new name policy for naturalized ROC citizens

Since July 9, naturalized citizens of Taiwan have been permitted to have a romanized form of their original name included along with their adopted “Chinese name” on their household-registration certificate (hùkǒu). (This is an important government document that states your official residence.)

For example, my original name is Mark Swofford. My Mandarin name is Shǐ Wěifán (史偉凡). If I were to take ROC citizenship (which I’d like but am unlikely to try to gain until Taiwan drops its insistence that I first renounce my U.S. citizenship), my household-registration certificate would have “史偉凡” and could now also have some romanization. But … the romanization would have to be along the lines of Make Siwafo’erde.

What I could not have, according to the new regulations, would be either my original name or a romanization of my Mandarin name (i.e., neither “Mark Swofford” nor “Shi Weifan” would be permitted). Instead, I’d have to use a romanization of a Sinicized form of my original name (Make Siwafo’erde).

This is, well, rather odd. But I called the Ministry of the Interior and received confirmation. Apparently it’s part of the Legislative Yuan’s idea of helping Taiwan’s internationalization. I suppose this is a half step forward. Before the change, the only thing allowed would have been a name in Chinese characters and only Chinese characters.

source: Ministry changes name regulations for naturalization, Taipei Times, July 9, 2009

6 thoughts on “new name policy for naturalized ROC citizens

  1. Pingback: Weekly Links – July 16, 2009 « The Daily Bubble Tea

  2. I wonder if they care which romanization system you use? Then you could create an ad hoc system (Let’s call it cranky laowai pinyin), where Mark Swofford is pronounced Make Siwafo’erde. I know they’d never go for it, but on what grounds?

  3. No, only Romanization systems with Charismatic Leaders are allowed :-) (what’s he barking about this week? search for ???)

    Immigration discussions are in (“http” removed or else my comment gets munched)

    But anyway, the U.S. Border Patrol will probably say “Sorry, Mr.
    Swarthweirdo, even if you were originally Swofford, you still don’t
    qualify to go home to visit mom as your income is too low.”

    Anyways, one may hold out until one day not having Taiwan citizenship means sacrificing something, and there you’ll be obediently lining up…

  4. Quite odd indeed but is this really a problem ? In Taiwan I never use my french name (which is a good thing as its long and barelly pronuncable for most of people).

    Sorry for going slightly off-topic, but for us (French) it’s possible (but it remains illegal in Taiwan of course) to get the ROC Citizenship without loosing the original one. Two solution are available :

    – Ask for a real-fake “Citizenship Renounciation”, isued by the embassy-office for that purpose, but never transmitted to France (it costs 1000€)
    – Ask for a real “Citizenship Renounciation” and ask for a re-integration few month later (free)

    I know quite a few French (and some Australian) who did this. If you really want it I guess there is similar stuff to do.

  5. “Ask for a real “Citizenship Renounciation” and ask for a re-integration few month later (free)”

    When you do that in Germany, you lose German nationality by regaining your previous nationality.

    Might be the same in Taiwan …

    I also suppose you never acquire ROC nationality when you did not really renounce your old one. Yes, I know that the papers will say otherwise, but that just means that the papers are incorrect.

    In Germany, it’s getting really ugly when you go voting while knowing you don’t have German nationality: In that case, it’s a crime.

  6. Sounds very hard to believe. What’s the point in writing a name that you actually don’t go by?

    Legislators probably assume that your adopted Chinese name is something like “???”, in which case a romanized name like “Suo Fode” would make more sense, as every citizen should arguably have only one official name.

    Probably they would let you get away with “???” + “Shi Weifan” as a phonetic transliteration of “Swofford” + its re-romanization.
    But then again, it could turn out as an advantage that nobody in Taiwan cares about standardized romanization, and you could transliterate your adopted Chinese name as “Swofford”. ?????

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