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China's new travel card identical to document in use: MAC

China's new travel card identical to document in use: MAC

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Amid concerns about a new electronic entry card China is issuing to Taiwanese visitors, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Tuesday the card's function is identical to the paper document Taiwanese have used previously to enter China. MAC deputy chief Lin Chu-chia (???) said information stored in the new card, which looks like a credit card with the bearer's picture, is no different from the previous paper document, known formally as the Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents. The chip embedded in the card has no radio frequency function and cannot be tracked, and information is entered once and cannot be altered, Lin said. "As far as an information security breach is concerned, the public has no need to be overly worried," Lin said. Taiwan's government has insisted the card does not go beyond the paper document's function as a travel document allowing Taiwanese to enter and exit China, and that is how things appear to be so far, Lin said. Some Taiwanese scholars have expressed concerns over possible information security breaches with the use of the card, and experts have speculated that the smart chip embedded in the card may make it easy for police in China to track the movements of Taiwanese tourists. Asked if China has made any promises on the card's use, Lin said no, but due to public misgivings, the government hopes the card will only be used for travel and not be expanded to other purposes. He also reiterated that Taiwan was "extremely dissatisfied" that China began full implementation of the plan on Monday on short notice and hoped that major policies in the future will be first discussed by the MAC and China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) before being implemented. Lin's comments came a day after China began the full implementation of the new card on Monday after starting a trial run in July. MAC Chief Hsia Li-yan (???) said Tuesday that after Premier Mao Chi-kuo (???) expressed Taiwan's "extreme dissatisfaction" over the lack of prior discussions, the TAO issued a statement to clarify the matter. Hsia said a check of the new card showed that it uses "write once, read many" data storage technology, is equipped with only 0.1 MB of storage, and has no radio frequency or tracking functions. "Information such as biometrics cannot be stored in the card," he said. While China has touted the convenience the card brings to Taiwanese travelers to the mainland, the new card has been viewed with suspicion among many in Taiwan, who have 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, respectively. Taiwanese cannot use their Republic of China (Taiwan) passports to travel to China because Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and refuses to acknowledge that self-governed Taiwan is a sovereign entity. (By Yin Chun-chieh, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-01-21 01:42 GMT+08:00