The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday refuted a Taiwanese woman’s claims that her passport was temporarily confiscated by the Taipei Representative Office in the UK on Wednesday for covering the national emblem on her passport with a sticker.
The woman, surnamed Pang, posted an article on Wednesday night on a Facebook page called “Taiwanese in Europe,” saying that an official at the representative office threatened to seize her passport if she refused to remove a sticker on the cover of her passport.
“I just went to the Taipei Representative Office in the UK to apply for the authentication of my marriage certificate. I was asked to tear the sticker covering the ‘party emblem’ [of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)]’ — which the official said is our national emblem — off my passport, or my application would be denied,” Pang said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei
Both the emblems of the Republic of China (ROC) and the KMT feature a white sun on a blue background. The difference is that the rays of the sun on the KMT party emblem are longer than those on the ROC emblem.
Refusing to comply, Pang said she told the official that it did not matter if her marriage was also recognized in Taiwan and that she wanted to revoke her application.
“Then the official dangled my passport in front of me, saying he could not give back my passport if I did not remove the sticker,” Pang said.
Pang’s message quickly galvanized a heated debate on the Internet. Some netizens questioned the legitimacy of the official’s alleged actions, while others said the incident served as proof that the White Terror era was far from over.
The designer of the “Republic of Taiwan” sticker, who identified himself as Lao Tan (老丹), urged the ministry to explain why a public servant has the mandate to confiscate a passport.
“Even if the official returned the passport to the woman in the end, such a douche bag public servant deserves to be disciplined,” Lao Tan said.
The ministry issued a statement yesterday saying the representative office only explained to Pang Taiwan’s ban on alterations or stickers on passports and asked her to remove the sticker to safeguard the nation’s dignity and official state name.
“The citizen contended that what the sticker covered was the [KMT’s] party emblem,” the ministry said.
“The official later returned the passport to the woman, but asked her to tear off the sticker. He also witnessed her signing a Chinese-language translation of her marriage certificate before issuing her a receipt,” it said.
The ministry said the woman’s account of what happened was untrue, adding that according to the law, representative offices can only advise people to remove stickers on their passports and do not have the authority to confiscate travel documents.
The ministry proposed an addendum to the Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act (護照條例施行細則) in November last year, which took effect in January, banning any modifications of the nation’s passport design.
GREATER NUMBER: The sorties might have been a response to the US and the EU expressing concern on Friday over China’s ‘provocations’ in the Taiwan Strait Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her