Sun, Jul 22, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Visiting Chinese officials breaching regulations less

NEW GOVERNMENT MEASURES:In 2014, there were 237 cases of Chinese visitors making unannounced changes to their plans, a figure that last year dropped to one

By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Corrective measures by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration has drastically reduced how often visiting Chinese officials have breached Taiwanese laws, a source said.

Between January 2014 and April this year there were 410 Chinese officials and 147 non-government Chinese citizens who faced disciplinary action for contravening regulations during visits to Taiwan, the source said, adding that of those, 96 percent had visited the nation in 2014 or 2015, when then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in office.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in 2016 there have only been 16 reported breaches of Taiwanese laws by visitors from China, the source said.

Despite stricter enforcement of regulations governing visits by Chinese officials to Taiwan, the number of visits has increased by 20 percent from May last year to May this year, with about 32,000 visits during the period, the source said.

The increase in visits is likely due to China’s introduction of 31 incentives for Taiwanese young people and businesspeople, which are aimed at improving sentiment toward China among Taiwanese, the source said.

The 31 incentives were announced by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Feb. 28, and include tax cuts, investment capital and relaxed restrictions on certification for 134 professions.

The Tsai administration has implemented a three-step process to prevent and investigate cases of Chinese coming to Taiwan as part of Beijing’s “united front” efforts, with a National Immigration Agency subcommittee investigating all suspect visitors before, during and after their visits, the source said.

Those found to have been engaging in “united front” activities during their visits, or who have deviated from their reported itinerary without first notifying immigration authorities, are prohibited from re-entering the country for a specified period of time, the source added.

In 2014 there were 237 cases where Chinese visitors were reported to have made unannounced changes to their itineraries, while in 2015 there were 125, and during those two years, eight Chinese visitors overstayed their visas, while 214 attempted to conceal their Chinese government positions, statistics from the agency showed.

In 2016, after Tsai took office, there were 14 cases of visiting officials concealing their positions, and after the government bolstered enforcement that number dropped to one last year, the source said, adding that there has been one reported case so far this year.

The majority of violations committed by visiting Chinese during the Ma administration were unreported itinerary changes, the source said.

Then-deputy director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Gong Qinggai (龔清概), and then-deputy chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) held an unreported meeting with Taiwanese officials during a visit to Taipei under the Ma administration, the source said.

There was also an unreported meeting between then-chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chen Deming (陳德銘) and high-level members of the Taiwanese press in 2014, the source said.

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