Bride ad ban denies ‘goodness’ of cross-strait marriages

By Flora Wang Special to The China Post

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers yesterday accused the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of discriminating against mainland spouses since MAC plan to ban all advertisements of cross-strait matchmaking from Aug. 1. Legislator Hsu Shao-ping called MAC’s move as “governing the country with two systems,” and questioned MAC’s motive of only restricting ads for cross-strait marriages. “The government should supervise illegal ads instead of denying the goodness of matchmaking across the strait,” said Hsu. “If the government would like to ban matchmaking ads, why didn’t it set restrictions on ads for brides from Southeast Asia, too?” Hsu asked. Lawmaker Huang Teh-fu said both mainland and foreign spouses are now Taiwanese wives and should be treated equally.

Showing a sample of cross-strait matchmaking ads, he said the wording does not violate the Act Governing the Relations between Peoples in Taiwanese Area and Mainland Area, and therefore there’s no need to ban the ads. Legislator Apollo Chen claimed although the government has promised to improve the living conditions of mainland spouses, it is in fact setting more and more restrictions on them. “If only cross-strait matchmaking ads are banned, it is discrimination for sure,” said Chen. Liu Shyang-chi, chairman of the Care Cross-Strait Family Foundation said the organization was against all action taken by the government to be discriminatory. “Advertisements for spouses from the mainland should not be the first to be banned,” said Liu, adding that most of the recent cross-strait marriages have had less and less to do with matchmaking. A mainland spouse surnamed Liang, who has stayed in Taiwan for five years, brought her daughter to the press conference. She said the government regulated spouses from the mainland more strictly than those from other countries. “Why does the government discriminate against us?” Liang asked the officials from MAC. “If the government is really confident of its democracy, it should help mainland brides adapt to Taiwanese society,” Liu said. Sung Kuo-yeh, deputy chief of MAC’s law division, said although matchmaking of cross-strait marriages is not forbidden, it is not appropriate to be advertised because brides are not merchandise. He also mentioned that there was going to be a restriction on the advertising of foreign marriages as well.

The government is not discriminating and there’s no ideology in the restriction, MAC officials assured Huang and Hsu. According to the interior ministry, the media carrying advertisements for mainland brides and the matchmaking companies will be fined from NT$100,000 to NT$500,000, starting from Aug. 1. MAC claimed that the restriction is meant to curb the “wife-shopping” trend in cross-strait marriages.