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Taiwan Denies Entry to Anti-Nuke Visitor Ahead of Protest

A German man who marched in an anti-nuclear protest two years ago [zh] in Taiwan was detained at Taiwan's international airport and denied entry [zh] into the country on March 8, 2013, a day before protesters planned to hold a large-scale anti-nuclear demonstration there.

Daniel Andres Helmdach is scheduled to be deported from Taiwan, a suspected consequence of his participation in an anti-nuclear demonstration in Kaohsiung on April 30, 2011 [zh] while he was in Taiwan working as a volunteer on conservation projects.

This is not the first time that Taiwan has zeroed in on the participation of foreigners in anti-nuclear activities in Taiwan, where the recent construction of the fourth nuclear power plant in Taiwan has been met with strong criticism because of security concerns. Two Japanese people from Fukushima were warned by the country's immigration office [zh] immediately after they gave a speech at an anti-nuclear demonstration on April 30, 2011.

Photo from International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) Taiwan which Helmdach had participated in 2011.

Photo from International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) Taiwan which Helmdach had participated in 2011.

The country's premier, Yi-Hua Chiang, has called for a referendum to be held on the construction of the Fourth nuclear power plant in August 2013.

After becoming aware of Helmdach's detention, Helmdach's friend Rui-Guang Huang put out a call for help on his Facebook page:

我們的好朋友今天傍晚入境台灣旅遊,在桃園國際機場被擋在外面不得入境,原因是他兩年前來台灣時,觀察紀錄我們的環境教育活動,結果竟被標記,在未被告知的情形下,此時此刻被擋在機場準備送回德國。

Our good friend arrived in Taiwan this evening for sightseeing. His entry was rejected at the Tauyuan International Airport because he joined our environmental education observation activity two years ago in Taiwan. To our surprise, he was targeted and is now prepared for deportation without any notice in advance.

Legislator Shu-Fen Lin called the head of the immigration office and requested them to explain the deportation of Daniel. The immigration office said [zh] that the National Security Council made the decision in 2010 that should a foreigner conduct anything not described in his or her visa, the person would be denied entry to Taiwan three years.

Helmdach worked as a volunteer in Taiwan for one year during 2011 through arrangements made by the International Culture Youth Exchange (ICYE). Rui-Guang Huang explained the nature of Helmdach's volunteer work at that time:

協助麟洛教會莫拉克風災社區重建工作、參與台南社大海灘廢棄物監測及相關環境關懷行動,在台期間認真學習,並善盡國際志工責任,充分配合服務單位的工作需要,並無任何不當行為。

He helped the Linluo church’s communication reconstruction project after Typhoon Morakot and joined the surveillance activities of the waste on the beach and related nature conservation activities. He worked very hard in Taiwan and fulfilled his responsibility as an international volunteer. He cooperated with us and helped complete our projects. He did not conduct anything unseemly.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, Daniel studied issues related to nuclear power and walked with his friends from the Community College in Tainan City during the anti-nuke demonstration [zh] in Kaohsiung on April 30, 2011. Soon after the demonstration, special agents visited the Community College in Tainan City and the Tainan branch of ICYE, but they did not mention anything about Daniel's involvement in unlawful activities.

  • serious?

    Ahh…i don’t really believe this. It prob has to do with his visa.

    • David Reid

      A report in the Taipei Times on 10 March quotes an official from the immigration agency. This clearly indicates that Helmdach has been placed on a black list. Quotes from the article follow.

      Commenting on the case, immigration agency spokesman Hsu Chien-lin (徐健麟) told the Taipei Times via telephone that Helmdach was prohibited from entering the country for three years according to the conclusion of an immigration review meeting on Dec. 27, 2011.

      “Helmdach left the country on July 25, 2011, and is prohibited from re-entry until Sept. 15, 2014,” Hsu said.

      Asked if Helmdach was placed on the border control list for his participation in the anti-nuclear demonstration, Hsu said there is no problem with foreigners taking part in legally approved demonstrations.

      “The problem is that he took part in two demonstrations, one was legal, one was illegal, thus he was in violation of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法),” Hsu said.

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