French priest to receive Taiwan citizenship

Father Yves Moal has spent 50 years in Taiwan

The Reverend Yves Moal in 2016. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – French Catholic missionary Yves Moal will soon receive a Taiwanese passport while being able to keep his original nationality, 50 years after arriving in the country, reports said Wednesday.

Moal, who is known as Liu Yi-feng (劉一峰) in Mandarin, visited a police station in Yuli, Hualien County, Wednesday to apply for the proof of good behavior or police criminal record certificate which would allow him to apply for Taiwanese citizenship, reports said.

The local police chief described the Frenchman as a “good neighbor” and thanked him for his constant efforts helping to find work for the homeless, drug addicts and other groups, reports said.

He moved from Brittany to Taiwan in 1966, at the age of 25, travelling by ship out of Marseilles just months after having been ordained a Catholic priest. He has spent most of his half century on the island helping physically and mentally challenged residents as well as orphans and other underprivileged members of society.

He has also managed a second-hand book store and sold furniture made by the residents of the Saint Andrew Training Center.

Last year, Moal launched the plan for an “Yi Feng Garden,” a center where the physically and mentally challenged can find a new home once they grow old and no longer have any family members who can care for them.

Since an amendment in the law approved last December, foreign nationals who have made a special contribution to Taiwan no longer have to give up their original citizenship when applying for Taiwanese nationality. Others still have to do so, but in contrast to past practice, they can wait until they have acquired a Taiwanese passport before they have to supply proof that they have given up their original citizenship.