Who is Richard Hartzell?

It’s a different guy, strange coincidence though!

Richard Hartzell, if you mean the Richard Hartzell of Empathy (something like that), an advisory service for foreigners, and writer of Harmony In Conflict, was a very well known individual who tried hard to win rights for foreigners with considerable success.

Some where down the line he had personal issues I will not go into, except it had a decided effect on his ability to conduct business at the time. We are talking about over a decade ago.

I never saw him not give out quality advice in how to negotiate the bureaucratic mazes, though. An associate had troubles in 2006 and it was suggested to do an introductory talk but go no further. He did this and got back to me that the talk was worth it. However it was added my misgivings were very much on the mark, not to go into any more detail.

Back in 2000 or so I had one of the more famous foreigners in Taiwan meet him. Just like everyone, the assessment was of brilliance cast adrift by the situation in Taiwan. Maybe he cared too much for those he helped or the bureaucratic situations got to him. I heard the same of others, but none so high level as Hartzell. In a way, he was deeply respected by the local Taiwanese themselves and knew how to punch buttons that apparently were not wanted to be pushed.

Read his https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4780604-harmony-in-conflict . Honor if not celebrate the man. Beyond that and the above, no comment. As yet another person said to me, the book tells (circa 1997, so might be dated as cultures change) you about all you need to survive on the island – without a speck of racism. Such a combination is not easy to do. Oddly Richard told me on several occasions over the years to diminish that praise, as if ‘little ole me’ in too strong a fashion where he really thinks that. Regardless, he is/was a brilliant man, and we have his book.

I am sure he helped many people in person and most certainly did on a larger scale.

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Never mind Richard Hartzell, who is John Galt? :laughing:

I remember Richard Hartzell had numerous posts on this forum over 10 years ago about Taiwan belonging to the United States of America. Here is one old link among several. I wonder if he still thinks this has a realistic chance of happening.

The high school principal at Taipei American School is also named Richard Hartzell. Same guy or coincidence?

Coincidence. Although they both apparently went to college at (different) Ivy League schools at around the same time.

Anybody know where I could get this paperback?

I’m not sure if this is the kind of thing you’re looking for, and some of these may be hardcover.

Most of the displays I’ve seen refer only to a “Volume 1,” but I’m not sure whether there are actually two volumes.

I think AbeBooks is offering the same copies on different websites:



Again, I’m pretty sure that Biblio is offering the same copies on different websites:



There seems to be a copy available at the Lixing (力行) Branch of the Taipei Public Library (https://goo.gl/maps/vox8S6okvfy):


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Oh yeah, this was all tied to the idea that the wording of certain treaties and documents could be read to claim that Taiwan and Penghu were never ceded back to the ROC, and in fact remain in the possession of the US. Whether it is true or not is open to discussion. It is important to note that treaties, regardless of wording, are only valid to those willing to recognize or enforce them. At this stage, no one seems interested in going down that road vis a vis who has rightful claim to TW, et al.

A search of the Google, from a number of years ago, produced some obscure results, namely from a book from or about SecState Dulles claiming that the status of Taiwan was purposely left “unresolved” and a memo from a Nixon aide re-enforced the notion that US policy was that Taiwan status was “undetermined” and is still, kind of, policy to this day. While the US “officially” (with fingers crossed) operates under a “one China” policy, it just has the feeling that all involved want the “Taiwan question” to just kind of go away on its own.

There was a court case that got tossed in 2008 concerning the citizenship of Taiwanese (ROC or US). It got tossed because the court felt it did not have standing and the relevant issue was a “political question” for congress to deal with.

So the issue has never been outright denied, nor has it ever been confirmed and I do not think it ever will be.

The status of Taiwan may be “unresolved” in the eyes of the US government, but that does not mean that this is one of the choices for resolving it. In fact Hartzell and a comrade, Roger Lin, litigated the question of “Does a Taiwan person have the right to a US passport?” in a US court, with predictable results, the only uncertainty being the precise grounds on which the court would side with the government.

Maybe I did not come to Taipei for a consultation. Maybe I and the many other foreigners took advantage of you. I lived in southern Taiwan and was not rich. I admit I’m a cheap bastard
You’ve helped me with posts on this bulletin board where you were the legal moderator or though form letters allowing me to appeal certain decisions or rule impasses.
Throughout each crises be it Visas, Residency Permits, Employment rights, driver’s licenses, work permits my children’s Taiwanese citizenship you were there. And the rights came into existence when I was in a crisis often at the zero hour.
Each new right you helped fight for was done in order to make “the family” stronger. You supported the working man.
Now, after being rejected so many times, citizenship, the thing your tried so hard to get us is finally being granted.
But now, too who, the poor stay at home dad who took the kids to school and took care of them when they were sick? The teacher who has to work part time to take care of his family?
No. They are giving it to basketball players, Indian TV hosts. OK ministers and missionaries should get the citizenship card first but next should come people married to or were married to Taiwanese, especially those who have children.
We have been totally forgotten in this latest move.
What can we do? We need help! Why didn’t you groom a successor?
Why did you leave us. If we have a chance, would you come back and lead us again. Maybe we can create a fund to help compensate you for your efforts.
We are so close to citizenship without being forced to give up our nationalities. Please come back.


