Outcry at plan to restrict Taiwan-China marriages
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Taiwan’s controversial plans to restrict Chinese women from marrying its men sparked strong criticism from the island’s leading opposition party Tuesday.
Taiwan and China, split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, and are still technically at war despite commencement of civil contacts in 1987.
Taipei’s interior ministry is looking at plans to restrict Chinese women from marrying Taiwanese men on the grounds that it is causing hostility across the Strait.
A sociology professor authorised by Taiwan to draft a new population white paper for the island, raised the controversy during a public hearing hosted by the ministry Monday, the Taipei-based China Times said.
Tsai Ming-chang, of National Taipei University, said he was uncomfortable with with the large number of cross-Strait marriages, given Beijing’s repeated threats to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence.
“The spouses from the mainland do not necessarily identify with Taiwan…therefore, there should be some reasonable measures regarding the rights of Chinese couples,” he said.
Tsai also used divorce statistics among cross-Strait marriages to support his proposal.
According to figures compiled by the ministry from 2004 through 2006, out of every 100 such marriages, 55 couples registered divorces, compared with the divorce ratio of 46 for every 100 domestic couples.
Among Tsai’s proposed restrictions is the number of Chinese spouses allowed for permanent residence here should be reduced to 4,500 per year, down from 6,000 at present.
But his plans sparked strong criticism from Taiwan’s leading opposition party Tuesday.
Yang Tu, a spokesman for the island’s major opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, said if the drafted white paper was enacted it would strip people of “fundamental human rights entitled by the constitution and Taiwan’s international image as a country respecting human rights would be marred.”
“Taiwan often criticised China’s poor human rights records. Now it would be very unwise for Taiwan to do the same thing,” he said.
The interior ministry tried to play down the marriage controversy saying “it is simply a proposal which will not necessarily become government policy.”