TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In response to an announcement by Beijing that Taiwanese living in China would be eligible for "smart residence cards" starting this month, an amendment is being proposed that would revoke the citizenship of Taiwanese who opt for such residence permits, reported Liberty Times.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) announced yesterday that he had put forward an amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) that would revoke citizenship from Taiwanese who apply for the new Chinese residence permits. However, if they choose to abandon these new Chinese residence permits, they will be eligible to restore their status as Taiwanese citizens.
Wang said that the amendment will be an extension of Article 9, Item 1 of the act, which states that Taiwanese who establish household registration in China or obtain a passport from China will violate the law and forfeit their status as a Taiwanese citizen and related privileges. The revised version of the law would extend this loss of citizenship to those who receive a Chinese residence permit, however, citizenship and rights can be restored if they renounce the Chinese residence permit.
Wang pointed out that though the Chinese residence cards my seem to be a "convenient and free choice" for Taiwanese professionals and businessmen in China, once they have received them, Beijing will be able track their movements and they will start to lose their freedom. "I believe Taiwanese businessmen will have to weigh these issues very carefully," said Wang.
(Photo from China's Ministry of Public Security)
Wang wants to avoid causing Taiwanese businessmen to find themselves "sandwiched" between China and Taiwan on the issue. But if there is no systematic response, Wang fears it could lead to security issues.
On Sept. 14, Taiwan's Minister of Mainland Affairs Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) will appear before the Internal Administration Committee of the Legislative Yuan to explain "the reasons for issuing residence permits for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents in China," said Wang. After Chen's presentation, Wang said that he will put forth his proposed amendment to the act.
Meanwhile, legislative caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the New Power Party (NPP) said his party has also submitted a proposal to amend the law. Hsu's initial proposal was to make it compulsory for Taiwanese who have received the Chinese residence permits to report them when returning to Taiwan and to have their Taiwanese household registration "frozen" or "expunged."
However, Hsu said because removal of Taiwanese household registration would result in the loss of many rights, ranging from running for public office and social welfare benefits, its version of the proposed amendment is still being studied and is expected to be finalized in one or two weeks.
At a news conference on Aug. 16, the Chinese State Council Information Office announced that Taiwanese, Hongkongers and Macanese who have lived in China for at least six months and are legally working, residing or studying in the country, will be eligible to apply for residence permits. The documents can then be available within 20 working days after the application, including a valid travel permit, has been submitted.
In response, MAC Deputy Minister and spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said that like the 31 incentives and "equal treatment measures" introduced by some provinces and cities in China to lure away Taiwanese, the proposed "Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residence permit application and issuance method" is consistent with China's "united front" measures against Taiwan.
Chiu said that because China claims the "residence permits" will be made according to the same technical standards as Chinese residence identity cards, this may pose a risk to Taiwanese people who intend to go to China for employment or study, and they should be very cautious about these new permits.