Foreign Minister Says Stickers on Taiwan Passport Covers Are Illegal

Foreign Minister Says Stickers on Taiwan Passport Covers Are Illegal
Photo Credit:自由台灣黨

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The Bureau of Consular Affairs points out the actions violate the part of the Enforcement Rules of Passports that state, "Other than filling in relevant information and signatures, passport holders are not authorized to make any alterations to the passports."

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Chairman of the Free Taiwan Party Tsay Ting-kuei called on the people to “turn themselves in" to the Bureau of Consular Affairs with “Taiwan country" passports held in their hands. Tsay requested the police to arrest him and the others but the police only blocked them from entering the building, refusing to let them apply for passports. The angry crowd threw the “Taiwan country" passports at the bureau in protest.

ETtoday reports, recently there have been stickers designed to cover the national emblem on the Taiwan passport and has set off a wave of demand on the Internet. On September 23, legislator Tsai Chin-lung questioned is it illegal if someone posts a tutorial on the Internet on how to stick the stickers onto the cover of the passport?

Foreign Minister David Lin says it is illegal, and the Bureau of Consular Affairs points out the actions violate the part of the Enforcement Rules of Passports that state, “Other than filling in relevant information and signatures, passport holders are not authorized to make any alterations to the passports."

The Free Taiwan Party subsequently launched an event to turn themselves in to the bureau with “Taiwan country" passports in hand on September 25 to see if the police will arrest the citizens.

Taiwan People News reports, the protesters held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 25 with a large print-out of the “illegal" passports at the scene. They say many people have gone to the five major continents in the world with the “Taiwan country" passports and haven’t been asked whether they belong to the People’s Republic of China or Republic of China. Things are only made difficult for people holding Republic of China passports.

The passport stickers have six designs and Taiwan Passport Stickers points out on their Facebook page that putting the stickers on passport covers doesn’t violate any laws. As long as the stickers aren’t stuck on the pages inside the passport and don’t affect function of the chip, they do not violate the Enforcement Rules of Passports.

On July 21, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that stickers or changing the words on passport covers not only might lead to being refused a visa but also lead to problems at customs. On September 22, the designer of the stickers, Chen Zhi-hao, said on Facebook that the stickers were created directed against these issues. Chen says the idea behind the stickers come from netizens that travel a lot saying that the words “Republic of China" on passport covers often lead to foreign customs mistaking Taiwanese for Chinese.

Translated by Olivia Yang

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