Friday, September 09, 2005

Not Linda Arrigo Too....

Longtime residents will recall several cases over the years of foreigners with many years residence in Taiwan, and service to the island, nevertheless denied visas and unceremoniously booted off the island. Some of you might remember this egregious case from the 1990s:

For instance, Norwegian medical missionary Bjarne Gislefoss in 1952 made the arduous three-month sea voyage from Norway to Taiwan. After working at the Mackay Memorial Hospital and the Hsinchuang Leprosarium, in 1955 he joined the Christian Health Care Clinic for Mountain Areas, which later became Puli Christian Hospital. In 1963 he married the Norwegian-American physician Alfhild Jensen. Together, the couple helped the government pursue its polio immunization program, and made a great contribution to the eventual virtual eradication of polio, leprosy and tuberculosis in Taiwan. In both 1992 and 1993 the Gislefosses received national Medical Dedication Awards, and in 1996 they were awarded the Order of the Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon-the ROC's highest civilian honor-and were made honorary citizens of Puli Township.

At the end of last year, Puli Christian Hospital applied for permanent residency on behalf of "Grandma" and "Grandpa" Gislefoss, but the application was refused because they did not meet the requirement for the number of days' residency per year.

This time around it is, incredibly, Linda Arrigo, one of the heroes of the Taiwan independence movement and someone I admire deeply. Taiwan News has the sad tale:

The possibility that former "Formosa" democratic movement and human rights activist Linda Gail Arrigo may have to leave Taiwan later this month because of an inability to maintain legal residency should remind the Democratic Progressive Party government of a major unfinished item of on the agenda of "transitional justice" in Taiwan.

Besides the reasonable requirement that an applicant must be resident in Taiwan for five of seven consecutive years and not have been convicted of any major crime that would carry a prison sentence, the conditions for an APRC include vetting by the police of tax and financial records, proof that an applicant's accumulated real estate and liquid assets are valued at over NT$5 million and a "good citizen" certificate from their home country.

The APRC system in Taiwan offers a possibility for application for foreign residents who have made "exceptional contributions to the Republic of China." However, no one has yet ever received approval for permanent residence or citizenship for this reason.

Given the notorious difficulty in applying for APRCs, the requirement that foreign residents must apply for permanent residence within two years after eligibility can only be described as cynical.

This is beyond disgusting.

UPDATE: 9/10 This thread at has the happy news that she got a visa and can stay. It also contains much information on her case.


David said...

After just five years in office it seems the DPP have already forgotten their roots and their history. They are too content with the priveliges of office to remember what it was like to be fighting for the most basic of rights.

Michael Turton said...

Two explanations proposed by my friend and my wife, respectively: 1. She came in to apply and the low level types in the MOFA just saw another white English teacher, of which they have seen a million. They had no idea she was Leen-Da.

2. The low level types are KMT shits, who still occupy the mid and low levels of the govmint bureaucracy, and took a little revenge on her.