'Approved destination status' invites guests who overstay
Canwest News Service
Monday, December 7th, 2009 | 9:20 am
Before everyone gets too cock-a-hoop over Beijing's agreementfinallyto grant Canada “approved destination status” for Chinese tourists, it is worth remembering one thing. There will be a substantial number of these visitors who for very good and understandable reasons won't want to go home.
That has been the experience of Taiwan since MaYing-jeou became president a year and a half ago with a platform pledge to boost tourism from China.
Official Taipei government figures estimate an average of 2,518 Chinese tourists have visited the independent island nation every day for the first nine months of this year.
But how many have actually gone home is in dispute.
The Liberty Times newspaper cites National Immigration Agency information that 26,539 of these visitors have gone missing.
The NIA doesn't dispute the number, but says most of those people left the country later than their visas allowed and, in a mysterious phrase, 15,538 “have otherwise been removed from the list.”
So, says the NIA, there are only about 4,000 illegal immigrants in Taiwan from among the Chinese tourists.