Sun, Mar 07, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Annette Lu defends screening process for Chinese spouses


Imposing different restrictions on immigrants according to their country's attitudes toward Taiwan is not discrimination and does not constitute any violation of human rights, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.

Chatting with a group of journalists at an informal gathering in her office yesterday morning, the outspoken human rights activist, who heads a national human rights panel at the Presidential Office, came to the defense of the government for its decision that Chinese spouses coming to live in Taiwan must provide a financial certificate. The measure has since been overturned.

Lu said human rights can be divided into different categories, such as those for groups or individuals, as well as absolute human rights and relative human rights.

The human rights of a group prevail in cases that conflict with the rights of an individual. Individual human rights should be subordinate to group human rights, Lu said.

Noting that China is the only country out of the 192 states in the world that is hostile toward Taiwan and is building up its military forces with an eye to an invasion, it is only natural to somewhat restrict people's exchanges with China for the sake of national security, Lu said.

It is not a violation of human rights to discriminate between immigrants from friendly states and immigrants from bellicose states and impose different restrictions on them accordingly, Lu said.

She made the statement when asked to comment on measures subsequently dropped by the Ministry of the Interior that ordered Chinese citizens who want to reunite with their spouses in Taiwan to provide financial certificates proving that they have assets of more than NT$5 million.

This restriction, announced on March 2, was rescinded by the Ministry of the Interior the next day after causing an uproar among local human rights activists. They chastised the government for discriminating against Chinese and infringing on the human rights of both Chinese citizens and their Taiwanese spouses.

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