The long road home: Taiwanese in Hubei become political football

Focus Taiwan
Date: 03/12/2020
By: Lin Ke-lun, Chang Ming-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta

Taiwanese evacuees from China’s Hubei Province are transported to quarantine facilities after arriving at Taoyuan International Airport in early Wednesday.

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) After more than a month of negotiations with Chinese authorities, Taiwan this week carried out the second wave of evacuation of its citizens from Hubei Province in China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, in a process that has been complicated by limited medical resources and apparent distrust on both sides.

When Beijing on Jan. 23 decided to lock down Hubei to prevent further spread of the virus, more than 1,000 Taiwanese nationals were stranded in the province, which has a population of 57 million and now accounts for 67,000 of the 124,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide.

By the end of January, countries including the United States, Japan and Singapore had arranged charter flights to evacuate citizens from the region. According to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), however, Chinese authorities failed to respond to numerous attempts to coordinate an evacuation of Taiwanese nationals, beginning on Jan. 26.

In a Jan. 30 press conference, MAC Deputy Minister and Spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said his agency had begun seeking the assistance of Taiwanese business associations in the Hubei region, given China's refusal to engage directly.    [FULL  STORY]

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