Registered chops

The quote below (from the Foreign Spouses’ Network) says that foreigners can’t get a registered chop. How do you tell if your chop is registered? Is it not the receipt with your name on it? Is there anything that you really need a registered chop for?


    In dealing with all types of official paperwork in Taiwan, it is common to use a “chop.” For some particularly sensitive types of documents, it is desirable to use a “registered chop”, to prove that this chop is actually held by the person in question, and is thus legally valid for use on relevant documents. Although reports have surfaced that some foreigners in Taiwan have been required to produce “registered chops” for use in some legal actions, unfortunately to our knowledge there is no way for a foreigner to complete the “registered chop” procedure under current regulations.
    Nevertheless we believe that if a suitable court case were undertaken, this problem could be resolved. We believe that the ideal case would be “a foreign husband with a brother living outside of Taiwan”. It would be stated that the brother desired to come to Taiwan and talk about cooperative investment projects with prospective local partners, and needed the “registered chop” for that use.

The National Network of Foreign Spouses’ recently released a newsletter regarding potential court actions for 2002, which it is felt will help advance the human rights agenda of foreigners in Taiwan.

The issue of a “registered chop” is one of these potential court actions. For local citizens, the so called “registration” of a chop must be done with the appropriate government agency, and indeed it is a common procedure. As stated in the newsletter, for some types of sensitive legal documents, there is the need to use a “registered chop”, and in any event one’s rights are better protected if the chop is registered. Are you or one of your friends willing to be a test case in this matter? If so, I would be happy to meet with you to discuss further details.

As outlined in the newsletter, it is believed that the best case scenario would be a foreign spouse who has a brother residing overseas. After purchasing a chop for the brother, the attempt would then be made to register it.

We had an Australian fellow in Kaohsiung who went ahead with this procedure, applied with the MOI to register a chop, and was refused. The details of the case were that his father wanted to come to Taiwan to invest, and felt that if any legal problems developed, he definitely wanted to be able to hire a local Taiwan attorney to deal with them . . . . . . so in order to avoid the problem of having to DHL all sorts of documents back and forth for signature, he felt it advisable to have a “registered chop” which would be fully ACCEPTED AS HAVING 100% LEGAL VALIDITY by all local Taiwan administrative agencies, courts, etc. After all . . . . . if the Taiwanese can do it, why can’t foreigners?

His son has an ARC and lives in Kaohsiung, so . . . . . acting as the father’s agent, he made the application, and that was refused. He sued the MOI, and we got to court after one year. However, the Taipei High Administrative Court decided against him, i.e. the MOI’s decision was upheld. This was the Spring of 2003.

We have appealed but I don’t think the outcome is promising. The MOI’s original decision was based on some interpretative letters, and internal regulations, and not laws. The Taipei Court upheld that . . . . . . .

So, we will see what happens . . . . . . Basically I am coming to the conclusion that foreigners have no rights here . . . . . . and when you read the laws, you cannot take them at face value. In other words, I have found that the courts do not uphold the premise "there is no law forbidding it, therefore it is allowed . . . . . "

There needs to be a major overhaul of the “thinking” of local Taiwanese officials . . . . . in my opinion. But maybe I am wrong. I would welcome comments from other members of the community.