Chinese spouses protest lack of human, civil rights


More than 40 Chinese spouses, the Alliance for Human Rights Legislation for Immigrants and Migrants (AHRLIM), the Awakening Foundation and other organizations demonstrated yesterday outside the Taipei Guest House, saying that a lack of human rights and domestic and marriage legislation were turning them into second-class citizens.

They demanded that the Act Governing Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) be amended so they could enjoy the same human rights as other foreign spouses.

Tseng Chao-yuan (曾昭媛), Awakening Foundation secretary-general, said there were about 98,000 Chinese spouses residing in Taiwan, but that they have to wait for 10 years before they can obtain citizenship, unlike other foreign spouses who are eligible after four years.

Hsia Hsiao-chuan (夏曉鵑), associate professor in Shih Hsin University's Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies, said that although Taiwan was a country that respected human rights, Chinese spouses were discriminated against. adding that international conventions on women's rights state that foreign spouses should enjoy basic human rights protection in their new country.

Zheng Xiaowen (鄭曉文), who has lived in Taiwan for five years, said that many Chinese spouses experienced economic problems, because they do not have the right to work, which means if their spouse dies and they have no children, or if they divorce because of domestic violence, the Chinese spouse has to return to China.

A Chinese spouse holds up cuffed hands while performing a skit outside Taipei Guest House yesterday. The skit was part of a demonstration demanding that Chinese spouses be given the same rights as other foreign spouses. PHOTO: CNA