Proposals to redesign the cover of the nation’s passport and rename state-run China Airlines (CAL) yesterday advanced to second readings, pending cross-caucus talks to be convened by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The DPP caucus tendered a motion to send to a second reading its proposal and one by Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) on redesigning the passport cover to highlight the marking or symbol of “Taiwan,” which was passed without objection.
The DPP’s proposal advocates any method that would emphasize the English and Chinese-language use of “Taiwan” on the cover, while Chen’s proposal seeks to replace the words on the cover with just “Taiwan (臺灣).”
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Chen cited the government as saying that as it strives to share with the world the nation’s achievements in containing the spread of COVID-19, the current passport design — whose cover bears the words “Republic of China” and “Taiwan” — could cause Taiwanese to be misidentified as Chinese and fall prey to discrimination.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some major nations to change their stance toward China, which could be followed by adjustments to their China policies, he said, adding that in this context, Taiwan should set itself apart from China, especially as Chinese state propaganda claims that Taiwan is part of its territory.
Chen said that his proposal, which was cosponsored by DPP legislators Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾), as well as 11 other lawmakers, would allow people to choose between a redesigned passport and the current version.
As nations have imposed entry restrictions amid the pandemic, Taiwanese are often flagged at immigration and resigned to explaining that they are from Taiwan, not China, Wang said, adding that the confusion could negatively affect Taiwan’s trade.
The proposal would not involve a constitutional amendment, as it only deals with the markings on passports, so relevant agencies should be able to promptly address the matter flexibly, he said.
Wang said that he supports retaining the Chinese-language title “Republic of China,” while using “Taiwan” to signal the nation’s English-language title to “minimize disagreement domestically and maximize the distinction abroad.”
Meanwhile, the DPP and the New Power Party (NPP) caucuses each tendered a proposal to rename China Airlines.
The DPP’s proposal says that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications should meet with relevant agencies to devise plans to repaint its aircraft in ways that would highlight Taiwan or its symbols, on the condition that such actions would not affect the nation’s air rights.
The NPP’s motion calls for the “China Airlines” logo to be minimized and the word “Taiwan” or its outline to be added to aircraft fuselages, following reports of European nations confusing shipments of medical supplies donated by the government with those from China.
Both proposals say that any forthcoming design must make a distinction between China Airlines and Chinese state-run Air China.
The DPP caucus is responsible for scheduling cross-caucus negotiations on the proposals to redesign the passport, while the NPP and the DPP would jointly be responsible for scheduling talks on renaming China Airlines, Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.
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