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Taiwan activists want China to pay more attention to Taiwanese prisoners

Taiwan activists want China to pay more attention to Taiwanese prisoners

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Human rights activists and lawmakers on Wednesday called on China to pay more attention to the welfare of Taiwanese prisoners.
Four legislators and representatives of human rights associations visited the detention center for Chinese citizens in Ilan County on April 24 and found many aspects needing improvement, reports said.
The detention center looked like a real prison from the outside but inside the situation was not much better, according to Taiwan Association for Human Rights member Weng Chia-hung. Toilets have no walls, and detainees are only allowed two 30-minute periods of movement outside each week, he said.
There was no medical unit posted to the center either, making it more difficult to detect the outbreak of diseases, while the center management did not actively offer legal aid for the inmates, Weng said.
Taiwan eventually returned most Chinese detainees to their country, but there were only three ships taking them back every year, resulting in long periods at the Ilan center. Prosecutors had even decided not to indict one of the inmates, but because there was no space for him on the ships, he had been forced to stay on longer, according to lawmakers.
China should show the same concern to Taiwanese citizens in its jails as Taiwanese human rights groups were showing to the detainees in Ilan, said ruling Kuomintang legislator Chen Shei-saint. Human rights were an universal value, so Taiwan would make sure it would improve living conditions at the center, he added.
Relatives of Taiwanese inmates in Chinese jails should be allowed to go over for a visit, Chen said. He called on the government to turn the issue into a major topic for discussion during the eighth round of semi-official talks between Taiwan and China expected soon. He also hoped that Beijing’s chief negotiator, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin, could visit the Ilan detention center.
Human rights groups said Taiwan’s top cross-straits negotiator, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman P.K. Chiang, would also be allowed to visit Taiwanese detainees in China. ARATS should reveal the number of Taiwanese prisoners, their location and the reason for their detention, activists said.