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Taipei, April 29: A Chinese student in Taiwan who criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping during a live Internet broadcast applied for long-term residence on the island on Monday amid a possible backlash if he returns to his homeland.

During the live stream on March 12, Li Jiabao, who hails from China’s Shandong province and who is enrolled as an exchange student at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, criticized Xi for declaring a life-long presidential term for himself.

“I’m planning to stay in Taiwan for a long time, no matter how hard life gets here,” the 21-year-old said, according to Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency.

According to CNA, Li added that he “will definitely be subject to criminal charges of state subversion” if he returns to his home country.

Given that his visa expires at the end of the current academic semester on July 2 and the lack of laws granting political asylum in such cases, Li has applied for permanent long-term residence, Efe news reported.

The student said that the Chinese government has been monitoring him since making the comments against Xi, but said he has been receiving financial support for his studies from his friends and from Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council amid a possible suspension of assistance from China.

Li said that his criticism of Xi was not made with the deliberate aim of obtaining political asylum in Taiwan as it would have been much easier to apply for a visa in the US or seek asylum there.

The National Immigration Agency of Taiwan said that it would look into Li’s application seeking long-term residence in coordination with the Mainland Affairs Council.

IANS

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