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DPP calls for stricter limits on citizenship for Chinese spouses

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) maintains its opposition to a proposal from the government to reduce citizenship restrictions for Chinese spouses, said Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday.

The DPP stressed its position that immigrants should be “Loosely limited in life, but strictly limited in obtaining nationality,” said Su, indicating that Chinese spouses in Taiwan should have access to rights including local job opportunities, health insurance and society participation.

“It is important that we accept them with a friendly attitude; it will help them in adapting more easily,” Su added.

During a major conference held on Monday, Su said the DPP opposed the government's proposal to shorten the required period of residence before Chinese spouses can obtain citizenship from the current six years to four years. The party said its legislators would block the proposal when put forward by the Executive Yuan.

“Strengthening border controls, dividing the nation's resources wisely and allowing fair treatment to all immigrants from different countries are major concerns of the nation's immigration system,” said Su.

Before 2000, the Kuomintang (KMT) government maintained a string of irrational restrictions regarding Chinese spouses, said the Head of the DPP's China Affairs Committee Hong Tsai-lung (洪財隆).

Hong said the DPP loosened the majority of these regulations during its term in power. Chinese spouses were given access to local health insurance and a wider range of jobs as well as being allowed to open bank accounts during their stay in Taiwan. This all made it easier for the new arrivals to merge into the country, Hong said.

According to current regulations, Chinese spouses are not required to give up their original citizenship when obtaining citizenship, said Hong, adding that spouses from other nations follow the opposite rule and are required to give up their original citizenship.

It usually takes over six years for Chinese spouses to receive citizenship. Should the government change the regulation, Chinese spouses will become the fastest foreign national group to obtain citizenship, Su said.

The Ma administration's proposal is simply a form of inequality that is unjust to foreign spouses who are not from China, said Su. He called upon the KMT to maintain the six-year restriction while loosening other limitations that foreign spouses may encounter in everyday life.

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