The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday elected a youth ambassador to promote the rights of immigrants in Taiwan, as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised to create a friendlier environment for immigrants and eliminate any misunderstandings that may have arisen.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, said the number of immigrants has reached 460,000 this year, making them a major force in Taiwanese society.
The public should embrace the diverse cultures immigrants bring to Taiwan and recognize their contribution to society, he said.
“Taiwan is a society of immigrants and the only difference is that we arrive here at different times. As long as you come to Taiwan and recognize it as your home, you are a Taiwanese,” he said while attending the selection ceremony of the ambassador at Taipei’s New Immigrants’ Hall.
Ma discussed immigration policies with two candidates and selected Lin Zhou-xi (林周熙), a 33-year-old researcher at a Thai newspaper, to be the KMT’s new immigration researcher.
Lin, who has been working with different immigrant groups to promote the culture of Southeast Asian people, said he will seek to improve the rights of immigrants and hopes to introduce them to Taiwanese culture via art exhibitions and free language courses.
He said many immigrants in Taiwan have expressed concerns about their children’s reluctance to learn their mother language out of fear of racial discrimination, so he would focus his efforts on promoting the mother languages and cultures of immigrants who come to Taiwan.
Ma said that immigrants bring diversity to Taiwanese culture and the government will continue to encourage the promotion of different cultures and languages.
The government will also work to eliminate social discrimination by promoting “contract” relations between foreign workers and Taiwanese employers, Ma said.