Chinese Christians seek asylum in Czech Republic; China claims they're illegal immigrants using religion to claim asylum

Chinese Christians, driven by religious persecution, are seeking political asylum in Czech Republic but have yet to receive an approval for their applications. Chinese media claims they are illegal immigrants just using religion to be granted asylum. Coming from 10 different denominations, they arrived in batches from February to May of this year and are currently housed in two detention facilities.

(Reuters/David W Cerny)Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping leave after a news conference at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, March 29, 2016.

According to NewEurope news, Czech Republic leaders have a sensitive situation in their hands. They either disapprove the Chinese Christians' asylum applications or grant asylum and implicate human rights violations against China. Should this happen, China's human rights issues will take center stage once again in the midst of the current criticism it faces from other countries and human rights groups.

Many await and speculate about what the Republic will decide on this state of affairs. The same report details Prague newspaper Hospodářské noviny's interview with Martin Rosumek, director for the Organization for Aid to Refugees. The director said he does not expect the applications will be approved. According to the director, the Ministry of the Interior follows a policy that try to limit asylum seekers. That policy, he said, is "unlikely to change."

Chinese investment in the Czech Republic have grown fast recently and Czech officials have been travelling frequently to China, Radio Praha reports. Last March, Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman met officially with Chinese President Xi Jingpin during his visit to Prague.

The Republic's economic ties with China fall under the 16+1 mechanism and the China-European Union (EU) relations, according to Global Times. The ties are said to be favorable to the EU's growth and strength.

The Prague Daily Monitor says in the first half of the year, the Chinese are among the highest number of asylum seekers, having 64 applications lodged with the Interior Ministry. The said ministry has 90 days to rule on asylum claims and has already granted asylum to 131 seekers this year.

Seventy two asylum seekers, on the other hand, were given subsidiary protection, a temporary asylum for people who are in danger if they return to their country but whose asylum applications were not approved. This could be an alternate route the Republic may take.