Thu, Nov 13, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Sean Lien’s wife giving up Canadian citizenship

NEXT STORY:Sean Lien said he felt bad that his wife’s nationality has been dragged into the election and that she has to make a sacrifice for his political career

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporters

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien, left, accompanied by his wife, Patty Tsai, talks to reporters before his televised debate with independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je on Friday last week.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) wife, Patty Tsai (蔡依珊), is in the process of renouncing her Canadian citizenship, according to a statement from the Taipei law firm LCS & Partners.

Tsai signed a contract with the law firm on April 23 authorizing it to contact Canadian attorneys about Canada’s regulations relating to the renounciation of citizenship, the statement said.

The relevant procedures are under way, the firm said.

Attorney Lin Ching-fe (林進富) said in the statement that the processing of Tsai’s application was not complete.

Lien’s campaign office issued the statement on behalf of the firm in response to a report in the latest edition of the Chinese-language weekly, Next Magazine that said it had received a tip from a person at an airline that Tsai presented a Canadian passport while transiting through Hong Kong last year, as did the couple’s two children.

Asked to verify the report yesterday, Lien said he felt sorry that his wife had to give up her Canadian citizenship because of his political career.

“She did not have to do this. She is not running in the election. I really appreciate that she is willing to make a sacrifice because of the need to accommodate the sentiment [against politicians holding dual citizenship] in Taiwan’s electoral culture. I feel sad in my heart and really sorry,” Lien said.

“I am the one running for election. What is important is that I have never acquired a foreign nationality by applying for one,” he said.

Lien won the KMT mayoral primary on April 19.

Under the Nationality Act (國籍法), Taiwanese may hold dual citizenships, but those holding public office must surrender their foreign citizenship.

Dual nationality has been a sensitive topic in recent years, with some people saying that public servants or elected officials holding dual citizenship could undercut their allegiance to this nation.

Tsai, daughter of the owner of Shanghai Shanghai (紅豆食府), a famous restaurant in Taiwan, immigrated to Canada with her family when she was 14 and eventually obtained citizenship, Lien said.

Next Magazine said Lien could gain Canadian citizenship as Tsai’s spouse if Tsai continued to hold Canadian nationality.

However, the Canadian government’s Web site states that marriage to a Canadian citizen does not provide their spouse with citizenship.

If a Canadian’s spouse wants to acquire Canadian citizenship, they must follow the same steps as any other applicant.

In related news, independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said his father had once applied for a US green card for him. However, Ko said he had given the green card up years ago.

“My uncles left Taiwan to live in the US because of the 228 Massacre. My father was the only one among his siblings to stay in Taiwan,” the physician-turned-candidate said. “At the time, my father had a green card, and he applied for one for me, thinking it would be better for me to move to the US later on.”

However, after he graduated from National Taiwan University’s medical school, he decided he did not want a green card, Ko said.

“I told my father that I wanted to become a doctor in Taiwan, not in the US, so I went to the American Institute in Taiwan to fill out forms to give up the green card myself,” Ko said.

Asked about the Next Magazine story about Tsai’s Canadian citizenship, Ko said it was not a big deal since Tsai lived in Canada for a long time. Election laws do not prohibit a candidate’s spouse from having foreign citizenship, he said.

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