A Chinese activist has been detained in South Korea after he reportedly tried to flee to the country in a jet ski. Kwon Pyong, a critic of President Xi Jinping travelled about 300 kilometres on a jet ski across the Yellow Sea using binoculars and a compass but got stuck. His identity is yet to be confirmed.
According to a BBC report, in recent years, Beijing has increased its use of exit bans at airports and other legal border crossings to block activists from leaving Chinese territory.
According to South Korea's coast guard, Pyong was wearing a life jacket and a helmet and was towing five barrels of fuel from Shandong province. He was arrested on August 16 near Incheon. Reportedly, as he neared South Korea, he got stuck on the muddy shore and had to call an emergency line for assistance.
Pyong, who studied at Iowa State University in the US, has openly spoken up against the authoritarian government's human rights violations on social media. He even took part in Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests in 2014.
"While (Pyong's) means of entry into South Korea in violation of the law was wrong, surveillance of the Chinese authorities and political persecution of Kwon since 2016 are behind his life-risking crossing into South Korea," Lee Dae-seon, from the non-profit organisation Dialogue China, told AFP. Pyong is now considering whether he should apply for refugee status in South Korea.
In August 2016, he posted a picture of himself wearing a t-shirt that bore several names for Chinese leader Xi Jinping, including Xitler on X (formerly Twitter).