Mon, Aug 20, 2018 - Page 1 News List

China’s new residency cards pose risk

POLICE STATE:Taiwanese who give their biometric data to Chinese authorities would be vulnerable to Beijing’s human rights abuses, a cybersecurity official said

By Chen Yu-fu, Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng speaks at an event on May 31.

Photo: Chung Lee-hua, Taipei Times

The Chinese government’s new residency permit cards for Taiwanese, which are to bear the fingerprints of the cardholder, pose privacy and national security risks, Executive Yuan Department of Cybersecurity Director Jian Hong-wei (簡宏偉) said yesterday.

Jian made the remarks after Chinese authorities earlier in the day published a preview of regulations for issuing residency permit cards for people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, which are to go into effect on Saturday next week.

The cards would bear the cardholder’s name, date of birth, photograph, fingerprints, address and an 18-digit serial number, employing the same identification system Beijing uses for Chinese nationals, according to the regulations.

“Fingerprints are private biometric data and there is no end to the ways Chinese authorities could use them once they get hold of them,” Jian said.

After obtaining fingerprints of Taiwanese, the Chinese government could link them to other biometric data and store them in digital archives, he said.

Taiwanese who give their biometric data to Chinese authorities would render themselves vulnerable to Beijing’s human rights violations, he added.

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said the increasing power and sophistication of Chinese surveillance technologies pose potential risks to Taiwanese seeking employment or education in China.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday said China’s issuance of residency permits to Taiwanese is “motivated by a certain political agenda.”

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office and the Ministry of Public Security said that with the new residency permit, people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau would be identified with a six-digit address code starting with 83, 81 and 82 respectively.

People from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau may apply for a residency permit if they are employed in a stable job, have lived in China for at least half a year, have a permanent place of residence and satisfy at least one requirement for continuing education, the agencies said.

Taiwanese who have held a Taiwan Compatriot Permit for at least five years may directly apply for a permit, they said.

The permits would record data about the issuing office, and border entry and exit dates, they added.

The Mainland Affairs Council issued a statement later in the evening, saying that it would investigate whether applying for a residency permit in China contravenes the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).

Article 9 of the act forbids Taiwanese nationals to hold China-issued household registration documents or a passport at the pain of losing Republic of China citizenship and its rights and privileges.

China is a repressive regime with a poor human rights record and the public should consider the consequences before surrendering sensitive personal data to Beijing, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) and Taiwan Association for Human Rights policy director Shih Yi-hsiang (施逸翔) said separately.

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