The director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), Wang Yi (王毅), yesterday called on Taiwan’s government to put more emphasis on the many reasonable demands repeatedly made by Chinese spouses of Taiwanese and remove any restrictions or discriminatory practices against them.
“[Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台)] has said that culture is not politics. I say: ‘Marriage is not politics, chill out,’” Wang said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Cross-Strait Marriage Association at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Wang was referring to a speech made by Lung at the Asia Society in New York on Tuesday last week, during which she called for the removal of barriers to cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Strait to allow for more interaction.
In his speech to the association, Wang said the association hoped to see more substantial action on the part of Taiwan in response to the rational demands of Chinese spouses of Taiwanese, including an improvement in the situation involved in their obtaining temporary and permanent residence, working opportunities and living standards.
“We also urge an immediate withdrawal and removal of some restrictions and the discriminatory practices leveled against them [in Taiwan],” Wang said.
Chinese spouses of Taiwanese have repeatedly called on Taiwan’s government to facilitate legal amendments to shorten the time they have to wait to receive a Republic of China identity card from the current six years to four years.
The Mainland Affairs Council is planning to propose an amendment to Article 17 of the Act Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to reduce the waiting period in response to the calls.
Meanwhile, Wang dismissed growing speculation that China was intending to adopt a new Taiwan policy after the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress, where political power is set to be transferred from Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平).
“We, including Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), have reiterated on several occasions of our stance on Taiwan policy, which is stability and continuity,” Wang said.