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SEF offers services to \'taishang\'

SEF offers services to \'taishang\'

The Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday formed a volunteer legal group to provide free legal consulting services and protect the rights and interests of Taiwanese who do business in China (taishang) or go there on vacation.

The volunteer group also offers free legal services to people who come from China to Taiwan to help familiarize them with Taiwan\'s laws.

Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) emphasized that because Taiwanese have little understanding of China\'s laws and regulations, their interests and rights are usually compromised when they visit or do business there.

Chang said that because of the major differences in legal systems and attitudes toward human rights between China and Taiwan, it is often difficult for Taiwanese to be familiar with PRC laws.

At the same time, many Chinese visiting Taiwan are unfamiliar with laws here, so they have trouble defending their rights, especially when spouses from the PRC face the problem of divorce, Chang added.

He said that with more than 3 million people traveling between Taiwan and China and disputes are on the rise, a legal consulting service was necessary to protect the rights of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

According to the foundation, 23 professional and experienced Taiwanese lawyers are participating in the volunteer group and are ready to help people face difficult civil or criminal actions.

The foundation added that people could feel comfortable discussing sensitive matters in the privacy of a hidden consulting room.

Chang said the task force was formed on yesterday\'s International Volunteer Day so the founation could thank the lawyers for devoting themselves to helping people.