The Chinese Air Force squadron leader who defected to Taiwan with his Mig-19 jet fighter aircraft on Thursday (7 July) has appealed to the United States to help arrange the release of his family from China.
The Chinese Air Force squadron leader who defected to Taiwan with his Mig-19 jet fighter aircraft on Thursday (7 July) has appealed to the United States to help arrange the release of his family from China. Forty-one-year-old Fan Yuan-yen, who flew across the Straights of Taiwan, left behind his wife and three children -- and he's now asked U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Cyrus Vance to help them leave too.
SYNOPSIS: If his family do join him, they'll be able to start their new life in luxury -- for the Taiwanese Government has already awarded Squadron Leader Fan the routine prize for Chinese military defectors -- nearly half a million pounds sterling (800,000 U.S. dollars) in gold bars. Asked by reporters at a swiftly-arranged news conference why he defected, Fan said it was to gain 'freedom and rights'.
The situation in China was very unstable, he said, and while the Government claimed there was political freedom, there was in fact none at all. He said this has been the case since 1957, when the late Chinese leader Chairman Mao Tse-tung asked the people to voice their freedom -- and then clamped down on them when they did so. Life in China was miserable, he said, and he could no longer stand it.
Squadron leader Fan, who is the sixth defector to bring an aircraft to Taiwan since 1960, showed journalists the pistol he formally surrendered on landing there.
There was no immediate reaction from the Chinese Government.