-tier cities to prevent a housing bubble, while seeking to clear a glut of unsold homes in smaller urban centers. In a month when at least 64 cities announced new or tougher property-buying restrictions, some of the demand may have come from buyers flocking to the market in fear they’d be ruled ineligible for future purchases. “Buying restrictions may lead to some panic buying,” said Yan Yuejin, a Shanghai-based analyst at property data and consulting firm China Real Estate Information Corp.