MOFA to help Taiwanese students in Norway over name-change lawsuit

Taipei, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday that the government is keeping in close contact with a group of Taiwanese students in Norway who are raising funds to be used in a lawsuit they plan to take to the Norway court system after the Scandinavian government labeled them as being from China rather than Taiwan.

A Taiwanese law student in Norway, who identified himself only as Joseph, formed a student group that urged the government to respect their identity as Taiwanese rather than Chinese after they found their Norwegian government-issued visas and entry documents listed them as Taiwan, China or Taipei, China, in early 2017. Such documents previously listed them as being from Taiwan or Taipei, Taiwan.

The student group has launched an online public funding account to raise the funds necessary -- NT$1.22 million (US$40,666) -- to appeal the case in the Norwegian courts. If arbitration in Norway fails to reach a ruling that is satisfactory to the students, they are prepared to take the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board to the European Court of Human Rights.

Asked to comment, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (???) told local media that the ministry has been engaging in talks with the Norwegian government over the name-change issue via its representative office in Sweden, urging it to amend the name as soon as possible.

Taiwan's representative office in Norway was closed down in September 2017 as part of the foreign ministry's ongoing plan to streamline its structure. Its Sweden office is now responsible for Taiwan's affairs in Norway.

Lee said the ministry has also continued to keep in close contact with the group and will offer all necessary assistance. The group leader said they are fully aware of the government's stance.

Lee also expressed the ministry's appreciation toward the student group's attempt to file the lawsuit against the Norwegian government over the name-change issue.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel