Taiwan delays offer to Hong Kong asylum seekers

The delayed announcement shows that Taiwan authorities have little experience of handling refugees

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會) postponed on Thursday its offer to Hong Kong asylum seekers aiming to settle in Taiwan, saying that it needs some adjustments in light of recent developments.

Speaking at a press conference MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) stressed that authorities are “aware of time but there is no specific date yet” for the release of the proposal.

The delay, however, shows that Taiwan authorities have little experience of handling refugees and would struggle to keep out any Chinese spies who might try to join the influx.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on May 27 that the Cabinet is drawing up a rescue plan for Hong Kong citizens that will include “plans for their residence, placement, employment, and life in Taiwan.”

China immediately slapped down the offer to Hong Kong asylum seekers, telling the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to stop “looting a burning house.”

Chiu promised to give an explanation to the public after the whole procedure has been completed and approved considering the recent developments on the HK National Security Law.

Since the start of the protests, nearly 200 Hong Kong people have fled to Taiwan and about 10 percent have been granted visas under a law that protects Hong Kong people who are at risk for political reasons, Chinese language-media said.

For now, Taiwan authorities have barred Hong Kong people to travel to Taiwan as part of their effort to block the novel coronavirus, but the number of asylum seekers could dramatically jump once the ban is lifted.