Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Many Chinese `spouses' lie: MAC

PREVARICATION Prospective spouses have had to undergo interrogations since last fall. Authorities say that a large percentage of them are telling whoppers

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Interviews by the Immigration Bureau reveal that a large proportion of Chinese immigrants who list marriage as their reason for entering the country are not in fact being truthful about their reasons for coming here, the Mainland Affairs Council announced yesterday.

Since September of last year, the bureau has been conducting interviews with all Chinese immigrants who come here for the purpose of getting married.

The purpose of the interviews is to identify people for whom marriage is merely a cover story -- and who, in fact, often come to Taiwan to work in the sex industry.

The interviews involve three steps. First, before an immigrant arrives, the bureau talks to the Taiwanese person to whom the Chinese immigrant is supposed to get married. Second, the immigrant is interviewed upon her or her arrival in the country. Third, if questions remain about the marriage, the bureau interviews the two parties together within one month of the immigrant's arrival.

According to Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), the council's vice chairman, the bureau interviewed 6,174 Taiwanese people intending to marry Chinese spouses between December and last month.

prohibited

The bureau determined that 592 of the Taiwanese parties were being dishonest about their marriage plans. The prospective spouses of those 592 people lost their permits to enter Taiwan.

In the same period, the bureau interviewed 27,414 prospective Chinese spouses upon their arrival and determined that 1,574 of them were lying about their marriage plans.

Those 1,574 immigrants were prohibited from entering the country.

explicit questions

Also between December and last month, the bureau interviewed 2,214 Chinese spouses who had completed the first two steps of the interview process and had been allowed to enter Taiwan. Bureau officials repatriated 290 of them after determining that their marriages were not legitimate.

Meanwhile, nearly 15,000 Chinese who had obtained China's permission to come to Taiwan between last July and this month have not in fact traveled here.

"They probably changed their minds because they though they would get found out in the interview process," Chiu said.

The interview system has endured some criticism. In order to determine the real purposes of Chinese immigrants coming to Taiwan, bureau officials at one time were asking sexually explicit questions that embarrassed many interviewees. Some critics maintained that the interrogation procedures amounted to sexual harassment.

new blood

"The Immigration Bureau will hold seminars and will invite experts to train officials in interviewing so that the system can work better and produce more accurate information," Chiu said.

Meanwhile, the council unveiled new guidelines for the nation's immigration policies after several inter-ministerial meetings were held to examine how the government should react to increasing numbers of Chinese immigrants.

"Combining new blood to build a harmonious and diversified new society" is the primary goal of the government as it formulates its immigration policies, Chiu said.

With around 200,000 Chinese immigrants now residing in Taiwan, an advisory committee has been discussing with related government agencies, academics and social groups how to handle social problems that are related to the immigrants.

The discussions have led to the completion of a Cabinet immigration program with three guidelines.

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