Taiwan should show the value it places on human rights by treating Chinese spouses and students living in the nation fairly, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday.
Wang said that while Taiwan repeatedly urges China to value human rights, Taiwan needs to treat Chinese spouses and students living in Taiwan in an equitable way.
The government wants to balance the rights of foreign and Chinese spouses in Taiwan, he said during a public hearing at the legislature for two proposed bills related to the rights of Chinese spouses.
The council is seeking to amend Article 17 of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) to shorten from six years to four the length of time Chinese spouses of Taiwanese nationals must wait before they can obtain Republic of China citizenship.
“I will continue to push for the passage of the bill as long as I remain mainland affairs minister,” Wang said.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union, meanwhile, has proposed amending Article 21 of the same act to limit the rights of Chinese spouses to engage in politics in Taiwan, even after they become citizens.
Zhan Xiuying (湛秀英), head of an immigrant group in Greater Kaohsiung, urged political parties not to “see Chinese spouses from a political point of view.”
“Chinese spouses are not enemies or people from an enemy country. They are the daughters-in-law, wives and mothers of Taiwanese,” she said, adding that giving Chinese spouses their rightful status is the “best way to educate the next generation.”
Wang Zhin-sheng (王智盛), an assistant professor at National Quemoy University’s Department of Ocean and Border Governance, said the issue of whether to shorten the time Chinese spouses must wait to obtain citizenship should be considered on the basis of the nation’s overall immigration policy.
He said Taiwan could establish a strict evaluation process, but once the nation permitted Chinese to marry Taiwanese and live in Taiwan, they were entitled to the same rights as other foreign spouses.
Bruce Liao (廖元豪), an associate professor at National Chengchi University’s College of Law, said not all Chinese spouses support the same Taiwanese political party and that fair treatment is one of the first steps for political parties to win the recognition of Chinese spouses.
However, Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), a professor at Tamkang University’s Department of Public Administration, said that most countries design their immigration policies taking into consideration their unique national conditions.
China is an enemy country and has never renounced its ambition to take over Taiwan, he said, adding that Taiwan needs to remain alert.