TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following the announcement that Taiwanese citizens living in China would be eligible for a smart residence card starting from September, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen cautioned Taiwanese citizens against misunderstanding the purpose of the permit.
Speaking in Belize on Friday, Aug. 17 President Tsai said that the permit being issued by the Chinese government was simply a “residence permit” that would make life more convenient for Taiwanese people living in China, and that “this is something different than identity.”
The new smart residency permits for Taiwanese people, as well as those from Hong Kong and Macau were announced earlier last week by China’s State Council, with an official document outlining the application procedure released on Sunday, Aug. 19.
President Tsai has emphasized that the residence cards and the “31 incentives” of Beijing for Taiwanese people should be considered with caution for their political implications.
Both are part of a campaign to use economic incentives to drain talent from Taiwan and integrate young Taiwanese professionals into the Chinese economy and legal bureaucracy.
Even though the Chinese authorities and international media will promote the residence permits as “Identity Cards,” Taiwanese people living and working in China should not consider them as an immutable statement of their national identity.
The cards are “just a tool, to reside there, and to live conveniently.” Tsai said she believes that Taiwanese people, no matter where they are living, still recognize the important values of freedom and democracy.
Whether in China, or any other country of the world, a residence permit does not make a Taiwanese citizen the political subject of the issuing authority.