Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Legislative Yuan protests travel pass

OCCUPATION:A policy address by Premier Mao Chi-kuo was delayed due to three Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmakers occupying the legislative speaker’s podium

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

From left, Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators Yeh Chin-ling, Lai Chen-chang and Chou Ni-an hold up signs protesting against China over its new smartcard-like “Taiwan compatriot travel document” at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan yesterday afternoon issued a statement protesting China’s introduction of a new travel pass for Taiwanese, following a delay to Premier Mao Chi-kuo’s (毛治國) policy address due to Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers occupying the legislative speaker’s podium in the morning.

The three TSU lawmakers occupied the podium and held up signs accusing China’s unilateral launch of the new smartcard-like “Taiwan compatriot travel document” (台胞證) as a unilateral change to the “status quo,” saying that cross-strait exchanges should be halted.

A cross-party negotiation was held, presided over by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), resulting in a joint statement requiring Mao to present a special report on the issue, alongside his policy report.

“Also, based on the principle of reciprocal respect and equal footing, [we] demand that [Beijing] conduct sufficient communication and negotiation with [Taiwan] on issues concerning the rights of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in cross-strait exchanges. The executive branch should make sure that it [adheres to this directive] and protests to [China] in order to sternly express our stance and maintain the dignity of the nation’s sovereignty,” the statement said.

In Mao’s report on the new travel pass, the premier addressed China’s governance, saying that due to the special relationship between the two sides — in which “the two sides do not recognize each other’s sovereignty, but do not deny respective jurisdictions” — people traveling between China and Taiwan have been using special passes, rather than passports, for entry, “but the pass issued by our government has ‘Republic of China’ [ROC] with the national flag on it, and we also have strict measures overseeing the entry of Chinese.”

“The unilateral move by China will not change the current relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Mao said.

“The cross-strait relationship based on the ROC Constitution and the ‘status quo’ upheld by our policy and the popular support will definitely not be altered by any unilateral Chinese move,” he said.

Mao also reiterated that according to an analysis, the capacity of the microchip embedded in the card is small, with less than 0.1 megabytes of storage.

“And [the Chinese] have informed us that the card contains one-time programming, meaning that it cannot be rewritten,” Mao said.

“They also clarified on Monday, the day of the implementation, in response to our Mainland Affairs Council’s press release, that the card is no different than the paper pass in terms of function,” Mao added.

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