Tue, Nov 02, 2004 - Page 2 News List

MOI cracks down on ads for cross-strait marriages

FOREIGN SPOUSES Advertisers and media outlets are facing steep fines after the Ministry of the Interior decided to enforce a law banning ads for matchmaking services

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior is taking action over four matchmaking ads for Chinese women and both the advertisers and the media that ran the ads will face heavy fines.

"Five matchmaking ads appearing in different mediums were reviewed last week and four were found to have violated the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例)," Chen Tzu-ho (陳子和), section chief of the ministry's Department of Population, said yesterday.

"The advertisers and media outlets face fines of NT$100,000. This is the first time the ministry has taken such action," Chen said.

The statute stipulates that anyone who entrusts to another, is entrusted to engage in the ad broadcast or publication or any other promotion activity that is contrary to public order or good morals will face a fine of no less than NT$100,000.

Three of the five ads that were reviewed were aired on TV, while the other two ran in newspapers.

The ministry said it found out about the ads both through tips from people who had seen them and its own investigations.

According to Article 6 of the Law on Management of Promotion of Goods and Services from Mainland China in Taiwan (大陸地區物品勞務服務在臺灣地區從事廣告活動管理辦法), cross-strait matchmaking activities are permitted in Taiwan, but ads for such services are illegal.

Matchmaking ads for people from countries other than China, however, are not illegal.

"The disparity between policies is due to the fact that revisions to the Immigration Law (入出國及移民法), which would govern regulations on marriage to foreign spouses, have not yet passed. But the government is still implementing regulations dealing with matchmaking regulations," Chen said.

The Cross-Strait Marriage Harmony Promotion Association of the ROC said that it supports government efforts to clamp down on such ads, which may help limit bogus marriages.

"We are 100 percent behind the government's effort to crack down on fake cross-strait marriages, as matchmaking ads are a common way in which marriages are commercialized," said Liu Hsien-wen (劉獻文), the association's secretary-general.

"The one point we want to stress is that cracking down on the ads is only a superficial answer. Bogus marriages through liaison services will continue through underground channels," Liu said.

Liu said that many Taiwanese men sell proof-of-single-status certificates (單身證明) to matchmakers who then use the certificates to bring Chinese women into the country who say they are to be married but who plan to seek to work instead.

"It takes two to tango. These Chinese girls cannot possibly come here on their own to get married," Liu said.

"So if the government wants to crack down on bogus marriages, it should heavily penalize the men who act as fake husbands for money," Liu said. "It seems to me that the government is after the wrong group of people."

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