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Sun, Nov 25, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Chinese spouses ask for permission to stay in Taiwan

PLEADING FOR HELP A group of Chinese wives of local citizens urged the government to ease restrictions on gaining Taiwanese citizenship

CNA , TAIPEI

A group of Chinese spouses of Taiwan citizens yesterday urged the government to ease restrictions on their stay in Taiwan and on their gaining Taiwanese citizenship.

The spouses made the appeal at a press conference convened by Legislator Tina Pan (潘維剛) of the opposition KMT to highlight the plight of mainland brides in Taiwan.

Pan noted that 59,185 Chinese wives of Taiwan citizens have applied to stay in Taiwan and that only 16,620 have gained approval, and more than 40,000 are still waiting.

If they are forced to wait according to the annual quota of 3,600 set by the government, many will have to wait for 12 years before they can receive resident status.

She called such a long waiting period "inhumane," vowing that she would propose a revision of the regulations in the next legislative session in order to ease the restrictions. This would enable Chinese brides to obtain residency in Taiwan as soon as possible.

He Shun-shun, the Chinese wife of popular entertainer Ling Feng, said that she finally won the right to work in Taiwan after waiting for a decade.

Chen Yen, who used to teach at an art school in China, has been married to a citizen of Taiwan for two years. Noting that her husband is old and has a low income, she said she cannot imagine what might happen if she has to wait for more than 10 years to obtain an ID card in Taiwan.

She asked why Chinese spouses of Taiwanese citizens have to wait for more than 10 years when those from Thailand only need wait three years at the most.

The Chinese wives also expressed mixed views about the Executive Yuan's announcement Friday that it would open Taiwan from the start of next year on a trial basis to a limited number of Chinese tourists who are overseas students or permanent residents of other countries.

Ho said this step represents only the beginning and that after Taiwan and China both enter the WTO, more openings will be inevitable.

If Chinese can come to Taiwan, this will be very positive, she said, adding optimistically that she believes that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will be able to dissolve their misunderstandings about each other through mutual exchanges.

But Chen said the government still has too many restrictions in place which does not help her, pointing out that she has two children in China and that only one of them at a time can come to visit her under the current regulations.

She said that she cannot understand why the government is placing so many restrictions on Chinese, adding that "there is no need to be so nervous."

Another Chinese bride, named Ying Yuan-yuan, said that the figure of only 1,000 Chinese tourists to be allowed to visit Taiwan per day is "a paltry number" and will not "give enough economic benefits to Taiwan."

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