TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--- A group of Taiwanese college students and a professor were denied a visit to United Nations human rights public gallery in Geneva this Monday for not being able to present documents other than a Taiwan passport.
A professor and three students from the Department of Labor Relations, National Chung Cheng University flew to Geneva this week to visit the public gallery at the UN human rights office but two students were blocked for not having UN-recognized identifications.
Though each member of group was checked by a different UN staffer, all were told their Taiwan passports were not accepted as identification. The professor, Liuhuang Li-chaun (劉黃麗娟), and another student, Chen, were allowed to enter after they showed their international driver license.
The other two were asked to present Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents, also called Taiwan Compatriot Permits or Taiwan resident cards, along with their Taiwan passports.
"A Taiwan Compatriot Permit is the document that we present when we’re traveling to China and since when has it been used as the official identification for us,” questioned one of the rejected students surnamed Hsieh.
Issued by the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China (MPS), the permit is a substitute for a Taiwan passport, which is considered invalid by the Chinese government, for Taiwan citizens traveling in China.
According to Liuhuang, one of the staff said loudly to the students, “Taiwan is not a country” and asked them to present documents from countries recognized by the UN.
The professor said that the rejection contradicted the core value of the UN --- to protect and improve all people’s human rights. “They should go beyond the nationality,” she said.
UN officials’ recognition of the Chinese travel permit worries people in Taiwan, especially after the rejection to attend World Health Assembly (WHA) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference earlier this month.
Liuhuang also said that Taiwan government needs to respond properly to prevent it from becoming “normal.”
From being barred from attending international events to Panama cutting ties with Taiwan, international recognition of the country is diminishing. Many believe that it is a result of China’s interpretation of “One-China Policy.” Chinese government is becoming more aggressive in blocking countries and international organizations from recognizing Taiwan.
One day after the group was denied visit to the UN public gallery in Geneva, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in her response to the diplomatic relations with Panama that Taiwan is a sovereign country and it cannot be changed or traded.
“But what can you do when your people are required to present document issued by China as official identification?” asked one of the students.