Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vietnamese Woman Rendered Stateless in cruel, hypocritical, racist act

The Taiwan government renders a Vietnamese woman stateless for the crime of having an extramarital affair. This move, so obviously racist in every way... well, no need to comment further. FrozenGarlic describes:
A few days ago, the media gave a tiny bit of coverage to the case of Wu Tsui-heng (武翠姮). Wu, who is originally from Vietnam, came to Taiwan in 2005 for work, married a Taiwanese man in 2006, got ROC citizenship in 2010, and gave up her Vietnamese citizenship. She had an extramarital affair, and her husband divorced her in 2011. This week the government notified her that it was cancelling her citizenship because her extramarital affair violated the requirements for morality as stated in the Nationality Law. It also cancelled the citizenship of her two young daughters. Since the two daughters are in Vietnam and Wu is in Taiwan and none of them have valid passports, they are forcibly separated.
FrozenGarlic's whole post is excellent and moving.

J Michael Cole observed:
Of course, Taiwan’s race-based concept of citizenship means that the requirements for “good morals” do not apply to ROC citizens. After all, the philandering — pardon, “good morals” — of Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源), the man who heads the very ministry that is threatening to strip the woman of her citizenship, is very well known to the public.
The race-based concept of citizenship here is one reason, as FrozenGarlic observes, that so many of us don't get citizenship here. I would sure like a list of all the Overseas Chinese who have obtained citizenship here and gone on to have affairs within the five-year period, yet never been stripped of their citizenship. It surely must be an extensive list...

Because the law requires that people must give up their citizenship to become an ROC citizen and that they must do it prior to taking out citizenship here, several people have been rendered stateless by the ROC government when it changed its mind during the citizenship process (for example).

Taipei Times editorialized on it today.
_______________________
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

30 comments:

Michael Turton said...

Seven comments, anon, and all abusive? It must suck to be you.

Jenna Cody said...

Along with cruel, hypocritical and racist, you forgot sexist and chauvinistic. It's those things too.

Michael Turton said...

Wanted to bring that in for another post on the topic.

Anonymous said...

This is a topic that touches all "foreigners" in Taiwan. Too often I hear foreigners act as apologists for the subtle racism that exists in Taiwan, which is never officially addressed or acknowledged. Racism is what it is. No matter how subtle or indirect, it is tolerated, accepted, and often promulgated by the state.

This should be of no surprise as the ROC is founded on a bed of racialism and racism, when the early Republicans used 19th century concepts of race and social darwinism to delegitimate the "racially impure" Manchus and their Qing empire.

Many of those racial constructs were used to buttress the early ROC in an attempt to attract the support of anti-Manchu secret societies. Much of the dicta that informed the ROC constitution comes from the purpose of uniting the disparate peoples of a far flung empire into an imagined "Yellow/Chinese Race". This is where we get the myth that 98% of Chinese are Han. Being Han simply meant having never been categorized as something "other". Later, under the quasi-fascist construct of the ROC's strong centralization project in the 1930's , the state defined Han culture and customs in a bid for ethnic, state-centered uniformity.

These myths have survived in Taiwan; carried by the political elites and propagated through the citizen's contact with the state. Education plays a major part in how ideas of race and racial superiority are constructed in Taiwan.

Ma Ying-jiu regularly appeals to such racist tropes whenever he invoked the Yellow Emperor/Descendents of the Dragon mythology he is so keen to politically exploit.

In the democratic era, Taiwanese used the political construct of Four Ethnic Groups (Hoklo,Hakka,Waisheng,Aborigine) to sell the idea of a multicultural Taiwan. This construct is a mirage that still validates concepts of patrilineal descent and fails to a) account for the vast plurality in Taiwan, b) account for the high degree of intermarriage between groups, and c) fails to address the ethnic hierarchy that is still maintained to this day.

This was clearly an attempt to maintain ideas of purity.

