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Taiwan 'extremely dissatisfied' as China adopts new travel pass

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) China did not consult with Taiwan before implementing a new policy concerning the entry of Taiwanese visitors into its territory, Premier Mao Chi-kuo (???) said Monday, adding that Taiwan is "extremely dissatisfied" about the lack of discussions. "It has to be stated quite clearly that this is extremely hurtful to the feelings of our people," Mao said when answering questions at the Legislative Yuan. The Chinese side notified Taipei about the new electronic card before its trial in July and its full implementation Monday without prior consultations, said Lin Chu-chia (???), deputy chief of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Cabinet agency responsible for relations with China. There has been a lack of consultation despite Taiwan's persistent demand that there should be prior consultations before any important policy concerning cross-Taiwan Strait relations is announced, Lin said at the Legislative Yuan. Taiwan has asked Beijing whether the use of the new card might be expanded but no response has been received to date, Lin added. The new credit card-sized travel pass has been introduced to replace the passport-style document that Taiwanese citizens have used to enter mainland China until now. This document is used instead of a passport because Beijing views Taiwan as part of China and maintains that the two sides should be united one day. In the public notice issued on Sept. 15, the Chinese government said Taiwan residents can apply to its public security departments above the county level to exchange their travel document for the new card. Chinese authorities will stop issuing paper documents on Sept. 21, the notice said. Those who do not exchange their current paper document can continue to use them until they expire, according to Lin. To coincide with the introduction of the new card, China began in July to grant permit-free treatment to Taiwanese visitors, which removed the need for an entry permit similar to a visa. The IC card system for Taiwanese travelers was implemented on a trial basis July 1, less than a month after China announced the change, and Taiwan was officially informed of the new policy 20 minutes before it took effect, according to MAC chief Hsia Li-yan (???). China's unilateral decision to adopt the new card on such short notice showed disrespect for Taiwan, Hsia said during a visit to the United States in July. China's change to the smart card was viewed with suspicion among many in Taiwan, who questioned whether it was designed to downgrade Taiwan's status to that of Hong Kong and Macau. The card is similar to the "home visit permits" issued to residents of Hong Kong and Macau, China's two special administrative regions which used to be British and Portuguese colonies, the critics said. Some Taiwanese scholars have also expressed concerns over possible information security breaches with the use of the card. Experts have said that the smart chip embedded in the card would make it easy for Taiwanese tourists in China to be subjected to police surveillance. (By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Jay Chen)

Updated : 2021-09-26 11:34 GMT+08:00