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Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Government intends to house Chinese fishermen

CNA , TAIPEI

The government plans to find land to help house Chinese fishermen working aboard Taiwan ships, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said yesterday.

Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), vice chairman of the council, made his remarks at a seminar to address the issue yesterday.

DPP lawmaker Chien Hsi-chieh (簡錫偕) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said that the labor shortage in Taiwan's fishing industry has long been a problem because of changes in the labor market. The government, taking into consideration both cross-strait relations and national security, has gradually allowed more and more Chinese fishermen to work aboard Taiwan boats.

The number of Chinese fishermen has ballooned from just 3,506 in 1995 to more than 40,000 at present, Chien said. Chinese fishermen are currently settled temporarily on 78 "floating hostels" off the coast of Taiwan. The hostels are often converted from old or dilapidated ships, leaving Chinese fishermen to live in cramped and sometimes squalid conditions.

Chien presented a documentary made by director Lee Chih-chiang (李志強) to illustrate the dreadful situation of Chinese fishermen.

In response, Chen said that he was sympathetic to the problems of the Chinese fishermen, adding that he will actively look for property to provide Chinese fishermen with a temporary dry-land shelter.

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