Monday, October 26, 2020

Taiwan downgrades 'China' on new passport

Sep 02. 2020
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By The Nation

Taiwan's government has released a new design for the country's passport highlighting the English word for "Taiwan" to draw a clearer distinction between Taiwan and China.

The new cover repositions and significantly shrinks the words "Republic of China" (ROC), the country's official name, making them hard to see at first glance, while enlarging and using a bold font for "Taiwan".

The Chinese version of "Republic of China" (中華民國) remains at the top of the cover, but the English translation originally positioned below the Chinese now circles the national emblem in the middle of the cover.

Below the emblem, the word "Taiwan" has not only been made noticeably larger but also been repositioned.

At a press conference announcing the new design Wednesday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu  explained the redesign came after a resolution passed by lawmakers in July that asked the Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to highlight "Taiwan" over "China" on the passport cover.

MOFA has notified the International Air Transport Association, foreign governments, airports, airlines and immigration authorities around the world about the passport cover change and sent them samples of the new cover, Wu said.

The new passport is scheduled to be issued in January 2021. People using existing passports can continue to use them until they expire, Wu said.

In a resolution passed on July 22, lawmakers asked MOFA to update the passport to highlight "Taiwan" over "China" and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to devise "feasible" ways to rename state-run China Airlines (CAL) to differentiate it from its Chinese counterpart.

The word "China" in Taiwan's official name has resulted in Taiwanese citizens being mistaken for nationals from mainland China, lawmakers argued, though no estimates have been given of how many travellers have actually been affected in that way.

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