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China harassed by illegal immigrant activities
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2004-11-25 17:09

According to an article on Xinzhoubao, this year embassies in Beijing have been intruded in by foreigners who entered China illegally many times. People from China's neighboring countries are walking into China along some untrod roads in the border areas in Northeast China, and then getting to Beijing. They attempt to obtain the opportunity to enter a third country by intruding in foreign embassies and international schools that mostly cater to foreignersӮchildren.

More than twenty black people hide in a residence in Tongzhou District of Beijing. They hoped to go to France but were abandoned by the smuggler.

A person with a Chinese authority for managing the entry of foreigners notes that some Africans and Middle-Easterners want to get into European countries like France, Sweden and Britain. They are attempting to use China as a stepping-stone. They generally take Beijing as the preferred transit stop. Meanwhile, with flights to more than ten countries, Guangzhou is also a target for foreign illegal immigrants.

As of the beginning of 2004, the entry/exit control department of Chinese police authority in Guangdong had successfully uncovered 37 cases evolving illegal entry and exit, and 115 suspects were caught. A total of 1,289 foreigner cases were investigated into and solved, and 167 foreigners were taken into custody and interrogated, and 107 among them were repatriated.

According to Guo Xiqin, deputy director of the Frontier Defense Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the PeopleӮs Republic of China, due to its political stability and rapid economic development, China has become a target nation of illegal immigrants and it is bothered by illegal immigrant activities. Up to March 24, 2004, Chinese police authorities have repatriated more than 16,000 foreigners who had entered China illegally or stayed here or worked here illegally.

Residents from neighboring countries sneak into China mostly through the northern and southern border areas. There are similar geographic conditions across the borderlines. Many mountains and rivers run across the borderlines. The villages are close to one another. At the same time, in border regions the two countries share similar nations, languages and customs. All these pave the way for stowaways.

Not all illegal immigrants intend get to a third country via China. A large number of them attempt to obtain the status for legally staying in China with the help of local Chinese and international non-government organizations. China has 22,000 kilometers of land borderlines and 18,000 kilometers of continental coastlines. In recent years, illegal immigrant and stowaway activities loom large in the border areas.

Accurate statistics from any person or institution are not available on the number of people from neighboring countries that sneak into Northeast China through illegal channels and get to other areas and a third country.

In the international community, these people entering into China illegally from neighbor countries Northeast to China are called "refugees". Yet Professor Liang Shuying, who teaches international law at China University of Politic Science and Law, disagrees. In September 2002, a 19-year-old boy and his families from a neighboring country came to the office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Beijing in hopes of obtaining the status of refugees.

However, pursuant to UN provisions on the recognition of refugees, the office did not grant them the status. Subsequently, he appealed to the UNHCR headquarters in stipulated procedure, but eventually the appeal was rejected.

Data shows that there are more than ten million illegal immigrants in the U.S., and the number increases by over 300,000 person-times annually. In China, those who get into China illegally are not called " illegal immigrants" yet, but the number is also on the rise year by year.

How should competent authorities in China address this new issue of illegal entry? According to provisions under relevant international laws, the host country should provide national treatment or treatment not worse than that of general foreigners for refugees. Yet illegal immigrants are subject to penalties under relevant laws promulgated in the host country and restrictions imposed by international treaties and other international legal obligations. 
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