Shanghai-born aspiring Taiwan legislator caught in bureaucratic morass

Shanghai-born aspiring Taiwan legislator caught in bureaucratic morass
Shanghai-born aspiring Taiwan legislator caught in bureaucratic morass

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) China-born individuals are required to renounce their Chinese citizenship if elected to public office, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday, which would make it nearly impossible for Shanghai-born Xu Chunying (徐春鶯) to serve as a legislature if elected.

Xu, who has resided in Taiwan for about 30 years and been a citizen for 23 years, has been reportedly considered by the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) as one of its legislator-at-large candidates in Taiwan’s January 2024 legislative elections.

According to Taiwan law, as a naturalized citizen with a Taiwan ID card for at least 10 years, Xu is eligible to run for office as a citizen of the Republic of China (Taiwan), but there has been debate about whether she could actually be able to serve in a position she won.

The MAC, which handles China policy, issued a statement Monday to address Xu’s potential situation.

It said that because the Act Governing Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area — the law used by Taiwan to govern ties with China — does not cover the issue of naturalized Taiwanese citizens participating in elections or holding other office, other laws must apply.

In particular, it cited Article 20 of the Nationality Act as the law defining Xu’s case, which states that ROC nationals holding dual citizenship are required to start the process to renounce their foreign citizenship before assuming a civil servant position.

To get ROC citizenship in compliance with the laws of Taiwan, Xu had to get her ROC citizenship by relinquishing her China household registration rather than People’s Republic of China citizenship, but that the MAC said, would not help Xu’s case.

That’s because under Chinese law, renouncing one’s household registration does not mean renouncing one’s citizenship, which would be necessary to meet the standard of the Nationality Law, the MAC said.

This is a requirement Xu likely cannot fulfill. Taiwan and China do not recognize each other as independent sovereign countries, leaving no mechanism for China-born nationals like Xu to renounce their Chinese citizenship even after they have obtained Taiwan citizenship.

According to the MAC, the requirement to renounce foreign citizenship is applicable to all ROC civil servants with dual nationality to ensure that people in public offices remain loyal exclusively to the ROC, without allegiance to any foreign nation.

The applies to all ROC nationals with dual citizenship, irrespective of whether the other country has diplomatic relations with Taiwan or not regulation, or whether Taiwan has granted recognition to that country only as a political entity, the MAC said.

Xu is currently the chairperson of the “Taiwan New Residents Development Association” (台灣新住民發展協會). In Taiwan, “new resident” refers to individuals who come to Taiwan from overseas to get married, immigrate and settle down.

At a press event in Taipei on Sunday, Xu herself questioned the feasibility of renouncing her Chinese citizenship.

“Has there ever been a state-to-state relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait?” Xu said, highlighting the dilemma of a standard of “nationality” when neither side recognizes each other’s existence as a country.

The TPP has not yet announced its list of legislative nominees.

On Jan. 13, 2024, Taiwanese voters will cast their ballots to elect a new president and vice president, along with 113 members of the Legislative Yuan.

This includes a total of 34 legislator-at-large seats, which are allocated from party lists of candidates rather than constituencies and based on the number of votes received in the legislative election.

(By Chung Yu-chen)


The article is in Dutch

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