Whether the new national identification card should include an image of the Republic of China (ROC) flag is not a political issue, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said at a news conference yesterday.
Hsu made the remarks in response to comments that “a nation is not a nation” if its identification documents do not carry its flag, or that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has an “ulterior motive” in wanting to exclude the flag.
Showing six previous versions of the card, Hsu said that the versions issued in 1947, 1954, 1965 and 1976 did not depict the national flag.
Photo: Huang Hsin-po, Taipei Times
The cards did not carry the ROC flag until the fifth version, issued in 1986, he said.
National identification documents in many countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Germany and Sweden, do not include the national flag and instead depict national emblems, flowers or birds, he said.
“Not even China has its national flag on national identification documents,” Hsu said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said that without the national flag on the card, it would be difficult to tell what nation the cardholder belongs to.
“If food products are labeled as false advertising when they do not contain the main ingredient, then what ulterior motive does the Tsai administration have for issuing a card that does not carry either the nation’s name or its national flag?” Huang asked.
“Our nation is a sovereign, independent nation, as evidenced by the fact that we use passports when leaving the country and not personal identification cards,” the minister said.
As a document that is used primarily within domestic borders, the national flag symbol on the national identification card should not be equated with issues of sovereignty, nor should the issue be politicized, he said.
The planned version of the card is still under discussion and would not be decided until next year, Hsu said, adding that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) have instructed the ministry to maintain an open mind and listen to public opinion.
The new document would be designed on the basis of providing maximum protection with minimal exposure of information, Hsu said.
While it has been decided that the new card would be merged with citizen digital certificates, it would be up to the individual whether their new card would also function as a National Health Insurance card, he said.
Once the final design has been approved, the public would be asked to change their cards starting in October next year, he said.
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