Overseas Taiwanese urge removal of 'Republic of China' from passport

46 Taiwanese associations issue joint statement expressing concern over being mistaken as Chinese nationals

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Taiwanese overseas urge government to remove "Republic of China" from the country's passport. 

Taiwanese overseas urge government to remove "Republic of China" from the country's passport.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Close to 50 Taiwanese associations overseas joined together on Wednesday (April 15) to call for the removal of the "Republic of China" from the English name on the Taiwanese passport.

In an effort to prevent Taiwanese from being mistaken as Chinese nationals, 46 Taiwanese groups from abroad issued a joint statement Wednesday and requested the government use "Taiwan" as the only English name on the country's passport. Among the groups were the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations, the Taiwanese Association of America, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the European Federation of Taiwan Health Alliance, as well as Taiwanese associations from Germany, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

The statement pointed out that the term "Republic of China" has caused troubles for many Taiwanese, since it often confuses foreign immigration officers who are unfamiliar with the island nation or its cross-strait relations. It added that the term creates a false impression of the Taiwanese population and damages its interests.

The statement noted that several Taiwanese overseas have encountered problems applying for visas and immigration documents due to the nation's ambiguous English name, with many being listed as citizens of the People's Republic of China. It emphasized that there have been incidents of Taiwanese being denied entry into different countries despite their visa-free agreements with the island nation.

The groups exclaimed that the Taiwanese abroad fully support the country's sovereignty and are proud of its democracy. They urged the government to listen to the people's voices and "let Taiwan be Taiwan."

In fact, the groups are not alone in their concerns over the potentially-misleading name on the Taiwanese passport.

A survey conducted by the New Power Party (NPP) in March shows that over 70 percent of Taiwanese support removing the "Republic of China" from their passports and replacing it with "Taiwan." For the party affiliations of survey respondents, 90 percent of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members indicated their preference for the name change, while 75 percent of Taiwan People's Party (TPP) members and 52 percent of Kuomintang (KMT) members were also in favor of the measure.