In last Friday’s “H Agenda” column, Richard Hartzell says that PRC citizens cannot be illegal immigrants to Taiwan, because this is “their own country,” and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives all people the right to enter their own country.
Not so fast. Even accepting the ROC constitution at face value, PRC immigrants have not been denied the right to live in “their own country.” At most, they have been denied the right to live in one small part of their own country. This is legitimate and necessary–in fact, it ought to be practiced more often.
Most Indian Hindus do not have the right to move to Kashmir at will. This was a condition of Kashmir’s accession to India, with the aim of protecting Kashmir’s Muslim culture. Similarly, most Chinese do not have the right to move to Hong Kong. You know why. No violation of human rights–on the contrary, it is the rights of these smaller units which are being protected.
A problem could potentially arise if NO province of the ROC would be willing to accept someone with ROC citizenship. Indeed, China’s registration system is halfway there already, since it prevents people from legally moving to most of the places where they could make a halfway decent living. On the other hand, who wants to live next to a bunch of migrant workers? Whose rights should have priority?
But none of this should affect Taiwan’s case much–its circumstances are indeed unique.