To really bring human rights and equality to the fore-- a stump Taiwan has attempted to use in contrast to China-- the government needs to allow equality with dual citizenship and foster a climate where anyone can look "Taiwanese". Taiwanese need to be able to look into the face of a person who looks nothing like themselves and come to terms that that person is also a Taiwanese.

Until that happens, equality in the eyes of the state is nothing but a mirage.

People can be racist, but the state must not.

Readin said...

It is unfair that anti-adultery laws aren't enforce more consistently. Just being a national of the ROC, or a man, or a person of Chinese ancestry, should not excuse you for committing one of the most cruel acts short of murder that exists.

Michael Turton said...

Free speech is great, anon, but it's not my policy to let people post racist and colonialist and imperialist screeds. People with loving, human-centered value sytems don't want to read it, and it teaches nothing.

Michael

Mike Fagan said...

"...Taiwanese used the political construct of Four Ethnic Groups (Hoklo,Hakka,Waisheng,Aborigine) to sell the idea of a multicultural Taiwan. This construct is a mirage that still validates concepts of patrilineal descent and fails to a) account for the vast plurality in Taiwan, b) account for the high degree of intermarriage between groups, and c) fails to address the ethnic hierarchy that is still maintained to this day. "

It is not clear to me what the context and purpose of this "four ethnicities" idea of a multicultural Taiwan was to begin with. Was it just an electoral gimmick by politicians? Is it something to be ingrained in the education of future generations of lawyers, judges and administrators? Is it something to be "sold" to the public in order somehow to reduce racism? Or something else and/or all of the above?

In any case, whatever the metric used to judge the "failure" of that idea, it's a failed idea to my mind not not because it doesn't include sufficient ethnic differences among Taiwan's people, but because it takes ethnicity as its premise to begin with.

All ethnicity does, it seems to me, is divide the population up into basically arbitrary groups and allow a government to play one off against another.

If the aim is going to be to cultivate better lawyers, judges and administrators to reform Taiwan's institutions toward a greater degree of equality under the law - something more akin to the "rule of law" rather than "rule by law" - then surely we'd be better off just focusing on universal, individual rights, particularly property rights, and reject ethnicity from the discussion entirely.

Anonymous said...

The "Four Basic Food Groups" was a construct that arose in the 1990's amid criticism of the KMT for their decades of state-Han chauvinism. The KMT needed to counter the inroads the DPP had made with localization and deflect the attacks coming from indigenous groups that had made international headway with UN participation. It was a defensive political move to retain power. Lee also used it to edge the KMT toward becoming a more localized party.

Michael Turton said...

It dates from long before that.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Not too much before. The official discourse during the martial law period had everyone in Taiwan being a part of the Chinese race. This is something Ma continues to assert. The divisions were between Han Chinese (Hoklo,Hakka and Waisheng) and the High Mountain Compatriots 山地同胞 or later High Mountain Race 高山族 or 台灣族. These constructs played into the racialist belief that the indigenous peoples of Taiwan and China were simply anachronously "backward" racial Chinese who had yet to be enlightened by Han culture. Hoklo and Hakka were merely subethnic groups of localized Han. Whereas the modernist Han Chinese were represented by the orthodoxy of state Waisheng culture.

In 1986, as the KMT was losing its totalitarian grip on the official narrative, Taiwanese indigenes sparked one of the first movements for rights and recognition in Taiwan based on their unequal contact with the state. They felt they were not afforded equal rights as lesser Han under a Han chauvinist construct. The discrimination they felt in their contact with the state necessitated mobilization and the formation of the Aborigine as a collective identity.

I see this as a model for what we are seeing or might see with a potential "foreigner" ethnic group. Because the state treats foreigners differently, it necessitates a greater level of protections. The problem is getting foreigners who are not used to feeling in need of social advocacy, to begin to understand how similar we are in our vulnerability and in our contact with state power.

Mike Fagan said...

"Four Basic Food Groups"

What a curious typo; the political cannibalization of other people through ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely THE most important issue for anyone that has been here for a long time, not married, and has to deal with visa issues after years of positive contributions (and tax payments) to this society. It is totally unfair that Taiwanese can hold dual citizenship, but foreigners can't.

