Media tycoon urges Taiwan government to lower immigration bar for Hongkongers

Jimmy Lai asks Tsai Ing-wen to liberalize Taiwan immigration laws, faces opposition from Taiwanese

Hong Kong pro-democracy businessman Jimmy Lai. 

Hong Kong pro-democracy businessman Jimmy Lai.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) on Tuesday (May 26) called for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to ease immigration requirements for Hong Kong citizens and allow them to immigrate to the island nation.

In a Twitter post published Tuesday, the Apple Daily founder responded to Tsai's promise to stand with Hongkongers and said it is time for the Taiwanese government to "take action" and follow through on its "rhetoric." He asked if Tsai would consider liberalizing Taiwan's immigration laws for the people of Hong Kong, who are desperately seeking asylum in response to Beijing's planned national security law.

During a press conference, Taiwan Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) pointed out that the government welcomes Hong Kong citizens to apply for long-term residency or permanent residency for naturalization. He said the government would provide necessary assistance to Lai if he chooses to file an immigration application to Taiwan.

Chang stressed that the Taiwanese government has continued to provide humanitarian aid to foreign citizens and will further its support based on the existing foundation. He added that the government has set a relatively low bar for Hong Kong citizens who wish to move to Taiwan, compared to citizens of other countries, reported CNA.

Since it was published, Lai's tweet has stirred up heated discussion among Taiwanese internet users, with the majority taking an opposing stance to his request. Some netizens described Lai's choice of words as rude, while others argued that Taiwan has no obligation to agree to Hongkongers' every request, reported Yahoo News.