Taiwan Minimizes ‘Republic of China’ in Redesigned Passport

Taiwan has unveiled a redesigned passport in an effort to stop its citizens being mistaken for Chinese while traveling abroad.

The new passport omits “Republic of China” — the official name by which Taiwan refers to itself — in larger English print from the Taiwanese passport cover.

“Republic of China” remains written in Chinese, and in smaller English writing surrounding Taiwan’s official sun emblem in the center of the cover. The new passports will be issued from January.

“Many countries tightened immigration checks after Covid-19 broke out in January,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at Wednesday’s unveiling of the new design. “To help citizens avoid being falsely identified as Chinese, lawmakers agreed in July to make Taiwanese passports more recognizable and easier to distinguish from Chinese ones to uphold our citizens’ dignity.”

The redesign is the latest move by President Tsai Ing-wen to assert Taiwan’s separate status from the People’s Republic of China. While Beijing views the democratic island as part of its territory, Tsai’s government views Taiwan as a de facto independent nation.

Many supporters of Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party chafe at the official Republic of China state title, viewing it as a relic of the Chinese civil war imposed on Taiwan when Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949 after losing to Mao Zedong’s Communists.

The next high-profile name change could be for China Airlines, Taiwan’s flag carrier. Lawmakersapproved a resolution in July mandating the government to devise feasible ways to rename the airline to avoid it being mistaken for a Chinese company.

Since coming into power in 2016, Tsai has sought tostrengthen ties with the U.S. through weapons purchases and trade talks to counter increasingly assertive Chinese moves to isolate Taiwan. She hasoffered to hold talks with Beijing but only on the condition China accepts Taiwan as an equal.

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