Taiwan nationals in Norway file lawsuit for being forced to register as 'Chinese'

Sun Online Desk

12th June, 2021 06:44:22 PM printer

Taiwan nationals in Norway file lawsuit for being forced to register as 'Chinese'

Battling an identity crisis, Taiwan nationals who have been legally fighting the Norwegian government over being forced to register as 'Chinese' instead of Taiwanese, have now taken the matter to European court of human rights.

Norway had changed the nationality of its Taiwanese residents to "Chinese" following a diplomatic row with China in 2010, Taipei Times reported.

Joseph Liu who wanted to learn more about human rights had chosen Norway for his studies. He has been fighting the country's government for the past four years for the right to use his national identity.

Liu and others launched the My Name, My Right movement to raise funds and pressure the authorities to change the country designation back to Taiwan. They eventually took the case to the Norwegian supreme court, where they lost in November last year, as per the publication.

Lui alleged that they didn't even have a chance to represent themselves in court. "The judge just rejected us on grounds that our allegations were unfounded. I'm quite disappointed in Norway's legal system" he said.

Liu and his team filed a lawsuit last month with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in France, where they now have to wait up to a year to see if the case is accepted due to the court's enormous caseload. As of the end of April, there were about 65,000 pending cases.

If the ECHR rejects the lawsuit, Liu plans to either help Taiwanese in other countries who have similar issues, or bring the issue to the UN.

"It doesn't matter if we win or not, but we need to keep speaking out," he says. "If we remain silent, then it will become difficult in the future for Taiwanese to exercise their right to self-determination. Not saying anything means that we've quietly accepted the fact of being designated as Chinese."

"If this lawsuit wins, it would be the first time for the European Court of Human Rights to make a decision related to national identity," states a My Name, My Right press release.

Since the ECHR is binding on the 47 member states that have signed the European Convention on Human Rights, it means that these countries could no longer register Taiwanese citizens as "Chinese."

Norway's row with China began when it awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the late Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, who died in July 2017.

Shortly after that, Taiwanese in Norway were forced to identify as "Chinese" to demonstrate the government's adherence to the one-China principle. (ANI)