Fri, Sep 16, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MAC wants detainees out

LEAVING SOON?Hoping to speed up the process for returning illegal PRC immigrants, the government is urging China to stick to its 1990 cross-strait agreement

BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN ILAN

In order to accelerate the repatriation of illegal Chinese immigrants housed at Ilan's Chinglu (靖廬) detention center, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday urged the Chinese government to step up their efforts in handling the repatriation.

"In addition to the existing repatriation route between Matsu and Mawei [in Fujian Province], we hope to establish another from Kinmen to Xiamen. We hope that the Chinese government will agree to this route soon," Wu said.

Wu made the remarks yesterday while inspecting the Chinglu detention center in Dongshan (冬山) Township, Ilan, where there are around 400 female detainees.

At present, there are about 1,500 illegal immigrants detained in four detention centers, with two in Ilan, one in Hsinchu and one on Matsu.

Wu said that the new detention center in Kinmen was almost finished and therefore the government had decided to add the new route to accelerate the repatriation process.

The deportation of illegal Chinese immigrants is carried out according to the Kinmen Accord, which was signed by China and Taiwan in 1990, and in which the Chinese government committed to taking back illegal immigrants within 20 days.

The Chinese government, however, has failed to live up to the accord, officials said.

Yang Ching-ta (楊青達), deputy executive secretary of the detention center in Dongshan, said that many have been in Taiwan for more than a year.

"For example, at our center, five people are infected with HIV. After the Chinese government found out about their condition, it declined to take them back, and has omitted their names from the repatriation list on several occasions," Yang said.

Yang said that most of the female stowaways came to Taiwan to work as prostitutes.

"If they had not been caught by the police and sent to the detention center, they would probably have had to pay about NT$200,000 in fees to people smugglers. We have used their experiences to trace some of the criminals in these gangs," Yang said.

Wu yesterday inspected the detainees to wish them well for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The detention center also set up 10 telephone lines so that the immigrants could call their families in China.

Wu urged the Chinese government to abide by the Kinmen Accord that it signed and take back all of their nationals.

He also called on China to start negotiations on the chronic problem of human trafficking across the Taiwan Strait and stemming the flow of illegals as soon as possible.

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