Wed, Jul 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Wang Dan subject to regulations: NIA

US JURISDICTION:The immigration agency said the activist was bound by US rules that say that he would not be allowed on a plane to Taiwan without a re-entry permit

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) yesterday said exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) would need to follow due procedure to enter the country, denying him the possibility of being an exception to existing regulations.

The agency announced the resolution after a morning meeting discussing Wang’s case.

NIA Deputy Director-General Chang Chi (張琪) said after the meeting that “the problem lies in the absence of a re-entry permit, because without one, Wang could not even board the plane in the US.”

Wang, who said his persistent dizziness might be a symptom of a brain tumor and asked for the agency’s help to expedite his return to the country for a health check covered by the National Health Insurance, expressed his regret over the decision, but said he respects it.

Wang has been in the US, where he is a permanent resident, since the end of May. He said the government requires Chinese travelers to provide two documents — an Exit and Entry Permit for the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China and an official travel pass for Chinese people — to enter Taiwan.

“In my case, a Chinese passport is out of the question, so I have been asked to provide a re-entry permit issued by the US instead,” Wang said during an interview with radio host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) yesterday morning.

“Since it will take months for me to obtain a US re-entry permit — as it can take a long time for US immigration to process the application — I am simply asking whether it is possible for me to enter Taiwan with the entry permit and my US Green Card,” he said, adding that the Green Card could even better prove that he would be allowed to return to the US.

“I’ve been enrolled in the NHI and have paid my premiums. It’s not like I’m not entitled to the health benefits because I’m a foreigner,” he said.

NIA official Chang Su-hong (張素紅), who joined the interview, said the issuance of the re-entry permit is under “the US’ jurisdiction” and suggested that Wang appeal to the US “since the US is a country of human rights.”

Wang also wrote on Facebook that he respects the Taiwanese government’s decision not to offer help out of humanitarian concern and would seek help from the US Congress and US Department of State to accelerate the processing of his travel documents.

However, he added that it is “completely legitimate” for him to return to Taiwan with a Green Card and a Taiwan entry permit.

Some commentators have denounced Wang’s appeal as a request for special privilege.

Before the interview, Chou, a political pundit, slammed those who derided Wang for his appeal for help, calling their responses “despicable.”

“Affiliates of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are criticizing Wang, although the KMT strongly supported him back in 1989,” Chou said.

“One of those who voiced strong support for the Chinese dissident years ago was President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” Chou said. “I wonder whether [their opposition to Wang] now is because Wang sided with [the Sunflower movement] and is on good terms with his student Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), one of the movement’s student leaders.”

Chou said that Ma had previously convened a meeting in the Presidential Office chastising National Chengchi University for its failure to find a way to allow baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) — who won the Bakery Master title at the Bakery World Cup in Paris in 2010 and the owner of Wupaochun Bakery — to enroll in the university’s Executive Master of Business Administration program despite only having a junior-high school diploma.

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