Foreigners lament at missed opportunities in new Taiwan passport

Before (left) and after (right) picture of Taiwan passport. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock and mofa.gov.tw)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Although the new Taiwan passport cover was met with positive reactions from across Taiwan’s political spectrum, many foreigners still lamented at the missed opportunities: taking out the words “Republic of China” altogether and not giving the front cover a bigger makeover.

Big Move, Small Changes

The newest version of Taiwan’s passport will for sure include an enlarged “TAIWAN” while moving the official name of the country, “Republic of China,” into the emblem on the cover in some wee, tiny characters. 

In addition, the Chinese characters for “passport” are placed above the country’s name to emphasize our international status.

Most foreigners applauded the “long-overdue” English name-change and claimed it necessary as many countries could not differentiate between the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C., China) and Republic of China (R.O.C., Taiwan).

Many also expressed their disappointment, however, that the government didn’t use the results of “We are Taiwan” Passport Cover Design Competition initiated by the New Power Party (時代力量) to the official document to the next level.  

The winners of “We are Taiwan” Passport Cover Design Competition. (Photo courtesy of the New Power Party)

Others pointed out that the term R.O.C. was eventually minimized to encircle the national emblem, while the Chinese name still reads the Chinese equivalent of R.O.C. (中華民國). 

Foreigners also worried that the move may likely worsen the already-tense relationship between Taiwan and China.

Screengrab from Facebook
Pragmatic Compromise, Missed Opportunities

While various foreign media outlets have reiterated the Taiwanese government’s assertion that the change was to help travelers avoid being falsely identified as Chinese and stress the recognizability of Taiwan, some observers pointed out that the “R.O.C.” name has been in use for more than a century.

More importantly, immigration officers should be required to know the differences between the two regions and we shouldn’t have to switch name because they don’t know about Chinese history.

Screengrab from Facebook, Photo of old Taiwan passport via Shutterstock

Still, many applauded the “pragmatic compromise” in the passport’s re-design, and acknowledged that though the move may not be perfect, it is progress.

Screengrab from Facebook

Whether Taiwan’s new passport will be recognized by other countries still remains to be seen following its official release in January 2021.