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Wed, Aug 22, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Taiwanese man uses a `Republic of Taiwan' passport to travel to Brazil

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

US resident Kuo Shu-jen (郭樹人) plans to tell reporters today how he managed to dupe Brazilian authorities into giving him a visa for his "Republic of Taiwan" passport.

The country's official name is the Republic of China. But pro-independence advocates say the island is not a part of China and some have issued "Republic of Taiwan" passports to their supporters.

"Mr Kuo will be talking on the phone at a press conference this morning from his base in Los Angles," said Wang Cheng-chung (王正中), organizer of the press briefing.

The conference will be held simultaneously in Taipei and Los Angles, with Kuo and other Tai-wanese in the US explaining details of their trip, Wang said.

According to a press release, Kuo entered Brazil on July 26th for an overseas Taiwanese rally. He used a visa that he applied for using his "Republic of Taiwan" passport.

One of his Taiwanese counterparts, however, was "heckled" by Brazilian officials when entering the country because he held an ROC passport, according to the release.

Consular officials in other countries often confuse the ROC with the PRC.

Katharine Chang (張小月), the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urged citizens to apply for visas with the country's formal passport.

"Holding such fantasy travel documents will not enable one to travel effectively. So I urge citizens to hold the ROC passport so that one can apply for a visa effectively," Chang said.

Chang said negligence on the part of Brazilian officials caused the confusion in Kuo's case.

The ministry has already requested Taiwan's representative office in Brazil to notify the Brazilian government of the case, Chang added.

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