TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a press conference Wednesday morning (Oct. 16) that Chinese citizens with Taiwanese spouses are being treated unfairly in Taiwan and that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should adopt new policies to help them.
Over the years, Chinese protesters have gathered outside the Legislative Yuan to demand that lawmakers terminate regulations they say alienate foreign spouses, according to UDN. Ma said the ruling Democratic Progressive Party should face the issue directly and listen to these appeals.
According to a report by the Ministry of the Interior, the number of marriages between Taiwanese and Chinese increased steadily from 1987 to 2013 but has dropped significantly since 2014. There were approximately 34,000 Taiwanese-Chinese couples in 2003, reported Liberty Times, but only 6,811 last year.
The report also pointed out that in these cross-country marriages, the percentage of marriages in which Taiwanese men wed Chinese women decreased from 98.2 percent in 2004 to 87 percent last year. Meanwhile, the percentage of marriages comprised of Taiwanese women and Chinese men has steadily climbed.
Taiwanese scholars have linked the decrease in Taiwanese-Chinese marriages to both the government's New Southbound Policy and improving conditions in China. Taiwan has also introduced an interview mechanism to prevent fake marriages, making cross-country marriages more difficult, reported Exmoo News.