Legislator proposes erasing ‘China’ from Taiwan’s passport cover

Passport of Taiwan features official English name, 'Republic of China,' bewildering many

DPP legislator Chung Chia-pin proposes new Taiwan passport designs. (Chung's office image)

DPP legislator Chung Chia-pin proposes new Taiwan passport designs. (Chung's office image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s foreign ministry is open to changes in the cover design of the country’s passport, as its official name, “Republic of China,” has become a source of confusion and debate.

Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Monday (April 20) proposed three passport designs at an interpellation session as reference for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). He made a case for the elimination of the word “China” on the nation’s passport to avoid misunderstandings.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, around ten complaints related to the passport’s cover are filed every year, wrote CNA.

The three different designs suggested by Chung are centered around concepts that include adopting all Chinese characters, replacing the national emblem with a map of Taiwan, and dropping Taiwan’s official English name. One of the designs incorporates the signature drink of Taiwan —bubble tea — to underscore the country’s culinary culture.

These alternatives are in line with the National Emblem and National Flag of the Republic of China Act and the Passport Act, Liberty Times quoted Chung as saying.

The lawmaker said 71 of the world’s 156 non-English speaking nations do not use English names on their passports. In another example, the passport of Switzerland features “Swiss passport” in five languages including English, German, French, Italian, and Romansh, but it does not include the country's official name, Chung added.

While taking an open attitude towards a design change, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said bipartisan consensus must be reached and public opinion heeded before the government takes action on the passport cover.

Taiwan passport (Wikimedia image)