Of course, part of the unfairness in dual citizenship is America's fault. We allow dual citizenship primarily for Israelis, thereby letting Taiwanese and others squirm through this loophole.

Michael Turton said...

Of course, part of the unfairness in dual citizenship is America's fault. We allow dual citizenship primarily for Israelis, thereby letting Taiwanese and others squirm through this loophole.

Hadn't thought of it that way.

Michael

HHII said...

Michael, thanks for posting this up, it deserves to be publicised more, it's filthy racism at heart.

Mike Fagan said...

"This is definitely THE most important issue for anyone that has been here for a long time, not married, and has to deal with visa issues after years of positive contributions (and tax payments) to this society."

Is not the answer to visa issues the APRC and the open work permit? That pretty much solves visa issues at a stroke does it not? An APRC also makes it possible for you to own property and own a business.

Insofar as I can tell, the only additional benefits to citizenship over an APRC have to do with voting and having children (custody in case of divorce, getting them into the catchment area for "good" schools and so on). Whilst these things will very likely be important to those with children (and those obsessed with Taiwan's politics), they're not something I would be particularly bothered about even if I would no longer be required to renounce my British citizenship to get them.

I've got no objection to the renunciation condition being dropped, as it is clearly unwarranted and bigoted, but I would be surprised if there weren't other long-term foreigners here who are similarly indifferent to the principle benefits of ROC citizenship.

MJ Klein said...

i'm not sure how the government can legislate a test against fake marriages, but that's prolly the basis for the morals code. the way the Vietnamese karaoke girls carry on in my neighborhood, it's pretty clear that those marriages aren't real. we could stand to have a few of those girls pack up and leave.

Anonymous said...

@MFagan,
Is not the answer to visa issues the APRC and the open work permit?

No, that is not the answer. A APRC becomes invalid if you leave the country for more that 180 days. It is not permanent.

Besides, you are missing the bigger picture of my comment.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Israel, but the U.S. treats dual citizenship with Israel no differently than dual citizenship with other countries--i.e., there is no law against it, but the foreign citizenship would not generally have any effect while the dual national is in the USA. If you mean that the purpose of this newly-permissive legal stance is primarily to allow U.S.-Israeli dual citizenship, then I would be interested to see evidence.

Anonymous said...

I think the heart of the matter is an ipso facto change of her citizenship status. Any challenge to her motives for citizenship should have been made prior to citizenship being granted. Once the papers were stamped (And I am sure there were ten dozen stamps required), she should have been regarded, under the law, as a citizen. The frightening fact is that she was not.

Anonymous said...

@anon -
No disrespect, but open your eyes to see the evidence.

And this statement is a bit naive when it comes to Israelis in important positions in the US.gov and FED: but the foreign citizenship would not generally have any effect while the dual national is in the USA.

Take a look at CFR and the majority of the people that have been advising the last presidents going back to at Wilson. Most recently, the appointment of Fisher as vice-chairmen of the FED. (yeah, I know the FED is a private corp)

Mike Fagan said...

I don't think I am missing the bigger picture of your comment to be fair.

The requirement that foreigners drop our original citizenship to attain ROC citizenship is unfair and should be dropped. Is the nature of this requirement racist? For sure.

Is it the most important issue for anyone who has been here a long time? Not necessarily; I can see myself making future trips home to Britain for a month or maybe two, but not much longer than that.

Do foreigners like us need to become more aware of our special ethnicity and demand special "protections" akin to the Aborigines? No, we just need one of the requirements for ROC citizenship dropped. The case for that can be made, and has already been made, by simply pointing out the unnecessary problems it causes for particular people.

Certainly, the unfairness of the requirement should be fought, but I just don't think it should be fought on the grounds of ethnic identity and group rights. We are not walking skin-bags to be identified by the colour of our skin and the different linguistic noises we make.

les said...

