Taiwan: Government Rules Out 2008 Olympic Events
The government yesterday ruled out the possibility that 2008 Olympic sports events might be staged in Taiwan, adding it hopes plans for the Olympic torch relay will not downgrade Taipei's international status.
Local media reports quoted Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Minister Liu Te-hsun as saying information he received from the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports suggested China planned to hold all sports events in Beijing, aside from sailing and show jumping.
The sailing event is slated to be held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, while the equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong, the government-funded Central News Agency quoted Liu as saying. Beijing Olympic organizers told the China Daily last year that they were ready to allow Taiwan to be a stop in the Olympic Torch relay. Taipei and Beijing have since been squabbling over whether taking the Olympic flame to Taiwan qualifies as a "domestic" route for the torch or an "international" one.
China insists Taiwan is a renegade province that is part of its territory. Taiwan says its government, the Republic of China, is independent of China with its own international status, and will not accept Beijing describing plans to take the torch relay to the island as a "domestic route."
Liu said the council learned Beijing has submitted plans for the torch relay to the International Olympic Committee and the MAC and National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports have since been paying close attention.
"Taiwan advocates that all International Olympic Committee members share same the rights, interests, and responsibilities and hopes that (Taipei's) sovereignty will not be downgraded during the process," CNA quoted Liu as saying.
In related reports, Taipei is calling for official talks with Beijing on the joint fight against crime and the repatriation of stowaways and illegal Chinese immigrants, the MAC said in a statement. The council called for Taiwan and China to set up a long term cooperative mechanism to manage the situation.
The statement said 2,352 illegal immigrants had been returned
to China in 14 separate operations last year, the highest number within the
last decade. However, around 1,200 illegal immigrants remained crammed in the
island's detention centers.
"Among these there are quite a few youths, pregnant women, infants and sick people," the statement said.
"We call upon the mainland side to uphold a humanitarian spirit, place them on the priority repatriation list and reunite them back with their families as soon as possible," it said.
The MAC said it had learnt that China was building a new ship for repatriating illegal immigrants that could hold numbers of up to 250, which would start operating after the Lunar New Year.
The council said Taiwan had also newly-constructed a detention center on the outlying island of Kinmen, which could begin operations. It called on Beijing to open up a repatriation channel from Kinmen to the port of Xiamen on the mainland and "make it systemized" so that repatriation work could be completed in half the time.
The council also said crimes committed in Taiwan by Chinese
illegal immigrants were becoming increasingly rampant. "This seriously
affects national security and social stability," the statement said. Aside
for drafting laws meting out harsher penalties for Chinese criminals that took
advantage of the unusual diplomatic situation between Taiwan and China, the
council also called on China to crack down on illegal immigrants and criminals."At
the same time we want to carry out talks on the cross-strait joint fight against
crime soon to effectively prevent stowaways and other illegal actions,"