This is not about the recent elections. Everyone knows exactly which election I am talking about, no matter where in the world you are. This is more about political relations between countries and how they can affect any person on any level. My post will be about being born in Taiwan, the foreign relations with Taiwan and how this affected me in many ways.
Both my parents have passports from The Netherlands, but not because they were born there. My father was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents, so obviously he obtained his Dutch citizenship by “birth”. My mother is German, but through her marriage got the Dutch citizenship. I was born in Taiwan. Does that make me Taiwanese? No!
Friends of my parents whose daughter was also born, in Taiwan made the mistake of registering the birth at the HRO (Household Registration Office). After this, they had a hard time getting their own child out of the country. There was and still is no Dutch Embassy in Taiwan. So if you were Dutch and needed help you had to go to Hong Kong.
My parents, wanting to avoid any hassle, did NOT register me “officially”. They had the doctor from Dr. Lee’s Woman Hospital certify my birth (not a typo, that is copied from the letter head). This certificate was then stamped and signed by the Belgian Consulate in Taiwan and used to obtain my first passport from the Dutch Embassy in Hong Kong.
So what politics were in play here? Well, obtaining my birth certificate in order to get married was a night mare and cost me a flight to Taiwan. Read about it in my previous posts or just the one post. In a few words the Dutch government did nothing to help me other than tell me that I had to fly to Taiwan to legalize my birth and pay for this out of my own pocket.
Are you still asking what politics has to do with this? Well most nations recognize China – or The Peoples Republic of China, but not Taiwan (Republic of China). The internet is full of articles about China and Taiwan, but a good introduction is an article on BBC. China sees Taiwan as a province – a province that does not want to be part of China. How do other nations see Taiwan? Honestly I don’t think any one nation really can state publicly what they consider to be Taiwan’s status – independent or a province of China? If you look at nations that have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, then it is clear why nations with certain interests, be it military or economical, are not on the list of those that recognize Taiwan. The only European entity to have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan is the Holy See. More importantly is the list of those countries that switched recognition from ROC (Taiwan or Republic of China) to PRC (China or Peoples Republic of China). More information for this on Wikipedia.
No big deal??? Well it seems to be a very confusing situation for The Netherlands in any case. My logic convinced me that if Taiwan is not recognized, but China is then maybe the consulate for The Netherlands in Hong Kong (since 1997 part of China) could help me. Well a phone call to the consulate in Hong Kong only confused me more on countries and foreign relations. I was not told to call the Embassy in Beijing but with clear words made to understand that they could not help because Taiwan was NOT part of China. Huh????
So I flew to Taiwan and legalized my documents with the Taiwanese authorities only to get a letter from the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taiwan that due to political relations with Taiwan The Netherlands could not legalize my birth, but they did recognize the authenticity of my provided documents.
So this little lesson on how the world sees this small nation of Taiwan has affected me.
And on another note…….
Prior to 2002, I could not take part of the Green Card Lottery or Diversity Visa Lottery of the United States of America because I was born in Taiwan. At that time the fact that I and both my parents were not natives or citizens of Taiwan did not change my eligibility. Nor did the fact that I only spent my first 8 months on planet Earth there.