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June 23, 2017

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Control Yuan President calls for American to get ROC ID card

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien (王建煊) yesterday expressed hope for the government to amend current laws that prevented Father Brendan O'Connell from receiving a Taiwanese ID.

O'Connell, who had been serving in Taiwan for over 50 years, has been trying to apply for nationality and an ID of the Republic of China, but to no avail. The American had founded the first registered foundation for the mentally-disabled in Taiwan, and is determined to stay in Taiwan for the rest of his life.

According to the laws of the R.O.C., foreigners will have to give up their nationalities in order to receive an R.O.C. ID. O'Connell, however, hoped he would be able to have dual citizenship as he felt he should not forget his roots.

"Many years ago, people with an R.O.C. ID are admitted into many places without admission fees or are able to go in at half-price, but I said to the president, 'I don't need that. Just give me an ID,'" said O'Connell, who currently has a National Health Insurance Card and other identification that allows him many privileges in Taiwan.

"I can pay taxes, which I do, but I still cannot vote," said O'Connell.

Nearly 80-years-old, O'Connell had founded several foundations dedicated to the mentally-challenged and disabled, and has received many national awards for his efforts.

Wang expressed his indignation to the local media yesterday. "Father O'Connell had served Taiwan for over 50 years; his whole life! What did Taiwan give him?" Wang asked, adding that he hoped the government will allow O'Connell to receive an ID conditionally.

"Try and find someone like him in Taiwan, who treats the nation like he does. I'll bet you can't find many. It's not even that difficult to apply for residency in the United States," said Wang.

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