Taipei [Taiwan], May 3 (ANI): A Chinese man crossed the highly militarised Taiwan Strait in a small rubber dinghy in search of 'freedom and democracy', said the Taiwanese police.
According to police captain Shih Chun-hsu, the man, surnamed Zhou, was spotted late Friday evening near the port of Taichung after crossing the roughly 80 kilometres (50 miles) stretch of water from Fujian province, on China's east coast, CNN reported.
Zhou was detained in the early hours of Saturday, and told police he had made a break for the island of Taiwan in search of "freedom and democracy."
One of the most militarised strips of the world, the Taiwan Strait is patrolled by both the Chinese and Taiwanese navies. China alone has more than 255 Coast Guard ships and dozens of heavily-armed naval vessels, in the region, according to a recent US Defense Department assessment.
However, Taiwan does not allow people to officially claim asylum, and anyone found guilty of entering the country illegally faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 90,000 New Taiwan dollars.
Zhou is currently being investigated for violating Taiwan's national security and immigration laws, CNN reported citing a police statement.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have been growing in recent months, as Beijing has stepped up air and naval drills around the self-ruled island, which the Communist Party regards as part of its territory and has vowed to "reunify" with mainland China, by force if necessary.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.
China has recently has commissioned three warships, including a large amphibious assault ship, adding them to the fleet covering the South China Sea. (ANI)