National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director Wu Chen-chi (
With Ministry of the Interior Vice Minister Chien Tai-lang (
The immigration chief sought to assure lawmakers of the fairness and competence of his new agency in the legislature's Home and Nations Committee.
The agency was inaugurated on Tuesday, and is charged with handling all immigration and visa-related matters in an effort to streamline such operations.
However, the agency has met with stiff criticism in its first days of operation by Chinese immigrants and pan-blue lawmakers who allege that the organization has inherited unfair or discriminatory practices from its predecessor, the Bureau of Immigration under the National Police Agency.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators Chu Fong-chi (
They said that immigration officers habitually bully would-be immigrants from China by asking them intensely personal questions regarding sex with their Taiwanese fiances or spouses.
"Those kinds of questions are inappropriate, and they fail to conform with our nation's reputation for respecting human rights," Chu told Wu.
The agency director agreed and said the agency would "sternly punish" any officer behaving in such a manner toward interviewees.
Deflecting criticism that the agency's new biometric identification system represented a further violation of the privacy rights of Chinese immigrants and other foreigners in Taiwan, Wu said that the system was a necessary evil.
The German-developed system boasts a successful identification rate of 97 percent, and includes a high-tech iris scan and database, according to local media.
Initially, the system will be used to indentify and store information on Chinese visitors to Taiwan, but its face and iris scans will eventually be applied to all incoming foreigners, Wu said.
Wu added that the high-tech system was needed to combat sophisticated ID forgeries originating in China, and that it would not be used to discriminate against Chinese immigrants.
The system will be fully operational by the end of this year, the immigration chief said.
KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (
"Could it be said that the government treats Chinese tourists and Chinese spouses as terrorists?" he said at a separate press conference yesterday.
"If the measures are for national security concern, they should be applied to all applicants regardless of their nationality. To apply only to Chinese applicants is nothing but the discrimination of fascism," Tsai said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions