HK lessons on Chinese immigration

By Li Dao-yong 李道勇  / 

Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 8

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and 15 other KMT legislators on April 24 proposed an amendment that would allow Chinese to apply for permanent residency in Taiwan if they meet the conditions defined by Article 3, subparagraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Long-Term Care Services Act (長期照顧服務法).

Being extraordinarily generous and compassionate people, these legislators have made a connection between the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and the Long-Term Care Services Act. Do they want to open a backdoor for People’s Republic of China (PRC) citizens to gain permanent residency in the Republic of China (ROC)?

Thankfully, the proposal was lambasted from all sides, prompting the KMT legislators to hurriedly withdraw it two days later.

In the words of Article 3 of the act, the kinds of people whom the KMT lawmakers wanted to allow to reside permanently in Taiwan include any “individual whose mental or physical incapacity has lasted or is expected to last for six months or longer” or “person who has suffered partial or full loss of his physical or mental functions and who needs the assistance of others in his/her daily life” or “main family member or household member who provides regular care to the disabled in the family.”

To put it simply, any physically or mentally incapacitated Chinese person and their family members could apply for permanent residency in Taiwan.

Furthermore, anyone who has resided in Taiwan for six months is eligible to join the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, so these people would also be entitled to NHI coverage.

On Feb. 10, several organizations in Hong Kong staged a protest to highlight their complaint that the territory is overcrowded and its healthcare services are overloaded.

To relieve the pressure, the organizers called for a reduction in the number of “one-way permits,” officially known as the People’s Republic of China Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macau, which allow residents of mainland China to leave the mainland permanently to settle in the Hong Kong or Macau special administrative regions.

The protesters said that Hong Kong’s already overburdened public healthcare system is being pushed to breaking point by the large numbers of new Chinese immigrants crowding its facilities.

They said that hospitals are so overcrowded that many older people end up making their final journey not in a ward, but on a bed in a corridor, where they have no dignity.

Another worrying possibility is that a serious illness could break out. Let us remember where the 2003 SARS outbreak started.

Considering what has happened in Hong Kong, can Taiwan afford to let KMT legislators open a backdoor for PRC citizens to settle permanently in the ROC?

Li Dao-yong is director of the City South Culture and History Studio in Taipei.

Translated by Julian Clegg