Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Legislators question Academia Sinica president's loyalty

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

A group of opposition and independent legislators questioned yesterday the appropriateness of the dual citizenship of Academica Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠).

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) said that Wong, a US-trained scientist, holds both Republic of China (ROC) and US citizenship, which he claimed could place Wong, now the head of top research institute, in a dilemma if Taiwan's national interests conflicted with those of the US.

Responding to Chiang's remarks in a meeting of the Legislature's Sci-Tech and Information Committee, Wong said that as the head of Academia Sinica, he would be completely devoted to the nation, adding that he had already given up his career in the US prior to returning to Taiwan.

Furthermore, he said that the recently passed Nationality Act (國籍法) allows personnel at academic research organizations to hold dual citizenship.

Wong said that allowing academic researchers to hold dual citizenship can only benefit the progress and development of academic research in Taiwan.

The Presidential Office also defended Wong, saying that it is legal for political appointees to have dual citizenship and that professionalism was more important than nationality.

"The appointment of Acade-mia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey is legal," Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said.

Lee said that as Wong is a prominent biochemist and his job description does not involve matters of national secrecy, it was inappropriate to use Wong's dual nationality as a pretext to prevent such an outstanding talent from serving the country.

Lee said that while Article 20 of the Nationality Act states that citizens of the ROC who have obtained nationality from a foreign country cannot assume public positions, there are exceptions.

Lee said that Wong should be considered an exception.

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