What you need to know
Controversy surrounds Taiwanese legislator-at-large candidate Xu Chunying, with rumors circulating that she was a former Chinese Communist Party member.
Much controversy has erupted regarding the nationality and political affiliation of Xu Chunying, a potential legislator-at-large candidate for the opposition Taiwan People’s Party (TPP). Although Xu has publicly denied her affiliation with the CCP and provided evidence of her Taiwan identification card on Sunday, it can only be confirmed that she has renounced her “household registration” in China. Whether or not she still holds “Chinese nationality”, awaits further evidence for verification.
Xu, who was born in China and currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Taiwan New Immigrant Development Association, is being considered for inclusion in the TPP’s list of legislators-at-large.
However, there have been rumors that Xu previously served as a Chinese government cadre and is a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These rumors were accelerated by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate and Vice President Lai Ching-te’s referral to her as a “CCP member.”
On Sunday, Xu held a press conference to publicly deny the allegations of being a CCP member. She showcased her Taiwanese identification card and passport, claiming that she renounced her mainland Chinese household registration and obtained her Taiwanese identification card in 2000. She asserted that, as an officially recognized citizen of the Republic of China for 23 years, she should enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship in Taiwan.
The head of the National Security Bureau (NSB) and Deputy Foreign Minister, Tsai Ming-yen, appeared in the Legislative Yuan on Monday (6th) to answer questions raised by legislators. In response to DPP legislator Ho Chih-wei’s suspicion about whether Xu is a legitimate candidate for public office, Tsai said that when mainland Chinese spouses apply for Taiwanese identification cards, they only need to renounce their “household registration” in China.
As for their “nationality,” it is to be determined by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) regarding whether they have renounced it or not, and it requires the individual to provide evidence for verification - if they are to become public officials in Taiwan.
Prior to speaking in the Legislative Yuan, Tsai also told the press that the NSB respects the legitimate activities of mainland Chinese spouses in Taiwan. However, if there is evidence of “long-term cooperation with mainland China's united front activities, participation in politically motivated exchanges, or receiving instructions or funding from the mainland for organizing activities in Taiwan,” it is considered “a delinquent behavior.” If concrete evidence is found, the NSB will refer the case to the judicial authorities for investigation.
When questioned directly on whether Xu is a member of the CCP, Tsai stated that he cannot comment on individual cases as “it may expose sources and identities of intelligence agents.”
MAC Chairperson Chiu Tai-san, in a recent interview on Mirror TV, stated that, in accordance with the Nationality Act and the Civil Service Employment Act, a certificate of renunciation of nationality must be issued to serve as a legislator or other elected representative.
According to Article 10 of the Nationality Act, foreigners or stateless persons who have been naturalized can only serve as legislators or in other public offices after 10 years from the date of naturalization. For ROC nationals who also possess foreign nationality, they must renounce their foreign nationality before assuming public office, and this should be completed within one year from the date of taking office.
Huang Di-ying, a Taiwanese lawyer, wrote an editorial in The Taipei Times commenting on Xu's nationality controversy. He cited two related laws in relation to her circumstances.
First, in accordance with Article 21 of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, individuals from the Mainland Area must have a household registration for at least 10 years to run for public office in Taiwan. Xu, a China-born spouse, is subject to this requirement.
Secondly, he also stated that according to Article 20 of the Nationality Act, “A national of the ROC who acquires the nationality of another country has no right to hold government offices of the ROC,” which means that dual nationality is prohibited if Xu is to take a seat in public office in Taiwan, even if she has had household registration in Taiwan for more than 10 years.
Huang criticized that Xu has failed to show a “certificate of loss of nationality” from China, while independent presidential candidate Terry Gou's running mate, Tammy Lai, has already confirmed that she has received her “certificate of loss of nationality” from the United States.
“If Xu wants to become a legislator-at-large, she must issue a certificate of loss of Chinese nationality first,” writes Huang.
TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)
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