This is my home, too
After reading a number of letters over the past few weeks narrating issues other foreign residents have had living in Taiwan, I feel it is important to share my own experiences, as personal stories are important in the ongoing discussion over laws governing immigration in Taiwan.
I have been relatively lucky: I came to Taiwan as an English teacher, one of the only jobs available to people like me. Unlike many such teachers, my goal was not to ultimately pursue a different career, instead I have since improved my qualifications and experience to do so at a professional level.
However, having celebrated my 10-year “Taiwanniversary” as a permanent resident, I have reached an impasse.
I would like to stay in Taiwan, likely forever. However, unless I can reasonably obtain citizenship it is not a viable option.
Under current laws, in order to become a citizen I must give up my original citizenship. This is unacceptable: I have aging family members in my country of origin whom I might have to return to care for indefinitely before eventually returning to Taiwan. The few months I would be able to stay as a Republic of China passport holder might not be enough. I would need work rights in my country of origin in order to support myself. In short, I must retain my citizenship.
Furthermore, it is not a restriction Taiwanese face when applying for dual nationality. They might have another passport, but under the law we may not. This is an unfair and frankly an unacceptable double standard.
Without citizenship, I cannot stay permanently, even as a “permanent resident.” We have the legal right to buy property, but would be hard-pressed to find a bank that would give us a mortgage (I am married, but not to a Taiwanese) and yet landlords balk at renting to the elderly. It is difficult to even obtain a credit card. As we age, social services available to citizens will not be available to us. Finally, I have no political representation: no right to vote, no right to organize a protest.
I work, I pay taxes and I contribute positively to a society that says it wants my contribution. What happens here affects me. This is my home, too.
I am not even a second-class citizen in the nation I call home — I am not a citizen at all, welcome to stay, but never fully allowed to participate. To be fair, my own country restricts immigration, but reasonable paths to citizenship are available. This is not true in Taiwan, which I feel is a mark against its otherwise progressive and admirable civil society.
Considering this, listening to prominent Taiwanese discuss attracting foreign talent and engaging with the rest of the world, all I can think is this: until Taiwan makes it possible for “foreign talent” who want to settle here as full participants in society to do so, those words are hollow indeed.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
As Taiwan is engulfed in worries about Chinese infiltration, news reports have revealed that power inverters made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co are used in the solar panels on the top of the Legislative Yuan’s Zhenjiang House (鎮江會館) on Zhenjiang Street in Taipei. However, what is even more worrying is that Taiwan’s new national electronic identification card (eID) has been subcontracted to the French security firm and eID maker Idemia, which has not only cooperated with the Chinese Public Security Bureau to manufacture eIDs in China, but also makes the new identification cards being issued in Hong Kong. There might be more
All lives eventually come to an end. Over the years, my friendship with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had its ups and downs. Lee’s passing was a heavy blow and has left me deeply saddened. We experienced a lot together and the memories have come flooding back. Lee was born several months earlier than me. During World War II, he was studying at Kyoto Imperial University, but halfway through his studies, he was forced to change his name and enter military service. I was studying at Tokyo Imperial University, but went into hiding to avoid military service, and I was later