He is a trail blazer in several areas in Taiwan — making English texts more relevant, making immigration laws easier, and making new Taiwan nation better legalized.

He has made complicated things simple. Therefore, he is intentionally forgotten by whoever wants to keep simple things complicated.


And whom is behind this conspiracy to keep things complicated? One of us? Things are now more complicated than ever.

  1. He came on hand we got: Joining spouse visas (family), Extended visas for spouses (family). Longer drivers licensesfor all foreigners but mostly for (family). Congratulations foreign dad. You kid is now Taiwanese (Family). etc… open work permits, I think first for family then extended to others. Then permanent residency mostly for family as well. And finally … Citizenship! For Basketball Players and Indian Television Stars? Huh… What happened. I missed something.
    When did Hartzel “leave the building” so to speak. He must have shared a desk or at least staff meetings with ,many of the moderators here. He was a founding member. …
    Was he frustrated with us? I also used to travel 50 KM by bus to go to the library to follow Hartzell’s Weekly Column. OK… to buy books for my students but yes, mostly to read his articles. All were gems about Taiwan life in a nice sarcastic mood.

Anyway, by the time I got my work permit and permanent residency I was pretty much beaten up and chew up by my boss.
With family helped me start an English Classroom and I was busy basically teaching my kids and their friends. I dropped out of the rights thing because, I thought I had all the rights I needed. Now the kids are older and my classroom space has to be given back to the family and we turned in our permits.
But now, I’d like to do some things and I found that not being a citizen adds personal roadblocks and also puts a little extra expense trouble for the family.
I don’t quite get the pathway to citizenship. I think because of my choices. Stay at home dad and officially a very small business man now unemployed, the path to citizenship is excluded from me.

Richard Hartzell represented me before the Tax Administration when I was being harassed by the duo going after all the freelance translators back in 2002, in which matter this site (then Oriented.com, I think) was instrumental as well. The matter “went away”.


I don’t get this part. Many westerners complain they cannot get citizenship, but they can. They just don’t want to lose their original citizenship.

I noticed the link I posted (in the quote immediately above) to the description of the library copy of Richard Hartzell’s book Harmony in Conflict: Active Adaptation to Life in Present-Day Chinese Society, is not working (I mistakenly believed the link would be permanent). I’m posting another link, bearing in mind that it might not work either:


If the link immediately above doesn’t work, there’s the library search function (hopefully this link will work):


Using the library’s regular search function, I was able to get the library’s information on the book by merely typing the words harmony in conflict in the search box.

Which is a bit like you can get a wife here but you have to sacrifice your kids that you cherish.

But other folks don’t need to give up their kids that they cherish.

Its bullshit. What do you understand about people complaining about this?

Also, you still need to jump through some hoops EVEN if you can give up your original citizenship .


I’m not sure I’m understanding your post. Are you comparing original citizenships to kids?

For extraordinary people, any country makes exceptions. I don’t this its bullshit.

If you are a spouse of a citizen, the hoops you have to jump through to get a citizenship are not much hard in Taiwan.

Yeah it’s complete bullshit I don’t know of any other country in the world which has this policy (local born get to collect multiple passports, new immigrants must abandon their original ).

Its the legislators being pig headed most locals have no clue how it all operates.

Dont need to lecture me about it I know the whole process better than anybody and what is asked in terms of sacrifice.

It is a massive deal to ask people to give up citizenship of their home country especially of one that they maintain close ties with , where their family is based and has a passport that allows one to work and live and enjoy benefits in that economic and political area.

It is NOT a mere inconvenience . It is a huge sacrifice. It is also quite risky given the increasingly threatening Chinese. That is a fact. You may end up becoming PRC Chinese. Your family may all become Chinese citizens by force.

Also during the interim period and after you give up your citizenship you must still reside in Taiwan for a further and restrictive set period of time (no matter if you lived here 20 years already ) meanwhile they issue you with an interim ‘passport’ which you cannot use to travel to 90% of countries worldwide . In my case this has created an impossible situation as I cannot do this for work. (Cannot stay on Taiwan for long periods , cannot travel with the shitty interim passport for work). So FURTHER bullshit.


The bottom line is that it is not as simple as giving up the citizenship. If you are married and the Taiwanese family does not help, you are officially screwed.

In particular, the new handing in of ROC passports to religious people inches from meeting their boss and people who we cannot guess why they were expedited is mainly political carp. The procedures are obscure even to each agency -I know, I have asked- and no one dares to ask. The rest of us can’t access this option Instead of a highway we have a mafia controlled back alley. And the government is patting itself in the back while knocking the lights out. It ain’t right.

We have people here 20, 30 maybe 40 years. Born and raised in Taiwan, By reciprocity alone, it could be allowed. Given the danger of being absorbed by China and the sheer amounts of Taiwanese who have foreign passports, aside from «because we say so», what Friggin reason do they have to make this unattainable? Or rather, hold it in their pocket like candy in from of starving children, waiting just for the photo op?