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Exceptional StatesChinese Immigrants and Taiwanese Sovereignty$
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Sara L. Friedman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286221

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286221.001.0001

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Exceptional Legal Subjects

Exceptional Legal Subjects

Chapter:
(p.81) Three Exceptional Legal Subjects
Source:
Exceptional States
Author(s):

Sara L. Friedman

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286221.003.0004

This chapter traces the development of immigration laws and policies that defined mainland Chinese as exceptional legal subjects in Taiwan. Because mainland Chinese could not be slotted easily into a recognizable category of other, the legal classifications developed in response to migration flows from China diverged from Taiwan’s existing legal system and its recognized categories of citizen, national, and foreigner. The chapter examines the effects of this law and policy regime on state-sovereignty struggles and immigrant-rights campaigns. By creating an anomalous legal armature that rested uneasily on distinctions among and within categories of citizens and foreigners, the Taiwanese government risked undoing its own efforts to use law and immigration policy to assert Taiwan’s sovereign standing among a community of like-minded nation-states committed to democracy and human rights. Similarly, when NGO activists mobilize discourses of human rights to advocate for immigrant rights, they often fail to achieve their objectives, because they cannot resolve the anomalous legal status of mainland Chinese immigrants.

Keywords:   immigration law, immigration policy, human rights, NGOs, immigrant rights, legal categories

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