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The proceeding in dealing with the unrests incited by the illegal immigrants from the mainland Ilan Accommodation Center

July 1999


■ Illegal Immigrants from the mainland misbehaved and held police as hostages

■ Representatives branches listen to their demands and map out relevant measures.

■ Consensus reached, and the hostages were released

■ In the future, the process of repatriation will be speeded up and proactive measures of relevant actions will be studied.

(I) Causes of the incident

Illegal immigrants from Mainland China into Taiwan increased since the government allowed the interactions from both sides of the Strait at social level.

The settlement of those people thus becomes our immediate concern. In 1990, the Red Cross Chapters of both China and Taiwan reached an agreement in Kimmen, which is supposed to serve as a benchmark for the repatriation and picking up of the illegal immigrants. However, the mainland side did not comply with the agreement to pick up detainees who were repatriated. This resulted in the extended staying of detainees in Taiwan. There was a record in 1988 that only one detainee was picked up by the mainland authorities in six months. This rendered management problems in the accommodation centers and hence misbehaviors of the detainees were frequently reported.

On June 15 of this year, a time not far away from the traditional Dragon Boat festival, series of events happened. Suffering from homesickness and hearing nothing about back home, detainees fell into a stage of unrest. Indeed, it was a release of their stresses suppressed for long time. Within the six months prior to the incident, three detainees suffered from certain kind of muscular disorder that claimed their lives. Another nine was warded and suffered from certain contaminations. Consequently, the detainees demanded for sending them home the sooner the better. They engaged in collective hunger strike and held two of the police as hostages in the accommodation centers.

(II) Setting up the guideline for operation and satisfying their needs

Learning about the event, the Council sent Deputy Director Wu An- Chia for the Ilan Center in the morning of June 16. Officials from the National Health Department, National Police Administration and the Straits Exchange Foundation also rushed to the center to deal with the situation. By 12:30, Legislative member Tsao Er-Chung and Chen Hung-Chi arrived under the escort of Secretary-General Hsu of the Straits Exchange Foundation. After exchanging views, the officials decided to allow Legislator member Tsao and Chen, together with Secretary-General Hsu, to negotiate with the detainees as unofficial members.

(III) Consensus reached and the police in custody were released

The demands from the detainees were heard and studied. Deputy Director Wu, Secretary-General Hsu, Legislative member Tsao and Chen, Ilan District Attorney Lin, Ilan Hsien Mayor Liu, National Police Inspector Chen, Exit and Entry Control Bureau Director Tsang, and Director Kao of the Ilan Center jointly decided that they will inform the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). They told the press they will urge the mainland side to deal with this issue through the two unofficial groups. They further promised that repatriation could be arranged as soon as in a month. At the administrative level, they could coordinate relevant agencies to carry it out. The incident concluded and the two police were released by 6:00pm on the 16th.

(IV) Conclusion:

In handling this situation, the police had highly restrained themselves while the national health personnel could quickly keep the contaminations in control. The agencies involved also could work in conjunction with the Straits Exchange Foundation to negotiate with the detainees in a peaceful manner. Their deeds were highly applauded by the society. The demands of the detainees will be satisfied. For conducts that entailed legal consequences will be referred to the judicial authorities while those of administrative nature will be corrected accordingly. The leading activist of the unrest Yang Chien-Shu and eight others were charged on June 24 for respective violations of laws. At the same time, mainland authorities did pick up 166 illegal immigrants back to the mainland on June 27, among them 55 had been detained in the Ilan Center. For the time being the Mainland Affairs Council will support the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to further discuss the issue on the repatriation of illegal immigrants. We will aim at the possibility of pursuing proactive measures to send the illegal immigrants home.