A sharp decrease in the number of Taiwanese marrying Chinese is likely due to businesses relocating away from China, a researcher said on Saturday.
In 2003 there were 34,109 cross-strait marriages registered in Taiwan, but only 6,262 last year, said Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology research fellow Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘), citing information from the Ministry of the Interior.
In 2003 the number of cross-strait marriages was so high that the government began conducting interviews with registrants to filter out fake marriages, Lin said.
“In the early years there were many fake marriages involving Chinese coming to Taiwan for work, but circumstances on both sides have changed,” a Mainland Affairs Council official said on condition of anonymity.
For the past several years the government has been promoting closer economic ties with Southeast Asian countries, which has resulted in a change to marriage patterns, Lin said.
However, while the annual number of cross-strait marriages has been declining, Chinese still account for the majority of non-Taiwanese spouses registered in Taiwan at nearly 350,000, or 65 percent of all non-Taiwanese spouses, he said.
There are 190,000 spouses from Southeast Asian countries registered in Taiwan, he said.
Of the Chinese spouses, 130,000 are naturalized, while 110,000 have Alien Resident Certificates and 110,000 have entry permits for family visitation, he said.
While the large majority of the Chinese spouses are women, 19,000 of them are men, he said.
In 2010, Taiwanese investment in China began to wane and there was a sharp decline in 2014 following the Sunflower movement, Lin said, adding that the number of marriages involving Chinese spouses registered in that period also declined.
In 2014 there were only 9,322 cross-strait marriages registered — the first year the number dropped below 10,000.
At the same time, China’s economy was strengthening and the number of Chinese wanting to have children also declined, both of which contributed to fewer Chinese wanting to move to Taiwan, he said.
The number of marriages to foreign spouses registered in Taiwan — roughly 20,000 annually — has not changed, but the countries those spouses are from has changed, he said, adding that in 2017 registration of Southeast Asian spouses was greater that for Chinese spouses for the first time.
Taiwan’s healthcare and education systems are major draws for Chinese, Lin said.
The issue of how to offer healthcare services to the Chinese spouses has been debated and policy changes are likely to affect cross-strait marriage numbers, he said.
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