Sat, Jan 26, 2013 - Page 3 News List

DPP wants answer on passport issue

INACTION:A DPP lawmaker says it has been over a month since the MAC pledged to submit countermeasures against China’s inclusion of Taiwan’s territories in its passport

By Chen Hui-ping and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has disappointed the public with its inaction and complete disregard for China’s new passport, which has infringed on Taiwan’s sovereignty, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said yesterday.

Chen said the council has yet to meet its promise last month to present countermeasures in response to the passport issue.

On Nov. 21 last year, the Financial Times reported that the new Chinese passport features an outline of China that includes the entire South China Sea, hemmed in by dashes, as well as depictions of scenic spots in Taiwan — Nantou’s Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) and Hualien’s Chingshui Cliffs (清水斷崖).

The council conveyed its protest via a statement to the Chinese government, while at the same time saying that the Republic of China (ROC) government does not recognize the validity of Chinese passports since Chinese citizens enter Taiwan using a “Taiwan Pass for Chinese Residents” in lieu of a passport.

The council added that since Taiwan does not recognize the validity of Chinese passports, it could not emulate protest measures implemented by other countries, such as India, which began issuing visas with India’s map on them to Chinese visitors, and Vietnam, which refused to stamp visas on the new Chinese passports and gave visitors other visa documents.

However, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) challenged the council’s stance at a legislative meeting last month.

Tuan said on Dec. 13 that Chinese citizens abroad are able to use their Chinese passports to obtain visas to Taiwan. In response, MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) promised that the council would present its countermeasures within a week.

Tuan said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration should make a public announcement that as long as China does not change its passport — which is a serious infringement on the ROC’s sovereignty — Taiwan would not allow Chinese citizens to use it as a form of verification of identity.

Noting that only 2 percent of Chinese visitors had entered Taiwan using their Chinese passports, Tuan said that such an announcement would not overtly affect Chinese travelers, as the majority use a Taiwan Pass, and would at the same time safeguard the nation’s sovereignty.

“The MAC’s attitude on the issue is deplorable,” Tuan said.

Chen yesterday added that although MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) had said on Thursday that the council had met with concerned agencies over the issue, it has yet to present the promised countermeasures.

Liu siad the council was still waiting for confirmation from other government branches.

However, Liu added that “since the entry papers of Chinese citizens bear the full name of the ROC and its national flag, it is sufficient declaration of our nation’s autonomy and sovereignty.”

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