Over 600,000 Chinese citizens applied to another country for asylum from 2012 to 2020, with annual applicants increasing seven times in the past nine years, media reported recently.
A number of British media reported in the past week that, based on data obtained from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the annual number of mainland Chinese applying for refugee status overseas from 2012 to 2020 increased from 15,362 to 107,864.
The number of Chinese asylum seekers was stable from 2000 to 2009 in the range of 15,000 to 25,000 every year. In 2010, the number suddenly dropped to around 8,000, and then started increasing rapidly.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party announced on July 30 that it had issued 335,000 passports in the first half of 2021, which is only two percent of the total passports that it had issued in the first half of 2020. The regime vowed that it would maintain strict control over the issuing of passports to Chinese citizens, and that only those who can verify they need to leave China for study, work, or business have the right to apply for or renew a passport.
Beijing authorities have claimed that the limits on issuing passports was for COVID-19 pandemic control. Chinese people from different regions told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on July 31 that the regime’s real purpose is to prevent people from fleeing China.
A teacher from Shandong Province surnamed Li said that he couldn’t apply for a passport because he used to be a human right lawyer and the regime was afraid he would flee China.
Chen Minghui, a political observer in Shanghai, is in a worse situation: “They [a Shanghai official] cut my passport and revoked it several years ago. Since then, it’s been harder and harder to apply for a new one.”
Chen said that the regime uses the pandemic as an excuse to restrict people’s movements.
“I think [the Xi Jinping’s authorities] are preventing senior Chinese officials from fleeing China as well,” he added.