Taiwan’s Dual Citizenship Hypocrisy

Last week my university held a meeting for all the full-time foreign faculty (all 11 of us) to discuss the law enacted last Dec. (2016) that makes it legal for certain super special specialist foreigners to obtain ROC citizenship without having to give up their original citizenship (the US takes a blind eye to dual citizens, to the great benefit of countless Taiwanese-Americans). The new law states that valuable foreign “professionals” (plus ‘valuable’ sports and culture workers, etc.) can obtain dual citizenship because Taiwan is a wonderful open society that welcomes foreigners, etc, etc. Actually it is anything but, but the country is experiencing a severe “brain drain” as salaries in China continue to rise and in many cases surpass those offered by miserly Taiwanese bosses and tech overlords.

Anyway, the meeting was convened by the Vice President, who informed us that the Uni supports us…BUT, he said, the vast majority of foreigners to have earned the great and awesome honor of becoming official dual citizens has, so far, actually been octogenarian Catholic nuns/priests and a handful of high level academics.  Not his exact words, but many have been rejected–for reasons unspecified–who are academics and long-term residents. One colleague suggested the problem is probably that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is just sending our (foreign professors’) materials on to the Ministry of the Interior (the granting agency) without any kind of explanation or recommendation. In other words, without any help or push from our actual official boss.

So the meeting was adjourned with the unintended result that some of us (me in particular) educators felt just that much less valued and respected than before. The government’s attitude is precisely “look, we welcome you valued professionals with open arms, but only if we can put your bio in the paper and make our government look good. If you aren’t famous enough, eh, well, piss off back to your own country.” What I find most annoying, nay, outright disgusting about this, is that the number of Taiwanese who hold foreign passports in MY country is probably in the 100s of thousands. They get to have their cake and eat it too, but they’re not about to extend that privilege to “foreigners” in their own country.

03/15/2018 Update: Taiwanease has a hard-hitting, excellent post from last year on the subject of dual citizenship hypocrisy.

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