Thu, Feb 13, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: DPP members defend reversal of Chinese kids policy

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Cho Jung-tai talks to reporters in Taipei yesterday after the government reversed the Mainland Affairs Council’s decision to allow Chinese children of Taiwanese and Chinese couples to visit Taiwan during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

Leading Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday defended the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) decision to overturn the Mainland Affairs Council’s (MAC) announcement allowing the entry of Chinese children of Taiwanese and Chinese couples into Taiwan, and praised the Executive Yuan’s quick response.

Officials said that the move could have placed too much burden on already-strained domestic resources in the fight against COVID-19.

DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) lauded the government’s quick response after MAC’s announcement on Tuesday drew a predominantly negative response.

The Executive Yuan was quick in reading the pulse of public opinion, and put a temporary stop to that policy to reflect the will of Taiwanese, Cho told reporters at party headquarters in Taipei.

The council was acting in keeping with policies that are being implemented when it made the announcement on Tuesday. he said.

“However, it is clear that in light of the epidemic, the public believes that the government must prioritize protection of its citizens, and that their welfare must come first,” he added.

Asked if the MAC and other ministries have been rash in making decisions, Cho said that careful assessment and prudent examination are vital in the decisionmaking process.

“It is important that to safeguard Taiwan, government officials must be more flexible and sensitive to the needs and will of the public,” he said.

DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said that Taiwan had in recent years had many interactions with China.

It is not just the MAC, but legislators across parties have received many appeals and requests for assistance, including family problems, he said.

“I can understand that as school is about to reopen, the MAC and other officials have come under a lot of pressure, with appeals and requests for help for students going to school, along with personal and family situations,” he added.

Asked about the policy reversal, Cheng said: “This showed that the decision and its implications were not carefully assessed.”

However, “I am sure that [MAC officials] will be more prudent the next time,” Cheng added.

DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that MAC officials made a “foolish” announcement on Tuesday.

“Right now, most Taiwanese are very worried about the ‘Wuhan virus’ and they are distrustful of the Chinese government,” Wang said. “As such, people were riled up and criticized MAC officials. I see this reaction as a very good thing for Taiwan, as it sends a strong signal of their discontent about the decision.”

“It was a rather foolish decision, and when it was announced I had already told them that the decision should be postponed,” he said.

“With Taiwan still combating the ‘Wuhan virus’ outbreak, which has strained our healthcare resources, and with the MAC failing to come up with a clear explanation, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), the head of the CECC, had to put a stop to the MAC’s policy,” Wang added.

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