Wed, Oct 09, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Visa snags delay DPP lawmakers

HOLDING PATTERN Eight DPP legislators are still waiting for Hong Kong visas while their PFP and KMT counterparts had no problem obtaining theirs

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) confirmed yesterday that eight DPP legislators were still awaiting visas to travel to Hong Kong for ROC National Day celebrations, while nine KMT and PFP lawmakers in the same delegation have already received theirs.

But Chen Chung-hong (陳崇弘), the director of the MAC's Department of Information and Liaison, said people should not read too much into the delay.

"The Hong Kong government usually rejects visa applications from DPP officials. We should not read too much into this particular instance," Chen said.

The 18-member delegation hopes to attend activities related to the Hsinhai Revolution (辛亥革命), as well as the ROC's National Day, to be held by the overseas Taiwanese community in Hong Kong.

However, only one DPP legislator, Chang Chin-fang (張清芳), has received a Hong Kong visa, while the delegation's nine KMT and PFP lawmakers have received theirs.

Since President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) assumed power in 2000, DPP lawmakers planning to visit Hong Kong or China have routinely had their visa applications effectively rejected because of processing "delays" lasting beyond the dates of their intended travel.

KMT and PFP lawmakers have not experienced such difficulties.

Only one TSU lawmaker has ever succeeded in obtaining a visa to Hong Kong and China, while at least half of the party's 13 lawmakers have had their visa applications rejected.

Chen Chung-hong (陳崇弘), the director of the MAC's Department of Information and Liaison, said that the eight DPP lawmakers in the delegation have gone to Macau to wait for their visas.

"If they get their visas approved in time, they will go to Hong Kong to participate in those activities. Otherwise they will come back to Taiwan," Chen Chung-hong said.

Meanwhile, Director of the DPP's Chinese Affairs Department Chen Chung-hsin (陳忠信) said yesterday that he was giving up his own plans to attend the celebrations in Hong Kong, but refused to link his own visa problems to his current job title.

Chen Chung-hsin assumed his current party post at the end of July, the same time as Chen Shui-bian took over the party chairmanship.

"I have a lot of things to do here in Taiwan. And I turned my visa application in very late last Friday. It is not necessary to think about things in a complicated way," he told the Taipei Times, declining to comment further.

According to the MAC, the DPP lawmakers who are still waiting for visas are Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠), Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲), Chiu Chuang-chin (邱創進), Chen Mao-nan (陳茂男), Ho Chin-sung (何金松), Tang Hou-sheng (湯火聖), Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) and Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧).

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