This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003402
STATE FOR CA/OCS/CI, G/TIP, G, INL, PRM, IWI, AND EAP/RSP/TC STATE PASS AIW/W AMCONSUL HONG KONG PASS DHS HK AMEMBASSY BEIJING PASS DHS BEIJING
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM CASC SMIG ASEC KFRD ELAB KCRM PREF TW SUBJECT: A FRIGHTENING PROSPECT: PRC INFANTS ADOPTED FROM TAIWAN
REF: BALLIF-BROWN UNCLASS E-MAIL 22 OCT 04
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On 23 October, AIT Taipei received the referenced e-mail regarding the possibility of the Frank Foundation, a US-based international adoption organization facilitating the adoption of the infant children of illegal PRC mothers currently in immigration detention in Taiwan. Based on visits by an AIT officer to this detention facility and information obtained from local NGOs, it appears that the current situation and the future faced by both the mothers and infants in detention is considerably more positive than described by the Foundation. AIT is strongly opposed to the adoption of these infants in Taiwan, for administrative, legal, and humanitarian reasons. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) On 23 October, AIT received the referenced e- mail concerning the situation of PRC mothers and infants being held in immigration detention centers in Taiwan and the possibility of assisting private U.S. groups in the placement (i.e. adoption) of the children. This possibility was raised by the Frank Foundation, an international adoption advocacy organization. The Foundation's website includes a section dedicated to the mothers and children in a Taiwan detention center, where it claimed that the female inmates were prostitutes who were "broken physically, psychologically, and spiritually," that their babies were unwanted, and advocated the "rescue" (i.e. adoption) of these infants to save them from a "terrifying and tragic" fate, suggesting that many of the women might kill their children upon their return to China.
3. (SBU) As part of the research for last year's Trafficking in Persons report, an AIT officer visited the immigration detention center in Hsin Chu, in all probability the specific center referred to on the Frank Foundation website, and conducted private, unmonitored interviews with some of the female detainees. The officer found that the conditions at the Hsin Chu facility were neat and clean, the inmates described their treatment as fair, there was no sign of widespread psychological trauma among the detainees, and the Taiwanese authorities were going out of their way to make sure the women with infants are particularly well cared for. This conclusion corresponds with reports from local NGOs and other foreign representative offices that have visited the detention center as well.
4. (SBU) While it is certain that some of the female detainees practiced prostitution prior to their detention by the Taiwan authorities, it is not at all clear that even a majority were engaged in prostitution or any aspect of the sex industry. There are no statistics available and none of the detainees admitted to working in the sex trade. However, based on information from a variety of sources, we know that most PRC illegals in Taiwan work in industries other than sex and prostitution, including working as cooks, dishwashers, janitors, manual laborers, domestic helpers, etc.
5. (SBU) The Taiwan authorities have the right to detain PRC nationals found working in Taiwan as illegal aliens pending their return to the PRC, but they have sought to return these aliens to their place of origin as quickly as possible. However, the PRC government's reluctance to accept their nationals back en masse has resulted in a long and slow repatriation process. For example, from January through March 2004 five groups of illegal PRC nationals were repatriated. According to Taiwan's Bureau of Immigration, repatriations stopped from March to August, and since August 424 PRC nationals have been repatriated, including 232 females and 19 infants. According to Chang Hsu-ti from the Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council, as of 28 October there were 2197 female and 406 male PRC nationals, including 12 children, remaining in detention centers in Taiwan. It should be noted that children born in Taiwan to PRC national mothers have no right of abode in Taiwan because, by law, birth in Taiwan does not confer automatic citizenship. Additionally, the Taiwan authorities will not issue these children travel documents.
6. (SBU) The possibility that U.S. families might wish to adopt these children from Taiwan also raises serious U.S. immigration, consular and fraud issues. Attempting to verify the bonafides of a PRC orphan in Taiwan, when AIT has no access to PRC government offices or documents and has no means to fact-check, would make the approval of an I-600 petition and orphan investigation nearly impossible. There is also the possibility that children would be smuggled from the PRC to Taiwan to take advantage of the situation, were we begin processing these adoptions. For the protection of these children and to maintain the integrity of the adoption/immigration process, any adoptions of PRC children should continue to be handled by the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, not at AIT Taipei.
7. (SBU) Comment: There is no evidence to support the allegations made by the Frank Foundation concerning the hardships faced by PRC detainees in Taiwan or the fate of their children. Suggesting that PRC mothers, many of whom are not well-educated, give their children up for adoption while still detained in Taiwan would set a dangerous precedent fraught with legal, humanitarian and fraud concerns. Any intervention or pressure by the USG or AIT, real or perceived, even with the best of intentions, risks further complicating what is already a very sensitive issue.