China is known to have imprisoned several people for their alleged involvement in political activities Tyrone Siu/Reuters

A 35-year-old Chinese dissident who had been campaigning against human rights abuses in China for years, fled China for South Korea on August 16. The man, identified as Kwon Pyong, fled China on a jet ski and carried several barrels of fuel, a helmet, binoculars, and a compass.

He was caught near Incheon, on South Korea's west coast, after the jet ski he fled on got stuck in mud flats. He reportedly travelled from Shandong province in eastern China, which lies around 250 miles across the Yellow Sea from Incheon.

Kwon called an emergency helpline after he got stuck on the muddy shore. He was later taken into custody by Incheon prosecutors. Dialogue China, a group founded by Chinese activists, has claimed that Kwon studied in the United States before returning to China. He has been critical of the Chinese government for years.

He also took part in Hong Kong's 2014 pro-democracy protests and spoke out against human rights violations on social media.

According to Front Line Defenders, an NGO working for the welfare of human rights activists, Kwon once served an 18-month prison term for wearing a t-shirt mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping. The t-shirt was printed with several names for Xi Jinping, including "Xitler." He was eventually released in 2018.

"He has spoken out against the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre and the more recent persecution of dispossessed residents of China's Wukan village," reads his profile available on Front Line Defenders' website.

Lee Dae-seon, a pro-democracy activist based in South Korea, told NBC News that Kwon had no option but to flee communist China as he was banned from leaving China for the next 99 years. He added that Kwon's family had also moved to South Korea.

China is known to have imprisoned several people for their alleged involvement in political activities or for taking part in Taiwan or Hong Kong freedom movements. It considers Taiwan its renegade province, and it has never used force to take back Taiwan.

However, not many Chinese activists defect to Taiwan, as the communist country is strict about its citizens secretly leaving Beijing. Last year, a report claimed that China had set up more than 50 unofficial police "offices" in several countries across Europe to clamp down on its dissidents.

The revelations were made by Dutch media outlet RTL News in their recent investigative report. These offices are reportedly used to hunt down Chinese dissidents and force them to return home. These "overseas service stations" are spread over five continents.

Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders also claimed that China has at least 54 such "overseas police service centres" across 21 countries.