The legislature yesterday approved two proposals to probe the nationality of all lawmakers and government officials, following recent queries by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Diane Lee's (李慶安) US citizenship status.
The legislature resolved that information on all legislators should be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) within a week after the next plenary session ends on June 3, while allowing government agencies to submit information on all public officials within three months from June 3.
However, any legislator can also propose a reconsideration of the bill before June 3.
The proposals — one by the DPP to investigate all legislators and the other by the KMT to include all public officials — were passed after a brief closed-door negotiation session between the DPP and the KMT caucuses yesterday morning.
The two initiatives were proposed in March after the Chinese-language Next Magazine accused Lee of having US citizenship, a claim that she denied.
The KMT proposal was put forward to counteract the DPP’s initiative.
Both proposals were put forward for further cross-party negotiation in March, but the DPP caucus successfully added the two initiatives to yesterday’s plenary agenda.
Article 20 of the Nationality Act (國籍法) prohibits anyone with foreign citizenship from holding a government position.
Any lawmaker or government official found to have dual citizenship would be relieved of his or her job and forced to return his or her salary.
Lee has said she obtained permanent residency in the US in 1985 and citizenship in 1991, but gave up her US citizenship after becoming a public official.
She has also cited Section 349(A)(4) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, saying that she had lost her citizenship when she began to serve as a public official and took an oath of allegiance in relation to the job.
If Lee were found to be a US citizen, she would be required to give back all the salary she received as a Taipei City councilor between 1994 and 1998 and as a legislator since 1998, an amount estimated to be NT$100 million (US$3.29 million).
When approached by reporters yesterday, she declined to comment on the matter further.
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said the party believed all government personnel should be investigated.
He did not comment when asked on his way to the KMT caucus meeting if he still believed Lee.
MOFA said yesterday it had not received any official instructions from the Legislative Yuan to undertake responsibility for verifying the nationality of legislators.
However, the ministry hinted that the task would be daunting because “there are close to 200 countries in the world, each with their own set of immigration laws.”
MOFA spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said that the ministry’s previous experience on seeking assistance from the US, the UK and Japan on verifying whether the presidential and vice presidential candidates possessed dual nationality showed that many nations require the consent of the individual before any investigation could take place regarding their status.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to