Washington, D.C.

Roger C. S. Lin et. al.
United States of America

There is an old joke about a Taiwanese gentleman living in the United States. He was talking to a group of American friends who were planning on vacationing in Asia, and trying to explain about the situation of Taiwan. He said if they wanted to get more information about Taiwan in the library, internet, travel fairs, etc. they should remember to use the full title of "Taiwan Republic of China."

The friends were somewhat puzzled by this, and asked: "Isn't the full name of China actually just People's Republic of China"?

The Taiwanese fellow thought for a moment, then said: "No, in Taiwan we just have the Republic of China, but there are no people."

Surprisingly, this joke provides a good introduction to the US Court of Appeals case of Roger Lin et. al. v. United States of America, which is commencing in Nov. 2008. As most people know, native Taiwanese people currently carry Republic of China passports and other identification documents. However, the basic rationale for this lawsuit is that (1) no international legal documents have ever recognized the transfer of Taiwan's sovereignty to the Republic of China, (2) neither the United States nor any other leading world nation recognizes the Republic of China as a sovereign state, hence (3) native Taiwanese people cannot be correctly classified as having "Republic of China nationality."

Dr. Roger Lin and the other Plaintiffs/Appellants assert that under the US Immigration and Nationality Act, the Sentate-ratified San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952, and related US Supreme Court precedent, native Taiwanese persons must be correctly classified as "US national non-citizens."

Based on this interpretation, beginning in October 2005, Dr. Roger Lin initiated written communications with the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Receiving no response, he then lead a large group of native Taiwanese persons to AIT on March 29, 2006, with US passport applications in hand, and expressed the desire to apply for US national non-citizen passports. However, AIT denied all of the applicants physical entry to its premises.

With the help of a prominent Washington D.C. law firm, a number of these applicants filed suit in the United States District Court, Washington D.C., on Oct. 24, 2006. In a decision dated March 18, 2008, the District Court recognized that native Taiwanese people, including the Plaintiffs/Appellants, have been essentially stateless for nearly sixty years. However, the Court felt that the lawsuit presented political questions which were outside of its jurisdiction.

In early November 2008, the Appellants presented their first Brief to the US Court of Appeals, Washington D.C. Using extensive legal analysis, comparative historical & economic overviews, in accompaniment with many case references, the Brief stresses that this lawsuit does not present a "nonjusticiable political question." Rather, the needed adjudication is a straightforward matter of ascertaining the Appellants' civil rights under US laws, Senate-ratified treaties, the US Constitution, and the existing framework for relations with the people of Taiwan as established by the US Executive Branch.

All people concerned about the future democratic development of Taiwan are invited to read the entire Brief for complete details.

November 3, 2008

Appellants' Brief (.pdf)   53 pages

Cover Page (stamped) (.pdf)   1 page

Joint Appendix (.pdf)   381 pages

December 3, 2008

US Government's Brief

(Not yet available on the Federal Judiciary's PACER Service Center)

December 17, 2008

Appellants' Reply Brief (.pdf)   34 pages

Feb. 5, 2009
US Court of Appeals
Washington, D.C.

Further details on the subject of ROC citizenship
Are Taiwanese Persons ROC Citizens?