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|LCQ5: Entry permit applications by Taiwan residents
Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (February 19):
It is learnt that the heads of Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center and Chung Hwa Travel Service, two Taiwan organizations in Hong Kong, were only granted entry visas to Hong Kong by the Hong Kong SAR Government one year after their appointments. Regarding the vetting and approving of entry visa applications by Taiwan officials, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the criteria adopted for determining individual organizations as Taiwan official organizations in Hong Kong or as Taiwan civic organizations;
(b) of the number of entry visa applications received from Taiwan officials each year since the Reunification and, among them, the number of approved cases and the average validity period of the visas; the average time required for vetting such applications; the number of visas which has taken more that three months for vetting and the reasons for that; and the number of rejected cases and the reasons for that; and
(c) whether there are conditions attached to the entry visas concerned, such as demanding that the visa holders promise to abide by certain stipulations or not to participate in certain activities?
(1) Taiwan has not established any official organizations in Hong Kong. Taiwan organizations in Hong Kong such as Chung Hwa Travel Service and Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center have been in existence before Reunification. In accordance with the Basic Principles and Policies of the Central People's Government on the handling of Taiwan-related Matters in Hong Kong after 1997 announced by Vice-Premier Qian Qichen in 1995 (generally known as "Qian's Seven-point Principles"), these organizations may continue to exist in Hong Kong after Reunification.
(2) Entry permit applications to visit Hong Kong by Taiwan residents are made in their personal capacity. The Immigration Department does not have statistics on whether the applications involve Taiwan officials.
(3) All visitors to Hong Kong, including Taiwan visitors, are required to abide by the laws of Hong Kong during their stay in Hong Kong. In accordance with section 11 of the Immigration Ordinance, an Immigration Officer may specify a limit of stay and other conditions of stay as appropriate on persons who are given permission to enter Hong Kong. The Immigration Department will handle each entry application in accordance with established policies and relevant laws.
End/Wednesday, February 19, 2003.