I thought a translation of this old article would make an appropriate post for the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq: singer-songwriter Lo Ta-yu, a naturalised U.S. citizen, renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2004 to protest a Congressional resolution calling on Taiwan to deploy troops in support of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. In contrast to the tiresome mainstream media portrayal of renunciants as “wealthy businesspeople fleeing the country”, Lo is a far more typical example of the type of person who gives up citizenship: someone who emigrated from U.S. to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and only many years later decided that he needed to take a clear stand to protest the U.S. government’s arrogant interference in the country where he chose to live.
Lo Ta-yu gives up U.S. citizenship; will soon release song criticising Taiwan’s recent politics
|28 May 2004, 12:36
|By Lin Yi-chun, Huang Jie-ting/Taipei
|Singer-songwriter Lo Ta-yu proceeded to the American Institute in Taiwan on the 28th, cancelled his United States passport, and renounced his United States citizenship. Lo said, he could not accept the U.S.’ desire for Taiwan to send troops to Iraq, and furthermore he had discovered that the 20 March shootings was a faked assassination. He took this big step due to his disappointment over these matters.
|A week after cutting up his passport during a concert, Lo Ta-yu rushed to the American Institute in Taiwan to cancel his U.S. passport and give up his U.S. citizenship. Lo said this was an individual act which he did in order to satisfy his conscience. As a singer-songwriter, Lo is very direct in his social criticisms, and is dissatisfied with post-electoral trends in Taiwan.
|Lo stated, he could not dare believe that the two countries whose passports he held had come to such an agreement for troops to attack Iraq. He made the decision to give up U.S. citizenship to satisfy his conscience, but he said he would never give up his creative work, and would soon release a song about the Taiwanese presidential election.
Lo’s name appears in the Q4 2004 list of persons losing U.S. citizenship. This fits the trend we observed previously: the “name-and-shame list” has a near 100% coverage rate for public figures who renounced before 2006, no matter how obscure they are to Americans — but after 2006, dozens of people reported to have renounced U.S. citizenship who are well-known in their own countries but not in the U.S. fail to appear in those Federal Register lists.
It’s also clear from Lo’s experience that renunciations were processed far more quickly in 2004 than today: it took him barely more than a week to get his first appointment with the para-consular American Institute in Taiwan, and then he showed up in the Federal Register eight months later.