Taiwan sees increased immigration from Hong Kong amid crackdown on national security – Radio Free Asia

The democratic island of Taiwan expects a new wave of arrivals from the former British colony of Hong Kong, where the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) is chairing a city-wide crackdown on the civil society, public dissent and political opposition under a draconian regime. national security law.

The latest statistics from the Taiwan Immigration Department indicate that the number of Hong Kong residents emigrating to Taiwan reached a new high in 2021, a spokesperson for the Mainland Affairs Commission (MAC) of the island, Chiu Chui-cheng. Friday.

The island’s Home Office issued 9,772 residence cards to Hong Kong residents between January and November 2021, compared to 9,501 for the same period in 2020.

Permanent residence was granted to 1,572 Hong Kong people, up from 1,397 in the same period the previous year.

“We have made some draft amendments to the rules … in accordance with the regulations on talent recruitment to extend the period of residency [for students] after obtaining their masters and doctorates, “Chiu said.” The draft changes have been … sent to the Executive Yuan for review. “

“I expect their implementation to be announced soon,” Chiu said.

Immigration consultant Chang Hsiang-ling said more Hong Kong people could have applied had it not been for the island’s strict COVID-19 restrictions on entry and exit, but the new rules could pave the way for more arrivals in the future.

“It’s easier to come from Hong Kong than before the handover,” Chang told RFA. “But people who have just obtained permanent residency in Hong Kong may not be allowed to reside at this time.”

“They will review applications from people born in mainland China to see how long that person has lived in Hong Kong and whether their entire life is focused in Hong Kong,” he said.

He said former Hong Kong officials who had already taken a compulsory oath of allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could be rejected by Taiwan, unless they were employees of the Hospital Authority, serving in public health facilities.

“If you or even your accompanying spouse have taken such an oath, you will be denied the right of residence at this time,” Chang said.

Family greetings pass through the boarding gates at Hong Kong International Airport on July 22, 2021. Credit: AFP

Media, repression of churches

He said the authorities always took a conservative stance on applications for investment visas from Hong Kong people with cash, and risked deterring potential investors in the Taiwanese economy.

The news comes amid a public outcry over raids and arrests by National Security Police at Stand News, a leading pro-democracy media outlet in the city. Two editors of the publication were charged with “sedition” under colonial-era laws, while the website’s assets were frozen under the provisions of the National Security Act, resulting in urged them to step down and lay off all their staff.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Chinese bishops and religious leaders had trained Catholic clergy in Hong Kong on President Xi Jinping’s view of religion with “Chinese characteristics.”

The agency quoted four clerics who attended or knew about the Oct. 31 meeting as saying it was clearly an attempt to put political pressure on the diocese of Hong Kong, which is responsible to the government. Vatican and includes outspoken leaders who have criticized the CCP and the crackdown on promised freedoms in Hong Kong.

The Zoom meetings shed light on what some religious figures, politicians and diplomats describe as the growing role of the Beijing central government liaison office in Hong Kong, which oversaw sessions attended by three prominent bishops, around 15 Mainland Chinese state-backed official religious figures the Catholic Church and about 15 clergy, according to the report.

Susanne Ho, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, told Reuters that the diocese “is not disclosing details of private meetings,” while the central liaison office did not respond to requests for comment.

CPC Under-Secretary-General Xi Jinping views Christianity as a dangerous foreign import, with party documents warning of “the infiltration of Western hostile forces” in the form of religion.

The party, which embraces atheism, exercises strict control over all forms of religious practice among its citizens.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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