Taiwan will begin checking the human rights records of Chinese nationals seeking to visit the country, an official in charge of China policy said on Thursday.
The National Immigration Agency and other government agencies have formulated a procedure for screening applicants to prevent entry to Taiwan by Chinese citizens with a record of human rights abuses, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said.
Liu did not provide details.
The new procedure was developed in response to a request by the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee a month ago to take into consideration the “human rights records” of Chinese local government officials seeking to visit Taiwan.
The committee asked government agencies to research the human rights records of such applicants through the foreign and justice ministries, via the Internet and through consultations with groups that report human rights abuses.
The decision was announced against the backdrop of a cultural visit to Taiwan this week by Hunan Governor Xu Shousheng (徐守盛), whose human rights record has been questioned in the media. Before Xu left for Taiwan, it was reported that pro-democracy activist Li Wangyang (李旺陽) had died at a Hunan hospital under suspicious circumstances.
Li, 62, had been imprisoned for “instigating counter-revolutionary propaganda” after co-founding the Labor Autonomous Union to support student protesters in China in 1989. When Li was released in 2000, he sued for compensation, earning himself another lengthy sentence for the same crime.