Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Mislabeled identity issues continue for Taiwanese

HELPLESS:Taiwanese have complained about being labeled ‘Chinese’ in Norway and South Korea, but the government has been unable to rectify the situation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Being seen within the international community as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China is a curse that continues to haunt Taiwanese travelers.

In an article published in the op-ed page of the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday, Taiwanese student Lu Yu-ta (呂昱達) said he had tried for more than a month to have his nationality on his Norwegian residency card changed, but his attempts were in vain.

That “made me ache,” he said.

Identifying himself as a student at the University of Oslo, Lu said he had spoken to police and immigration authorities in Norway about the designation of his nationality — “Kina[China]-Taiwan” — on the card.

Lu said he was told that they could not help him because Norway did not recognize Taiwan as a country and that they had to follow the rules, although they understood how he felt about it.

The response was not surprising, Lu said.

“Although we are granted visa-free access to 140 countries, it’s sad that the suffering of not being recognized as citizens of an independent country persists,” he added.

Lu said that the only thing he was able to do was hang a national flag in front of his window “to ease a feeling of helplessness a bit.”

Zhang Ming-zhong (張銘忠), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of European Affairs director-general, said by telephone yesterday that the ministry had been in talks with the Norwegian government over the issue since April this year after the ministry learned of similar cases.

The response received from Norway was that the rules were an adherence to the “one China” policy, Zhang said.

One reason Norway has failed to respond positively could be that it did not want to further complicate its relationship with China, he said.

Relations between Norway and China have been frosty since the Oslo-based Nobel committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) in 2010.

In another case, the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Tuesday reported that it had received complaints from netizens that their nationality was classified under “China (Taiwan)” on residency certificates.

The Apple Daily quoted the netizens as reporting that a few years ago, South Korea classified Taiwanese as coming from “Taiwan” for their nationality, but that “China” was added in the nationality column as a note.

However, in recent years, South Korea has listed Taiwanese as coming from “China (Taiwan).”

Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs director-general Benjamin Ho (何登煌) told the Chinese-language Apple Daily in an interview on Tuesday that South Korea remained staunch in its position on the matter, despite the ministry taking up the issue several times over the years.

Ho yesterday declined to make further comments.

Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday that the government has lodged “a solemn protest” over the issue to the South Korean government.

The ministry will continue to make every effort possible to demand inappropriate designations of the nation are corrected, Kao said.

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