Newly-launched Chinese residence permit a political tactic

Applications went live on Saturday for a new identity card granting citizens of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan access to a wide range of public services.

China’s issuing of residence permits for residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan with effect from Saturday is part of a ploy by China to bring Taiwan into its political fold, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.

The appearance of the permit, which carries an 18-digit code, is almost identical to a Chinese identification card and is aimed at belittling Taiwan’s sovereignty, the MAC said.

While Beijing claimed that the new policy will allow Taiwanese residents better access to public services, the MAC said it is part of China’s united front strategy that will benefit itself instead of Taiwan.

China is also being irresponsible because it has never addressed public concerns about what risks applicants might be exposed to once they become permit holders, the MAC said.

The MAC urged Beijing to withdraw the political ploy and contribute to mutual-trust and peaceful development between both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The MAC said previously that Taiwanese citizens in China should be aware that the residence permit could pose a risk to personal privacy, particularly in light of Beijing’s current efforts to install a vast network of video surveillance cameras and facial recognition technologies as a means of social control.

The MAC said it will seek to find out more about the difference between the new residence permit and the temporary residence card that is currently issued to Taiwanese nationals working and living in China.

According to China’s State Council, the permits will be readable at electronic terminals at railway stations, airports, banks and other places, and will make life easier for holders who are studying and working on the mainland.

Residents from Taiwan wishing to apply for the residence permit are not required to have household registration in China, but they should have resided in mainland China for more than six months, and must have a stable job and a place of residence.