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16december20093Taipei: Because of refugee identification problems, many Tibetan refugees were unable to obtain the right of residence in Taiwan yesterday, 15 December. 27 Tibetans held a hunger strike in front of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, requesting refugee status.

Out of the Tibetans in Taiwan who filled out applications for right of residence last year, 78 obtained a residence permit, and 32 did not. According to two brothers who participated in the protest, only one has been allowed a permit. The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs commission stated that they could not confirm the identities of the Tibetan refugees who were refused the permit.

Magistrate Yang Chang-zhen, a Democratic Progressive Party candidate in Miaoli County and vice-president of Friends of Tibet, announced his plan of action during the hunger strike today. He said that the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission should give refugee status to all holders of the Green Paper that is issued by the Tibetan government in exile. This is the formal identity document for Tibetans living in exile.

Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chen Chiech-Ju prepared a proposal in the Legislative Yuan allowing Tibetans who have not obtained the residence permit to seek a one-year extension of their temporary residence permits. In the meantime, they can complete the necessary procedures for identification.

Mr. Lai, a Taiwanese man, commented on the hunger strikers’ conditions, saying, "When I went there at 4:00, they had been on strike for at least 32 hours. One woman's heart was beating rapidly, and another protester offered her a massage." Police said they are not only refusing to eat, but also refusing to drink."

Taiwanese pop star Freddy provided clothes for the Tibetan refugees on hunger strike. He posted an explanation on his Facebook, writing, "These days are very cold. I wanted to bring some clothes to them."

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