One of the most significant issues that has been raised and discussed in this thread is whether or not Taiwan should change its law requiring renunciation of original citizenship for naturalizing foreigners. Some have expressed the view that it should, while others (particularly those who have already gained ROC nationality) have argued that there is no good reason for it to do so. I belong to the former camp.
A couple of years ago, as some may recall, I formally submitted a proposal for the law to be changed. This proposal was adopted by the CEPD’s regulatory reform committee, which pressed the case for it at a meeting with the MOI.
The CEPD represents the progressive mindset in the government, intent on opening Taiwan to the world and bringing it into line with international norms. The MOI represents conservative thinking in the government, intent on keeping things as much as possible as they are. The former has the backing of President Ma, but cannot always prevail, especially in matters such as this that aren’t being called for by powerful external voices (such as foreign chambers of commerce or governments) or by any significant constituency in Taiwan. My proposal lacked any such backing, hence the MOI felt able to reject it even though it could not come up with any but the most risible grounds for its opposition.
Here, for those who haven’t seen it before, is the English version of my proposal (which was presented to the MOI, with suitable adjustment, in Chinese):
Here are the MOI’s grounds for rejecting the change - their Chinese with my summarized English version and comments:
[quote] Those in charge at the MOI evidently don’t want bignoses becoming ROC citizens and assimilating into their society, and they know that this requirement will deter all but a tiny minority of us from applying for naturalization, so they want to keep it in place. As far as they’re concerned, it’s enough that they let us obtain the very minimal and shaky rights of so-called “permanent residency,” and there’s no compelling reason to offer anything more.
Here is their official response, which they say is consistent with the position they took on this issue when it was raised during interpellation in the Legislative Yuan:
As you can see, their arguments against the change include:
(1) Saudi Arabia requires naturalizing foreigners to renounce their original citizenship.
(2) Our national circumstances, historical backgound, and social resources make it inappropriate for us to give foreigners the same rights and benefits that we Taiwanese enjoy in their countries.
(3) Those other countries all have different laws on this, so how can we implement reciprocity? Yes, sure, we already do it for driving licences, real estate ownership, etc., etc., but it’s bloody mafan, would require a bit of Googling, and could possibly impinge on our tea drinking and other far more important activities, so we’re bloody well not going to saddle ourselves with any such burden unless we’re absolutely forced to.
(4) We already changed the law once, a mere ten years ago, to make an exception for people who cannot renounce their original citizenship. Fer Christ’s sake, isn’t that enough?
(5) We’re already being more than generous in offering permanent residency, and those bloody foreigners don’t even have to give up their foreign passports when we grant them this oh-so-fortunate status.
(6) Our country’s too densely populated already. If we allow bignoses who have already settled in our country to obtain local citizenship, we’ll be overrun by them and it’ll cause the country to collapse.
(7) How can we raise the quality of our citizens’ lives if we allow bignoses to naturalize without giving up their original citizenship?
Pretty compelling set of arguments, eh?
[url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/rumoured-changes-to-naturalization-legislation/57339/1 the thread in which we discussed this in 2010.[/url]
The new minister of the CEPD, Yiin Chii-ming, has said he believes Taiwan has fallen a long way behind its main economic rivals – South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong – in internationalization, deregulation and opening to the world. He believes that the government needs to place very high emphasis on rectifying this situation during Ma’s second term as president, and this will be one of his main goals as head of national development planning. He appears to have strong backing from Ma to achieve this, but many commentators still expect him to face great difficulty in obtaining the requisite cooperation from other Cabinet agencies. It will be vital for Taiwan’s competitiveness and future prospects that he makes good headway on this front. If he does seem to be getting good results, I may resurrect my proposal and try to win some support for it from other influential quarters, perhaps even having a tilt at gaining a sympathetic ear at the very top.