Activist Threatens Hunger Strike If Passport Application Ignored

May 6, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: May 6, 2008 12:00 am

TAIPEI—Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan is threatening to organize exiles to protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in New York if the Chinese Consulate General does not respond to his request for a passport replacement within 15 days.

During his interview with Radio Free Asia in late April, Wang Dan emphasized that he is using his legal status as a Chinese citizen to apply for a replacement passport.

Wang stated that according to law, the Chinese Embassy must reply within 15 days of receiving the application. Wang remarked that, otherwise, “not only me, but others fighting for the right to return to their country, will take further action and may protest with hunger strikes in front of the Chinese Embassy.”

In light of the current attention on Beijing's hosting of the Olympics, Wang made clear that this ultimatum was his last discourse in the process of applying for his passport and not a publicity stunt before the Games. “The fight for rights to return to our home country has already gone on for one to two years. We have exhausted all legal actions and now we are ready to take more drastic actions,” expressed Wang.

According to Wang, many exiles are elderly Chinese who would wish to return to their home country simply for sentimental reasons. Wang remarked, “Disallowing a man in his nineties to return home is extremely inhumane.”

He added that middle-aged and younger exiles also deal with the issue of aging parents who would like them to return. “Any human should be able to understand our sentimental feelings for our homeland and family. After all, every member of the CCP also has parents.”

Wang Dan came to the United States in 1998, and his Chinese passport expired in 2003. Although he has continuously applied for a new passport over the past several years, he has yet to receive a reply.