Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) yesterday said that Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) never gave up his US citizenship.
Kuan told the legislature that Huang obtained a US green card as a dependent on March 15, 1988, and took an oath to become a US citizen on Feb. 15, 1994.
Huang filed a missing passport report after he used his US passport for the first time; and he did not tell the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) — in the postscript column of a visa application form — that he wanted to give up his US citizenship because he had to assume public office until he applied for a visitor’s visa on April 7, 2008, Kuan said.
However, Huang never went to AIT to complete the process to give up his US nationality, she said.
Huang served as a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator between 2002 and Oct. 15 last year. He resigned his legislative post and was elected Taitung County commissioner on Dec. 5.
The Nationality Act (國籍法) bars public officials from holding dual nationality and obliges those who have foreign citizenship to give it up before assuming public office. They must present documents proving that they have given up their foreign nationality within one year of assuming public office.
Should the allegations prove true, Huang could be the latest politician to get into trouble for having retained US citizen during their term of public office.
Former KMT legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) was sentenced to two years in prison on fraud and forgery charges in her dual nationality case on Feb. 4. The ruling is not final.
KMT Kaohsiung City councilor Huang Shao-ting’s (黃紹庭) elected status was annulled by the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Sept. 25 because Huang held US citizenship. The CEC gave the same punishment to former Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator George Liu (劉寬平) for holding US nationality during his term between. Feb 1, 2005, and Oct 15, 2007.
“Why is the dual citizenship controversy never ending? Isn’t this a serious matter?” Kuan asked Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
Wu told Kuan he was saddened by the allegation and said he would investigate the matter.
In a telephone interview with SET-TV yesterday afternoon, Kuan said she obtained the information from a source in the US, adding that it was the same person who provided her with information about Lee and others.
Kuan said that although she wondered why the source provided her such information every time the KMT administration and China became too close to each other, the information from the source had so far always turned out to be true.
“Huang should be immediately investigated by prosecutors and the CEC,” she said.
Huang told a press conference in Taitung that he gave up his US citizenship in January 1996 after deciding to run for public office.
Meanwhile, Kuan accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of malfeasance after the term “Taiwanese” was not listed as a category in the US Census this year. She said US Department of Commerce officials told Taiwan’s representative office in Seattle that the department could include “Taiwanese” as a category, but somehow it never happened.
“[The ministry] must have compromised after the policy angered China,” Kuan said.
In previous censuses, overseas compatriots could write “Taiwanese” on the form, but not every state allows the practice, Kuan said, adding that only 140,000 people who identified themselves as “Taiwanese” were given recognition.