Curious: R.O.C. Citizenship for a "White Chinese"?


#1

I’m sure most of us have heard about the law that if you’re of “Chinese ancestry,” you can relatively easily obtain Taiwanese (R.O.C.) citizenship. I have a unique situation, and I’m curious as to how it would/could be handled.

Firstly, I’m white … not a drop of Chinese blood in me (as far as I know). However, my grandfather was born and raised in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province prior to “liberation” (when the mainland was still part of the R.O.C.). If I was able to get my grandfather’s birth certificate or some form of other documentation that he was born in the R.O.C., would I too be allowed to get R.O.C. citizenship (and being considered “Chinese,” still be able to keep my U.S. citizenship)? Or, do you have to be “Han” Chinese in order to be able to utilize this law? Last time I checked, in mainland China at least, there were 56 national minorities, all of which are considered “Chinese” by the government (even though they are not “Han”), and there are “white Chinese” there (although not in very large numbers) who are remnants of the large groups of Russian immigrants who settled in Manchuria and North-west China following the Russian Revolution (this is the category which my grandfather belongs to). Any thoughts?


#2

This is an interesting question. However, to my knowledge, the R.O.C. (prior to “liberation” in 1949 and after the government temporarily moved to Taipei) never granted citizenship based simply on the mere fact that one happened to born within the territory of the R.O.C. (as is the case if one happens to born within the territory of the United States).

Assuming that your grandfather was born in Heilongjiang by virtue of the fact that your great-grandparents were missionaries, or businesspeople, or just passing through when your great-grandmother went into labor, its unlikely that your grandfather acquired R.O.C. citizenship.


#3

Interesting website you have. Not many people include pages on foreigners in Taiwan like yours.


#4

They were not missionaries or “passing-through.” They were immigrants to China, and my grandfather lived there for the first 17 years of his life. His family was very, very well-to-do, and his father (my great-grandfather) owned a cigar factory in Harbin. When Japan invaded Manchuria, my grandfather and his younger sister were sent to America. I’m not exactly sure of his legal citizen status (and I doubt that the government was very strict about “legal status” at that time). I will check into it though. If he was a legal citizen, would I then qualify?


#5

Interesting website, David.

I believe that the ROC required their “mainland immigrants” in 1949 to register their household registers. Formosan born citizens just continued under the Japanese system of paternal lineage to become ROC citizens. Probaby here is the Treaty of Taipei was terminated by Japan in 1972, it included the provisions of Chinese nationality for Formosa.

Japan and “China” observes only jus sanguines (nationality by descent or bloodline) unlike the jus soli (nationality by birthplace) of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment.


#6

I agree with fdr and taiwanstatus that it doesn’t matter that your grandfather was born in China or that he lived there for 17 years. All that matters is whether or not your grandfather still has an ROC passport. Does he?

And even if your grandfather still has his ROC passport, I don’t think he can directly sponsor you for an ROC passport. I think he would first have to sponsor your father (if it’s your paternal grandfather) or your mother (if it’s your maternal grandfather), and then your father or mother could sponsor you for an ROC passport. I don’t think your grandfather could sponsor you directly. (But someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)