A Chinese man who claimed he wanted to experience Taiwan’s democracy first hand was arrested after he tried to reach the island on a home-made styrofoam float, officials said Friday.
Guo Zhiyong, 35, from the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, was caught Wednesday as he came ashore on Taiwanese-controlled Kinmen island a few kilometres (miles) from China, the local county government said in a statement.
Guo said he had taken a train from Xinjiang to Xiamen city on China’s southeast coast, the start of a five-hour journey on the styrofoam float, the statement said.
He claimed that he wanted to visit Taiwan because he admired the island’s democracy and argued he was not entering illegally, since he considered the two sides to be the same country.
The statement did not say whether Guo belongs to any of the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It also did not specify what his fate was likely to be, but Taiwan generally sends illegal immigrants from mainland China back home.