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Taiwan urges China to improve conditions for Taiwanese detainees

2012/05/02 19:20:03

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Several lawmakers and local human rights groups urged China Wednesday to improve human rights standards for Taiwanese people detained in China in light of efforts to improve conditions for Chinese detainees in Taiwan.

The legislators and members of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Taiwan Democracy Watch, and the Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Association said they hoped that the improvement of conditions for detainees at an Yilan County detention facility, which houses mainly Chinese illegal immigrants, would result in Chinese authorities doing the same for Taiwanese detainees.

A number of Taiwanese lawmakers visited the detention center in Yilan on April 24 and asked authorities to improve the conditions to allow more privacy and freedom for detainees, said Lai Chung-chiang, convener of the Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Association, at a press conference.

As a result, Lai hoped that China would allow Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation, to visit Taiwanese prisoners in China and to publish the number of Taiwanese detainees in China prior to Chiang's meeting with Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and China's top negotiator with Taiwan.

Echoing Lai's wish, ruling Kuomintang Legislator Apollo Chen said he hoped that by improving the rights of Chinese detainees in Taiwan, visitation rights for Taiwan detainees in China and the causes for their detention could be central topics of discussion at the eighth Chiang-Chen meeting to be held in June.

Weng Chia-hung, a member of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, noted that detainees at the Yilan facility have little privacy, citing a lack of partitions between toilets.

Moreover, detainees are only allowed outside twice a week and the facility does not provide legal counseling services for detainees, Weng said, adding that only three repatriation services are scheduled each year for Chinese detainees.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu highlighted a case involving a Chinese detainee, who, despite having resolved his case, was still being detained at the center due to the limited repatriation services.

(By Tseng Ying-yu and Ann Chen)