Tue, Aug 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Hong Kong, Macau to get expanded residency rights

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Regulations granting alien residency rights to select residents of Hong Kong and Macau were cleared yesterday by the Mainland Affairs Council during a routine council meeting reviewing cross-strait activity that took place from March through June.

The new policies, which were adjusted in accordance with the Ministry of Interior's suggested amendments, establish that the Hong Kong and Macau spouses and children of foreign white-collar professionals working in Taiwan be eligible for alien residency.

While the government's immigration policy seeks to attract foreign white-collar professionals working in the finance or high technology industries, the families of such professionals were denied access to alien resident certificates in the past. Previous policies granted spouses of foreign professionals working in Taiwan up to three months stay, with the possibility of an extension of three months. Similar policies have already been passed for spouses and children from China.

The council meeting convened yesterday brought together the heads of several relevant agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Education. MAC Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) reported on the council's findings and decisions after the meeting was concluded.

The report further identified the statements issued on May 17 by China's Taiwan Affairs Office as the cornerstone of China's most current policies on Taiwan. The seven-point statement, made just days before President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was inaugurated, accused Chen of violating his "five noes" promises, of "mustering all separatist forces to drive for Taiwan's independence" and of bringing cross-strait relations "to the brink of danger." The statement said that the "one China" policy was a prerequisite for dialogue, indicating no change in Beijing's hardline stance.

According to Liu, in an overall assessment of cross-strait affairs and activity from March through June, the council reported that Chinese diplomacy has come to place increasing importance on European nations. The council's report cited Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) recent visits to Poland, Hungary, Romania and Uzbekistan as well as Premier Wen Jiabao's (溫家寶) visits to Germany, Belgium, Italy, England, Ireland and EU headquarters.

Liu also said yesterday that the council had reported that China was working to pull Taiwan away from its diplomatic allies. However, Liu refrained from mentioning which nations were particularly susceptible to such maneuvers, saying only that the Ministry had not named any specific countries.

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