Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday said that he will prioritize the issue of absorbing Chinese students into the National Health Insurance program as well as the revision of a major law governing exchanges of peoples on both sides of the Taiwan Strait during his term in office.
“In view of fairness and human rights, Chinese students should be included [in the health program],” Wang said, noting that at present, overseas students and foreign laborers are included in the program.
Wang said Chinese students, to whom Taiwan opened its doors in September last year, are largely young and as a result, their medical expenses should be relatively low. He added that their contributions could also help boost the cash-strapped program’s finances.
He said encouraging Chinese students to study in Taiwan will help mutual understanding among the youth on both sides of strait.
Chinese students could also take home Taiwanese values such as freedom, democracy and civil society after they complete their studies in the country, he said.
In addition, the Act Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) should also be revised, he said.
Wang said draft revisions to the law on the avoidance of double taxation as well as the detention and expulsion of illegal Chinese immigrants, and draft amendments to provisions regarding political dissidents made in reference to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, have been sent to the Legislature for approval.
Wang said he will also promote measures which protect the rights of Chinese spouses of Taiwanese, and adjust restrictions which limit Chinese people serving in public office in Taiwan after gaining citizenship, as well as a review of the rules that currently regulate Chinese advertisements.
Wang, who assumed his post a day earlier, made the remarks in a legislative committee meeting during which he was grilled by legislators to see if he recognized the faces of key Chinese leaders.
Wang, who previously served as spokesman for the Presidential Office and as an adviser to the National Security Council, was on Tuesday shown several photos of China’s Politburo Standing Committee members, but recognized only the faces of Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平). He failed to recognize the faces of Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as well as others.
Wang, embarrassed by the incident, said he needs to enhance his ability to recognize them.
Yesterday lawmakers asked Wang to further identify a series of photographs and he was able to correctly identify Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波). However, he misidentified Taiwanese actor Chao Shun (趙舜), whom he thought was dissident artist-activist Ai Weiwei (艾未未).
Speaking about the criticisms and doubts which have been made about how qualified he was to hold the post, Wang said this was normal and that he would “work harder.”
Meanwhile, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) said on the same occasion that the agenda for the next round of cross-strait negotiations will include issues such as trade in services and commodities, as well as a dispute settlement mechanism, in follow-up talks being held under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed two years ago.