Sun, Sep 02, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Residency cards a ‘Chinese ploy’

CONFUSION:Beijing might force foreign governments to require Taiwanese to present the cards and then claim jurisdiction over Republic of China citizens, a group said

By Chung Li-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

China-based Taiwanese businessman Cheng Po-yu, right, has his fingerprints taken while applying for a Chinese residence permit at a police station in Beijing’s Shijingshan District yesterday morning.

Photo: CNA

Beijing’s issuing of residency permit cards for people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, which came into effect yesterday, is part of a ploy to bring Taiwan into China’s political fold, the Mainland Affairs Council said.

The cards, which carry an 18-digit code, look almost identical to Chinese identification cards and are aimed at belittling Taiwan’s sovereignty, the council said.

While Beijing has claimed that the new cards will provide Taiwanese residents in China with better access to public services, the council said that it is part of Beijing’s “united front” strategy, and would only benefit China’s agenda.

China is being irresponsible, because it has ignored public concerns over the risks card applicants might face, the council said, calling on Beijing to withdraw its “political ploy” and instead contribute to peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait.

The council has warned Taiwanese against risks to personal privacy, particularly in light of Beijing’s efforts to create a vast network of surveillance cameras and facial recognition systems as a means of social control.

The council said that it will try to find out more about the differences between the new cards, and the temporary residence cards issued to Taiwanese working and living in China.

Electronic terminals at railway stations, airports, banks and other places will be able to read the cards, making life easier for cardholders who are studying and working in China, the Chinese State Council has said.

Taiwanese do not need to have household registration in China to apply for the new card, but should have resided in China for more than six months, and must have a stable job and a place of residence.

Taiwan Democracy Watch yesterday in a statement said that by differentiating between household registrations and places of residence, Beijing is attempting to circumvent Article 9-1 of 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 ), which stipulates: “The people of the Taiwan Area may not have household registrations in the Mainland Area or hold passports issued by the Mainland Area.”

Beijing would gradually force international organizations, and foreign governments and businesses to require Taiwanese to present the new cards on different occasions, forcing Taiwanese to call themselves People’s Republic of China citizens, and thereby claim jurisdiction over Taiwanese, the group said.

The government should restrict or revoke the civic rights of those who apply for the new cards, treat them as dual citizens or enact a separate law to regulate their status, it added.

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