Taiwan redesigned its passport to avoid confusion with Chinese citizens

The inscription “Republic of China” has become much smaller.

Left is the old version, right is the new Photo by David Chang, EPA

Taiwan introduced the design of a new passport, with the word “Taiwan” increased and the inscription “Republic of China” reduced. Previously, it was applied in large letters at the top of the document, and now it is inscribed in a circle around the coat of arms.

According to the government of Taiwan, the redesign was needed to avoid confusion between the citizens of the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The need to change the design arose during the coronavirus pandemic. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a press conference that the countries imposed the same restrictions on Taiwanese citizens as they did for Chinese citizens, believing that they were from the same country.

Forbes notes that the passport confusion has arisen “long ago.” Airport officials and border guards often deny entry to Taiwanese citizens when they de facto qualify for entry. According to the Henley Passport Index , Taiwan residents can travel visa-free to 146 countries, including the UK, the US and the EU. With a Chinese passport, you can enter 74 countries without a visa, while in these countries you need an entry permit.

In 1949, after the civil war in China, the communists declared the mainland the People’s Republic of China, while the nationalists fled to Taiwan and named it the Republic of China. Since then, Taiwan has governed itself independently, has its own army and currency, but most countries do not recognize it. Beijing insists that Taiwan is its province.

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