Sat, Nov 27, 2004 - Page 3 News List

MAC says TSU's immigrant fears are unnecessary

THREAT?

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

TSU Legislator Chen Chien-ming yesterday compares the immigration laws of several countries during a press conference, saying that his party will push to amend the law to deny citizenship to Chinese people married to Taiwan citizens out of national security concerns.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Responding to concerns regarding the naturalization of Chinese spouses in Taiwan, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said it saw no reason to be overly concerned about the voting patterns of the group, saying it did not pose as a threat to national security.

"It takes upwards of 8 years for Chinese spouses to be issued a National Identification Card [and voting rights]. In that period of time, they will experience life in a democratic society. If after eight years they have not changed at all, then the government should reflect on what it needs to be doing better for the Chinese spouses," MAC Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said yesterday.

Chiu was responding to a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) press conference that had raised concerns regarding the naturalization of the roughly 190,000 Chinese spouses currently living in Taiwan.

Chiu said that while he understood the TSU's concern about national security, he did not think that giving voting rights to Chinese spouses amounted to any sort of security threat. He said that there was little likelihood that many members of the group would decide to run for office or take the civil service examination.

He also addressed TSU fears that naturalized Chinese spouses had enough votes to put four legislators into office.

"You have to subtract about one-fifth of the number of Chinese spouses from the total, given the number of fake marriages. Also, Chinese spouses are dispersed throughout Taiwan. We are also creating single-member-voting districts in the future," Chiu said.

Meanwhile, a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday said the idea of denying citizenship to Chinese spouses of local residents ran counter to the notion of upholding human rights.

KMT Legislator Chiang Chi-wen (江綺雯) asked whether Taiwan could still be considered a democratic country if the legislature were indeed to amend the relevant laws to deny Chinese spouses full citizenship.

"If lawmakers harbor hostility toward certain groups of people, then marginalization and hatred will prevail in Taiwan society," Chiang claimed.

She added that an individual's rights protected by the nation's laws or the Constitution should not be infringed upon for political reasons.

KMT Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) said that Taiwan must emulate advanced Western countries in the treatment of "new immigrants."

Chu urged legislators as well as government workers to be broad-minded toward the nation's new citizens.

"So long as the new immigrants recognize Taiwan as their new home, we should welcome them with open arms," he added.

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