Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MAC warns people on Chinese residency

LOSS OF RIGHTS A report saying that China was planning to issue residency permits to Taiwanese citizens forced the council to issue a stern warning to possible recipients

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese people who hold residency permits issued by the People's Republic of China (PRC) will lose their rights as citizens of the Republic of China (ROC), government officials warned yesterday, in response to a media report that Beijing is contemplating such a scheme.

According to yesterday's Hong Kong-based Takungpao newspaper, Beijing has been considering whether to begin issuing Taiwanese people residency status, with which they would be entitled to enjoy the same rights as citizens of the PRC. The report added that the move is part of China's plan to achieve gradual unification with Taiwan.

Responding to the report, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman David Huang (黃偉峰) cited the related regulations and said that Taiwanese people are not allowed to hold PRC residency status and enjoy the same rights as ROC nationals at the same time.

The regulation is stipulated in Article No. 9 of "Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area" (兩岸人民關係條例), Huang said.

"According to the article, ROC citizens are not allowed to register in the PRC or hold PRC passports. Except for certain circumstances that may deserve special consideration, the government has the right to nullify the household registration of people violating the regulation," he said.

"Consequently, people will lose their civil rights such as the right to vote, the right to serve as a public official or military official among others, but their responsibilities and duties as citizens of the ROC would remain the same," Huang said.

The report in the Takungpao said that Taiwanese people with PRC residency status would enjoy the benefits of China's social welfare system in areas such as medical care, employment, old-age pensions, education and housing, and the Chinese government will also give them land resources.

Huang said that the government has no right to comment on China's plan to issue residency status to other countries' citizens as it is totally China's internal administrative affair.

"It is China's business to decide to whom it issues residency status. If China plans to issue residency status to US citizens, the US government has no right to oppose that either," Huang said.

The report also said that the intention to issue residency status is a pre-emptive action to the possibility that the Taiwanese government may tighten cross-strait policy as a result of the Democratic Progressive Party's crushing defeat in the just-concluded elections as President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had said before the elections took place.

Huang, however, declined to speculate on the Chinese government's motives, saying that the authenticity of the report has yet to be proven.

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