Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 8 News List


Facilitate immigration

Citizens from many countries live long-term in Taiwan. They have chosen to live their lives here in Taiwan, not in their country of birth or another country they have visited, but in Taiwan. They have families, loved ones, homes, work and friends — all in Taiwan.

However, despite their commitment to and entwinement with Taiwan, very few choose to become citizens.

Why? Probably because of the government’s prerequisite that adoption of citizenship necessitates the renunciation of any other citizenships the applicant might have. This requirement, apart from its obvious discriminatory nature — quite a few Taiwanese have dual citizenship — is, more importantly, counterproductive to the needs of Taiwan in these modern times.

To state the case bluntly, the national security of Taiwan would be significantly bolstered if Taiwan was to enable dual citizenship for foreigners who have lived long-term in Taiwan.

This is not a new precedent. Dual citizenship is already offered by the government to foreign residents who are deemed to have made spectacular contributions to Taiwanese society or are mildly famous sports people.

This possibility needs to be extended, with residence duration prerequisites, to all foreigners residing in Taiwan.

Why? To again state the case bluntly, the political relationship between Taiwan and China is complex and a free Taiwan appears not to be a gesture likely to be bestowed willingly by the regime ruling Taiwan’s big neighbor.

In the terrible event that the bellicose words of China be implemented as physical aggression, pragmatism and economic rationalism will determine that, irrespective of what is currently almost said, no country will come to the aid of Taiwan under siege. No country will intervene in what will be advertised to the outside world as an internal dispute between Chinese peoples.

However, should Taiwanese include a larger group of foreign nationals holding dual citizenship, any incursion would clearly not be an internal dispute between Chinese peoples, but an act of aggression against the citizens of many countries.

This is not a panacea for peace, but a strategy to ensure the internationalization of any conflict and buy time for diplomacy. Taiwan still spends money ineffectively buying the fair-weather friendship of poor, Third World countries.

Surely it is more efficient use of money to expand the existing opportunities for dual citizenship and let the real friends of Taiwan, those who actually live in Taiwan, do a little in return for Taiwanese hospitality.

Peter Osborne


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