Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung official in spotlight over alleged citizenship

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday said it would complete an investigation within one week after it was alleged that a city official had dual nationality while serving in government.

The allegation, made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) City Councilor Lee Wen-liang (李文良), targeted Director-General of the Department of Civil Service Ethics Chang Ying-yuan (張英源).

During a question-and-­answer session at the Kaohsiung City Council on Wednesday, Lee said Chang may have had US citizenship during the time that he served in the Kaohsiung County Government and the Ministry of Justice, but did not present evidence to back his claim. Lee added that he obtained a US green card in 2002 and did not give it up until 2008.

The Nationality Act (國籍法) bars public officials from having dual nationality and obliges those who have foreign citizenship to give it up before assuming public office.

They must present documents proving they have given up their foreign nationality within one year of assuming public office.

The Act does not prohibit public servants from holding foreign residency, a question that has been the subject of debate.

A number of politicians, including former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee (李慶安), KMT Kaohsiung City councilor Huang Shao-ting (黃紹庭) and former Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator George Liu (劉寬平), have gotten into trouble as a result of having dual citizenship while serving in office.

Chang denied the allegation, saying he did not violate any law by holding a green card when he served in as a government official.

Lee questioned Chang’s motive for applying for a green card.

“Did you think that if something went wrong in Taiwan you could flee using your green card?” Lee asked.

“Holding foreign residency has nothing to do with whether a person has confidence in Taiwan or not,” Chang said.

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