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Is Taiwan’s international status being downgraded once again? On September 15, Taiwanese netizen Cai Yu-ling traveling in Switzerland said on Facebook that she had planned to visit the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). The receptionist at the entrance asked Cai to present her passport, but after she showed her Taiwanese passport, the receptionist said that her passport was not valid and asked her to present her ID.

After showing her ID, Cai was rejected by the UN staff member, saying that the UN does not accept Taiwanese passports and IDs, and she cannot enter. The receptionist further stressed that Taiwan is a part of China, and required Cai to show a Chinese passport or ID. The netizen left in anger. In addition to criticizing the discrimination of the UN, Cai thinks that China has been oppressing Taiwan at an international level. “It’s like boiling a frog," she says.

Cai also says, “I am Taiwanese, and I only have a Taiwan passport. Taiwan is not a part of China and I have never been Chinese. That means it’s impossible for me to hold a Chinese passport or ID. The thing you want doesn’t even exist. This is discrimination."

This is not the first time Taiwanese citizens have been rejected when visiting the UN offices. Earlier this year in the Facebook group, “Taiwanese in Europe," another netizen Wang Min-xuan shared her experience of being rejected from visiting UNOG. Wang says that it’s painful to feel that others don’t accept our country. She went on the official website of UNOG, but did not find specific regulations regarding visitors. It’s also controversial in Internet discussions about whether or not Taiwanese passport holders can visit UNOG.

Photo Credit: Abbygail ET Wu @ Flickr CC BY ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Abbygail ET Wu @ Flickr CC BY ND 2.0

According to the Taiwanese diplomatic staff, the required documents for visiting UNOG have been unsettled among Taiwan, Switzerland and the UN. The main reason is that Taiwan is not a UN member. Officers in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Geneva also talk about the plight of Taiwan internationally. For nearly 20 years, many people have been striving for Taiwan’s stand. However, since Taiwan is not a member of the UN, they receive information slower than other countries, and its stand will not be taken seriously.

Even so, Taiwan’s diplomatic staff is not discouraged. They emphasize that we should not grief and there is still a long way to go. The way of doing things will change when it comes to the next generation, as will the environment. People have to remain optimistic.

Apple Daily reports, it says that anyone who holds valid identity documents may visit the office on the official website of UNOG. But the reporter has received different responses from UNOG. There is an officer who makes it clear that ROC passport holders are restricted from visiting the office, but the service center claims that only citizens of UN member states can visit, which makes the situation confusing and contradictory.

After the reporter pursued the question, UNOG spokesperson Rhéal LeBlanc officially responded to this issue, saying that although the UN does not recognize the ROC passport, but Taiwanese people can still visit the office with a valid driver’s license or ID. LeBlanc also stresses that the UN welcomes people all around the world to visit.

Translated by Vic
Edited by Olivia Yang