Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) yesterday denied allegations from foreign media that Taiwan has closed its doors to refugees fleeing persecution in Hong Kong.
Media reports saying that Taiwan refuses to naturalize or grant residency to Hong Kongers for being born in China is “untruthful,” Chiu told a news conference in Taipei.
His remark came after the Washington Post last week reported that Taiwan’s immigration authorities cite ties with China to deny residence to Hong Kongers, resulting in many of them leaving Taiwan.
Photo: Lo Chi, Taipei Times
Deutsche Welle the same day reported that many Hong Kong exiles living in Taiwan fear being deported because their alien resident status is insecure.
Chiu said that the most common reason for Hong Kongers to be denied residency is making undishonest claims about investing in Taiwan, followed by failing to pass a national security assessment.
False financial claims are related to a requirement that immigrants from Hong Kong have investments in Taiwan, he said, adding that shell corporations are often created to back untrue claims.
Being born in China or being a former member of the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party or the People’s Liberation Army pose national security risks that can negatively affect an application, he said.
However, immigration officials do not reject an applicant as a matter of policy; only if multiple risk factors are identified in the background check, he said.
“Media reports alleging that applications were denied due to these reasons were based on untruthful information,” he said.
Regarding the concerns of Hong Kongers that they could lose their residency status due to joblessness or the expiration of their passport, Chiu said that they should register with the Taiwan-Hong Kong Exchange Services Office.
The office provides assistance in matters of education, employment and healthcare, and officials have worked hard to ensure that these services are available to those in need, he said, adding that immigrants have nothing to fear.
However, when asked to comment on the number of Hong Kongers who have ties to China and have been granted residency, Chiu said that he was not prepared to answer before consulting records.
“Such questions should be directed to the agency in charge, which is the National Immigration Agency,” he said.
The government is committed to helping Hong Kongers on the condition that Taiwan’s national security is not compromised, he said, adding that policies are continually being reviewed and improved.
Yesterday marked the third anniversary of protests against a proposed extradition law in Hong Kong, he said, before reiterating the government’s support for freedoms in the territory.
“Taiwan joins the world in expressing concern for the erosion of freedom, democracy and rule of law in Hong Kong,” he added.
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