Beijing may punish Taiwanese in China who travel home for National Day celebrations

Beijing has ordered Immigration agents to record identities of Taiwanese citizens who travel home in the weeks preceding the Oct. 10 National Holiday

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Taiwan's Presidential Building decorated for the Oct.10, celebration in 2017

Taiwan's Presidential Building decorated for the Oct.10, celebration in 2017 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Communist authorities in Beijing may be preparing to punish Taiwanese citizens residing in China, and potentially other nations in Southeast Asia, if they travel home to Taiwan for the “Double Ten” National Day Celebrations this year.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) have issued a notice requiring immigration officers at international airports in China to record the identities of Taiwanese citizens that travel back to Taiwan in the weeks preceding Taiwan’s 107th ‘Double Ten’ celebration on Oct. 10

Taiwanese citizens residing in China will reportedly be added to a list that will be kept by Beijing authorities if they leave China in the 20 day period preceding Taiwan’s national holiday, reports Hong Kong-based Asia Times.

UDN reported last week that Chinese embassies in Southeast Asia had also sent out messages to travel agencies in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia, sending a soft warning and asking the agencies to urge Taiwanese customers not to return home to participate in the national celebrations.

It remains unclear what the name lists collected by Chinese immigration officers might be used for, but reports speculate that the process for re-entering China may be intentionally complicated in the future for those who travel home to Taiwan during this period.

Those holding entry permits to China may possibly have them revoked, reports Asia Times, while UDN suggests those who book their travel from Southeast Asian countries through companies in communication with the Chinese Embassies, may have future applications to enter China denied.

The most recent notices from the TAO and the CAAC are blatant attempts to coerce private citizens into foregoing travel home to Taiwan. This is only the latest tactic in Beijing’s intensifying efforts to suppress Taiwan’s autonomy and claim Taiwanese citizens as political subjects of Beijing.

It was reported in 2017 that over 6,300 overseas Taiwanese returned to Taiwan to celebrate the Double Ten holiday with their families and friends, which was the highest number in six years, according to a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Overseas Community Affairs Council.

Beijing may be concerned that such a trend of increasing participation in the country’s national celebration by overseas Taiwanese is a reflection of the diminishing influence of Chinese propaganda among Taiwanese people living in China, and among Taiwanese communities abroad.