Mon, Apr 08, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Legislature to review rules on Chinese spouses

By Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet’s proposal to amend the Act Governing 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) to shorten the waiting period for immigrant spouses from China to gain a national identification card is scheduled to be reviewed by the legislature’s Home and Nations Committee on Thursday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators said the amendment would protect human rights, but Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said it was aimed at influencing election results.

After President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008, the act was amended in 2009, to reduce the waiting period for Chinese spouses to gain Republic of China (ROC) ID cards from eight years to six years.

After Ma was re-elected last year, the Cabinet said that for the sake of “non-discrimination,” the act should be amended for Chinese spouses to have the same treatment as immigrant spouses from other countries — a minimum four-year waiting period to gain their ROC identification card.

KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who scheduled the proposed amendment to be reviewed on Thursday, said the government has already signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, so the nation should reconsider whether the current regulations that were enacted in a different historical context were still reasonable.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said it was concerned that the government’s continuous efforts to reduce the waiting period is aimed at influencing the political situation come election times, so it proposed to amend Article 21 to stipulate Chinese spouses can only gain voting rights six years after they obtain a ROC identification card.

There are more than 300,000 Chinese spouses in Taiwan and the number continues to grow rapidly each year, and will soon outnumber the population of the nation’s Aborigines, the TSU said.

However, the TSU’s proposal was boycotted by the KMT and did not reach the committee for further deliberation.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the proportion of fraudulent marriages involving Chinese spouses has always been high, and the government is not considering the serious impact that granting suffrage to Chinese immigrants will cause to national security and society.

Chen said the government’s proposal to loosen the regulations again is only for the benefit of the KMT at election time, adding that the DPP is strongly against the proposal.

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