Fri, Dec 12, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT legislator denies ongoing dual citizenship

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said yesterday that he once had US citizenship, but that he had renounced it in 2004.

Hsieh said he had US citizenship between 1994 and 2004, adding that he applied for it because he had to stay in the US to study for a long period of time.

“Then in July 2004, I was nominated by the People First Party to run as a legislator. So I renounced it in July by filling in the appropriate forms at the AIT [American Institute in Taiwan],” he said, showing reporters a brown envelope with the words “Here’s the [invalidation] document.”

But Hsieh, who chairs the legislature’s Judiciary, Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, declined to show reporters the document said to be inside the envelope.

“It doesn’t matter. Those who have it [US citizenship] have it and those who don’t have it, just don’t have it. It’s very simple,” he said.

Hsieh, who just returned to Taiwan after a trip to Washington to defend the government’s record, was approached for comment after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) confirmed on Wednesday that two current lawmakers might have been found to possess dual nationality following the US government’s release of citizenship data.

Dual nationals are barred from serving as Taiwanese government officials. Legislators who formerly held a foreign passport must present evidence of its nullification within a year of assuming office.

Wang declined to reveal the identity of the legislators, only saying that one used to study in the US. It remains unclear whether Hsieh was that person.

The legislature initiated the probe following allegations by the Democratic Progressive Party caucus that KMT Legislator Diane Lee’s (李慶安) US citizenship remain valid.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that it had received the investigation results from the US authorities, but that Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) and Wang would not divulge the contents.

In related news, the Presidential Office yesterday dismissed allegations that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was born in China’s Guangdong Province.

Showing a copy of Ma’s birth certificate, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that Ma was born in Hong Kong on July 13, 1950.

“Let’s put an end to this subject,” Wang said, urging the public to focus on improving the economy and increasing public spending than on “meaningless discussion” of the issue.

The spokesman said he could not comment on a document that was produced by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) that backed his allegation that Ma was born in Guangdong.

Wang also rejected the allegation that Ma received preferential treatment at his high school and in his university entrance examinations because of his status as an “overseas Chinese.”

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