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Cablegate: Beijing Blocking Taiwan Efforts to Repatriate Prc

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 002122

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AIT/W

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC TW TIP
SUBJECT: BEIJING BLOCKING TAIWAN EFFORTS TO REPATRIATE PRC
CITIZENS

REF: BEIJING 6436

1. (SBU) Summary. PRC reluctance to accept back its own
citizens detained in Taiwan as illegal immigrants, including
many TIP victims, creates unnecessary hardship for both
groups and a heavy financial burden on the Taiwan government.
Contrary to claims by Beijing authorities (reftel) that the
PRC cooperates with other governments in repatriating its
citizens, Taiwan's Bureau of Immigration reports that there
are hundreds of Chinese illegal immigrants who have been
waiting for long periods to return to the PRC, many for more
than one, some more than two years. End summary.

2. (SBU) Statistics provided by the Taiwan Bureau of
Immigration show that of the 922 female PRC illegal
immigrants currently in detention at the Hsinchu Detention
Center, 404 have been waiting for more than 6 months, 407 for
1-2 years, and 11 for more than 2 years. (Note: AIT
interviewed two PRC trafficking victims in early April, one
of whom was 15 years old and had been waiting over 18 months
and the other victim who had been waiting over two years to
be accepted back by the PRC. End note). The Taiwan Red
Cross calculates the average time for the 2240 total number
of male and female PRC detainees in Taiwan waiting to be
returned to Mainland China is nine months.

3. (SBU) This is in sharp contrast to illegal immigrants from
Southeast Asian countries, which often accept the return of
their citizens within days of being apprehended by Taiwan
authorities. The National Police Administration told AIT
that all illegal immigrants in Taiwan must be repatriated
within 15 days according to Taiwan immigration law. For
non-PRC illegal immigrants, the length of stay depends on how
quickly they obtain travel documents to return home, ranging
from a few days to a week.

4. (SBU) The Red Cross serves as the intermediary between
Taipei and Beijing in the repatriation process. Taiwan has
developed a repatriation system based on prioritization, with
trafficking victims, pregnant women, and those requiring
medical attention placed at the top of the list. All other
PRC illegal immigrants are placed on the repatriation list
according to the date they first entered Taiwanese detention
centers. The Taiwan Red Cross submits a list of PRC
detainees to the PRC Red Cross for transmittal to authorities
in Beijing. Beijing officials then review the list and
verify the identification information provided on the
immigrants. The list is then returned to Taiwanese
authorities but is typically altered with some PRC citizens
refused repatriation with no explanation given for the
decision. Taiwan has no recourse to appeal the PRC
government's refusal to accept some of the immigrants.

5. (SBU) The PRC Red Cross sets a date for the repatriation
from Taiwan once permission from Beijing is obtained. There
is no consistent system for repatriation dates since Beijing
must provide authorization to the Red Cross before dates can
be allocated. Statistics from the Taiwan Red Cross show that
illegal immigrants are usually repatriated monthly but that
there are sometimes long periods with no repatriations such
as February to August 2004 and October to December 2004.
Taiwan authorities told AIT that this uneven timing of
repatriation dates reflects Beijing's assessment of the state
of political relations between Beijing and Taipei. When
Beijing sees positive developments in cross-Strait relations,
cooperation improves and repatriations increase.

6. (SBU) Taiwan Immigration Bureau statistics report that
there are currently 2240 illegal immigrants from the PRC
waiting to be repatriated. The following number of PRC
illegal immigrants were detained and repatriated from 2002 to
2005:

2002: 2032 detained, 1402 returned in 9 repatriations


2003: 3458 detained, 2237 returned in 14 repatriations


2004: 1783 detained, 1440 returned in 9 repatriations


2005: 375 detained (through March), 850 returned in 5
repatriations (through April)

7. (SBU) Taiwan government officials told AIT that they wish
to repatriate illegal immigrants back to the PRC as soon as
possible and are deeply frustrated by Beijing's delays and
frequent passing over of certain illegal immigrants for no
reason. Taiwan immigration officials and the Taiwan Red
Cross, however, added that once PRC immigrants are returned
to the Mainland, many face additional hardships such as stiff
monetary fines or measures taken against their families for
their attempt to leave the PRC.

8. (SBU) Comment. Beijing's refusal to accept the return of
its citizens in a timely manner from Taiwan goes beyond
politics to become a question of human rights. While Beijing
has accepted on average approximately 11 repatriations per
year since 2002, the erratic timing of the repatriations and
the high number of PRC illegal immigrants detained combined
with Beijing's refusal to accept all immigrants submitted for
repatriation has resulted in hardships for the illegal
immigrants who are forced to languish in overcrowded
detention centers. Many of the PRC women detained as illegal
immigrants are determined to be TIP victims and placed in a
separate facility. Most wish to return home to the Mainland
as soon as possible, but are not permitted do so by Beijing.
The delay in repatriating the PRC's TIP victims has unfairly
tarnished Taipei's international reputation for its
performance in dealing with the issue of trafficking in
persons. Moreover, the Taiwan government must house and feed
the large numbers of illegal immigrants and TIP victims at
considerable expense. AIT believes that Beijing authorities
should be encouraged to accept the return of all PRC citizens
and do so without conditions so that Taiwan does not have to
unfairly bear the brunt of Beijing's delays. End comment.
PAAL

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