The right to a nationality
The people of Taiwan have the right to choose their nationality. This is the case even if Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would, through his economic policy, make Taiwan a province of China.
In the Treaty of Shimonoseki, signed in 1895 at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, China and Japan gave each inhabitant of Taiwan the right to choose his or her nationality after China ceded the island to Japan.
Another precedent is the 1898 Treaty of Paris that concluded the Spanish-American War, under which the US and Spain gave every resident of the Philippines the right to choose his or her nationality.
The Taiwan Relations Act, which defines the relationship between Taiwan and the US, covers the whole population.
The Shanghai Communique’s “one China” policy, regardless of the different interpretations in China and the US, referred only to the “Chinese” people on both sides of the Strait. On Taiwan’s side, the Mainlanders are a minority. What about the majority?
This right to have a nationality is guaranteed by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
If Ma were to bring Taiwan under Chinese administration against the will of the majority, every citizen could oppose him based on this universal right.
The only way to solve the Taiwan problem without violating the UDHR is to give those people in Taiwan who wish to become Chinese citizens the right to leave Taiwan and become Chinese. Many of them have already moved their financial resources and their family members to China. Besides, most of the people in this group came to Taiwan for temporary refuge after 1949 and were Chinese in the first place.
Those who do not wish to become Chinese citizens — even if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party governments sign any secret pacts — should remain citizens of Taiwan.
For Taiwanese, the right to their nationality as guaranteed by the UDHR has been ignored for too long and needs urgent international attention.
Improving higher education
It is great news that National Taiwan University (NTU) was ranked 95th in the world in the 2009 World University Rankings released by the Times of London.
With NTU on the list of the world’s top 100 universities, the Ministry of Education has formulated its next goal to help other institutions of higher learning reach the top 100 in various academic fields (“Ministry to help universities make top 100,” Oct. 13, page 2).
Responding to NTU’s accomplishment, the ministry will continue to provide its annual NT$10 billion funding, which was initiated in 2005. It is encouraging that Minister of Education Wu Ching-chi (吳清基) has committed to the second stage of the university-boosting project, which will begin in the 2011 academic year.
From the perspective of “human capacity building” or “human resources development,” promoted globally by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, APEC, UNESCO, the World Bank and other international organizations, it is enlightening to see our government injecting significant funding into higher education.
However, there are concerns about the quality of our higher education. Evidence such as Taiwan’s declining competitiveness in higher education and its slumping performance in English as manifested in scores on TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS deserve serious consideration.
While sufficient funding is essential, promoting quality teaching, research and student advising should be the priority for advancing our higher education.
Our government should pursue innovative and pragmatic educational policies to empower university students to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In the meantime, higher education policies and strategies for recruiting international students and celebrated academics must be considered.
Yonghe, Taipei County
The National Immigration Agency on Monday confirmed that the majority of foreign residents in Taiwan would once again be excluded from the government’s stimulus voucher program. The NT$5,000 Quintuple Stimulus Voucher would be available to 140,000 foreign spouses of Taiwanese and 16,000 Alien Permanent Resident Certificate holders, but about 870,000 Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) holders would be excluded from the program, regardless of whether they pay taxes. The government has not offered any explanation, but some have speculated that the intention is to prevent migrant workers from receiving the vouchers. Many migrant workers are from Southeast Asian countries and work as
Within the span of a generation, a new super-rich class emerges from a society in which millions of rural migrants toiled away in factories for a pittance. Bribery becomes the most common mode of influence in politics. Opportunists speculate recklessly in land and real estate. Financial risks simmer as local governments borrow to finance railways and other large infrastructure projects. All of this is happening in the world’s most promising emerging market and rising global power. No, this is not a description of contemporary China, but rather of the US during the Gilded Age, from about 1870 to 1900. This
I first met Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in 1999, when I was Acting Director of AIT, as Darryl Johnson had just left and Ray Burghardt had not yet arrived. She was a young aide for then-President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). President Lee just had enunciated a new theory, which came to be known as the “state-to-state” principle, in an interview with a German newspaper. Beijing had predictably gone berserk and was trying to get Washington to come down heavily on President Lee. In the midst of all this, Tsai and I met to discuss the situation. I took a liking to this
It might have been an inelegantly, even ineptly, executed pivot, gratuitously alienating key allies, but by leaving Afghanistan and forming a security pact with Australia and the UK in the Indo-Pacific, US President Joe Biden has at least cleared the decks to focus on his great foreign policy challenge — the systemic rivalry with China. Yet the concern now is how quickly this rivalry could escalate, especially regarding Taiwan. The linchpin of the US alliance system in south-east Asia, Taiwan is the biggest island in the first island chain, the group of islands that keeps China blocked in. It is China’s