Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Pro-independence groups call for premier to resign

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Pro-independence groups demonstrate outside the main entrance to the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday, protesting China’s decision to replace the “Taiwan compatriot travel permit” with an electronic card.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Pro-independence groups yesterday rallied outside the Executive Yuan to call for the resignation of Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國), following China’s decision to unilaterally replace the “Taiwan compatriot permit” (台胞證) with electronic cards.

“There is no way we can tolerate this kind of a premier,” 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign director Chen Chun-han (陳峻涵) said, criticizing Mao for saying that he only learned about China’s decision through media reports.

Chen said the Ministry of the Interior’s push to unify Taiwan’s National Identification Card with other government-issued ID cards might be connected with China’s electronic card push.

The “Taiwan compatriot permit” paper booklet is issued by the Chinese government and serves as the primary identification document for Taiwanese traveling in China. Following the Chinese announcement, people applying for a new “Taiwan compatriot permit” are issued an electronic card; existing paper permits remain valid until their expiry date, Beijing said.

Several protesters attempted to use a ladder to climb over the barricades surrounding the Executive Yuan, but were stopped by police. Chen then climbed into a nearby tree, shouting slogans calling for Mao to resign.

Protesters also handed a paper model of an iPad to police officers, saying it symbolized the need for Mao to be better connected with current events.

“China’s issuance of electronic cards instead of ‘Taiwan compatriot permits’ is an attempt to turn Taiwan into Hong Kong and Macau, and that is what we are accepting if we accept the cards,” Taiwan Solidarity Union Department of Youth Affairs director Chang Chao-lin (張兆林) said.

The use of the paper document had been one of the key features separating documents issued by the Beijing government to Taiwanese from those issued to residents of Hong Kong and Macau, Chang said.

There are also concerns about information safety, as using the cards would make it easier for China to search and manage information on “Taiwanese compatriots,” he said.

He urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to personally state his opposition to the Chinese announcement, as well as to take retaliatory measures, such as requiring Chinese citizens visiting Taiwan to use their Chinese passports and halting all political negotiations.

Mao has said that China “responded positively” to Taiwanese requests for confirmation that the new cards would contain no new personal information and their use would be confined to travel.

He also said earlier this week that the government was “extremely dissatisfied” with China’s failure to communicate with Taiwan before implementing the change.

He said he would consider canceling or postponing a planned meeting between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

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