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Te-Yuan Chien

In Taiwan, there were 530,512 migrant spouses in 2017 and, among them, 337,838 (about 63.7 per cent) came from China. However, Chinese spouses have to spend two years more than other foreign spouses to receive residency. Due to the political complexities between China and Taiwan, this differentiated treatment is a controversial issue. Nevertheless, some advocates have urged legislators to propose amendments, whereas others support raising the issue in the Constitutional Court.

This article contends that the period it takes for Chinese and other foreign spouses to receive residency should be equal. Furthermore, the article suggests that it is more suitable for the legislative branch to use its plenary power in dealing with the political issues than the judicial branch, similar to how the United States (us) resolved disputes after the enactment of the Chinese-Exclusion Act 130 years ago.

This article begins with the political and legal background to the differentiated treatment issue in Taiwan. The second part begins with the bills in Congress to eliminate the difference and outlines the interpretation of the Constitutional Court in Taiwan regarding the Chinese issues. The third part discusses the similar discriminatory treatment of the Chinese in the us after the Chinese-Exclusive Act in 1882 and how the Supreme Court dealt with those disputes. Finally, considering international treaties and the sensitivity of the political issues, this article suggests, similar to the us approach, introduction of the doctrine of plenary congressional power and the political question doctrine to resolve the disputes.