Chinese man ‘seeking freedom’ swims 10 hours to Taiwan but surrenders after being stung by bee

The man in his 40s is said to have sought help from tourists on Beigan Island

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Tuesday 01 August 2023 17:17 BST
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A Chinese man allegedly swam nearly 10 hours from Fujian Province to Taiwan's Matsu Islands in an effort to "seek freedom".

The Chinese national in his 40s reportedly sought help from tourists near the Beigan Township on Beigan Island, the second largest island in Matsu on Monday after being stung by a bee.

The tourists notified the local authorities, who arrived at the scene and confirmed the man’s identity to be an illegal Chinese immigrant, CNA reported.

The Chinese national was taken to the Beigan health center, an official said, noting that his injuries were not serious.

The man carried dry food, clothing, medicine, and Renminbi, according to officials. He told authorities that he embarked on the journey from Huangqi Peninsula in China's Fujian Province to Taiwan's Matsu Islands to "seek freedom."

The distance between Huangqi Peninsula and Beigan Island is about 12km. The main island of Taiwan is located over 200km away from China’s coast.

He was taken to Lienchiang district prosecutor’s office for investigation in accordance with the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the officials said.

China has beefed up its military activities around Taiwan in recent years, arguing that Taipei is obliged to reunite with Beijing, by force if necessary, and has no right to conduct foreign relations.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since it split from the mainland in 1949 following a civil war.

In 2020, a 45-year-old Chinese national was arrested after he swam seven hours to reach the Taiwanese island of Kinmen County due to the "political environment" in China.

He was arrested for illegally entering Taiwan. The man, surnamed Li, claimed he began his journey from China’s coastal city of Xiamen for "freedom".

Two men were reportedly arrested in 2019 after attempting to swim to Kinmen. One of the men used children’s inflatable swimming rings to stay afloat while the other person used empty soda bottles to make a raft.

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