Taiwan | Executive Yuan finalizing HK, Macau assistance action plan

The Executive Yuan is to publish a humanitarian assistance action plan for Hong Kong and Macau people after it receives approval at the weekly Cabinet meeting Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said this week, the Taipei Times has reported.
The plan was drafted in accordance with Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau, which authorizes the government to assist residents of those territories whose safety and freedoms are threatened for political reasons.
The newspaper added that the government would also amend article 25 of the Enforcement Rules of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau to offer basic care to those whose safety and freedom are threatened before they are allowed to stay in the country, they said.
Although there should be a two-month public notice for such an amendment, it would be immediately implemented following its approval, the source said.
In evaluating Hong Kongers seeking political asylum, the government first requests legal opinions from human rights lawyers in Hong Kong and confirms their identities to access their level of risk, before the cases are then handed to lawyers in Taiwan.
Under the plan, National Security Bureau and Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officials would conduct a preliminary review to verify a persons identity to prevent Chinese nationals from exploiting the system to infiltrate the nation, the source said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kongers seeking political asylum could find their own accommodations in Taiwan or choose to stay in government-provided facilities, they said.
Those who cannot afford an apartment or whose cases are under close public scrutiny would be placed in government-provided facilities, they added.
The National Immigration Agency has shelters for illegal immigrants, but asylum seekers would stay in a separate facility, where they would receive basic living needs, psychological counseling and medical insurance, they said, adding that counseling for schools and jobs would be provided after they are given permission to stay.
The Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council would lead the action plan, the source said.
As the funding for Hong Kongers seeking political asylum, which came from donations from Hong Kong, would soon be depleted, the government would budget funds to support them until they are given permission to remain in the nation, they said as quoted by Taipei Times.
The Mainland Affairs Council would be responsible for submitting the budget plan, they added.
The budget for assisting asylum seekers from Hong Kong this year would come from the councils emergency aid fund, as well as the secondary reserve fund in case of a shortfall, they said. MDT

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