This is one of those cases where I'd love to see the ROC's ideal of 'reciprocity' turned against it. Imagine how many Taiwanese businessmen would be coming home in shame from places like Vietnam and China if their philandering was exposed.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Taiwan, for 30 years I was a Proud Chinese.

until I got my DNA test back. makes me wonder. 98% Han Race in China, how much of it , is true?

I look like typical east Asian, but underline, with lot's of other "minor" asian race, not just han. Mongol, Tajik, Aboriginal, Dutch??!!!! I mean common Dutch!!!!


:)

all it's well.. I think that women and her daughters can be brain washed just like rest of Taiwanese, in 20-30 years, they will believed that they are indeed 100% pure Chinese , just like Lien Chen and Ma. (Ma it's a hui )

Anonymous said...

To Anon who was born in Taiwan:
Where did you got you DNA test? And how did the lab get the base data?

I am not surprised that your DNA test shows you have a mixed ancestry, this is actually an accepted fact for all the people who live like and believe they are Han. Population in northern part of PRC are most likely to have ancestry of Mongolian, Eastern Europeans, Russians, Koreans; while population in southern part of PRC, and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, are likely to have the ancestry of the original natives.
And Dutch gene, well that means one of your parents must be aboriginal, and while Dutch had their forts in Taiwan, must had cross-breeded with the locals, and one of the off-springs became your ancestor.

A nanotizen said...

Hoklo, Hakka, Waisheng, Aborigine
How long has been kind of classification been in existence? I only aware of Hoklo recently, puzzled by what it means.
Anyone know where I can get a detailed explanation? In either Chinese or English is OK.

Anonymous said...

I got DNA done with NG project..

http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=2001246&gsk&code=SR90002&keyword=home+dna+testing&OVMTC=Broad&site=&creative=29302856657&OVKEY=home%20dna%20testing&url_id=163250297&adpos=1t2&device=c&gclid=CPzXoduHxbsCFbB9OgodVmkAsg

also, if you are interest to know.. New Zelander's ancestry are tie to Native Taiwanese..

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/made-in-taiwan-2006

Peace, Love and Running Rabbit!!!

A nanotizen said...

To Anon 'I got DNA done with NG project':

Which wave of native Kiwis are related to Taiwanese aboriginals? Contiki had proven that back in the ancient time, people had actually made the sea voyage all the way from South America to South Pacific; though no one ever asked and answered why they missed Australia. Kiwis call sweet-potato kuma, which is the same name as in Peru, and according to Maori legend, Hawaiiki is the home-land, the land they lived before moving to New Zealand. Hawaii and Hawaiiki, see the relationship? But according to the theory of the man who built Contiki, that there were 2 waves of migration to South Pacific, first wave got paler skin, second wave got darker skin.

Anonymous said...

It's the other way around.

Both waves were supposed to come through Taiwan and spread out to the Pacific.

Anonymous said...

The KonTiki theory has been dismissed. There was a paper out in the last few years showing evidence of some trade of chickens for some woman in the location of modern Chile, with their small genetic contribution evident. Kumaras or sweet potato/yam has a less clear trail. Migration and travel around the vast distances of the Pacific is possible with the seasonal winds, but not in the directions of the KonTiki, and this also makes a large barrier to jump from NZ to Autralia, but not from Hawaii, down and across, or similar location and routes, which are more sizable, but have favorable wind patterns.

1stCMalaysia said...

I just find it hard to believe people of South Pacific are actually from East Asia.

Where can I read about the dismissal of Contiki thoery? This theory was based on sea currents, as during the voyage of Contiki, they realised that the craft was designed to adopt to and follow the current.

Coconuts from South America also followed sea current to South Pacific. At least I read something about the genetic trails. And in Australia, even the aboriginals had collected coconuts on seashores, but coconuts never got chance to take root there, as they were all eaten before the arrival of Europeans. And if the migration was based on sea current, so why while the coconuts floated all the way to Australia, people who built crafts never follow the sea current to Australia?

But it is clear that Maori have always treated potato and kuma as two different species, while Europeans had confused the two.