Authorities in Taiwan have announced that the country’s passport has been redesigned, in order to avoid confusion between their nationals and nationals of the People’s Republic of China.
The main change in the passport is that it highlights the name of the country making the word “Taiwan” larger, while the words “Republic of China” have been shrunk.
Taiwan’s officials unveiled the new passport during a ceremony, which was held on Wednesday, VisaGuide.World reports.
The decision came after Taiwan passport holders continuously faced difficulties during travel amid the Coronavirus outbreak, as a large share of countries mistakenly confused the passport, as Taiwan’s official name “Republic of China” led them to think that they were coming from the People’s Republic of China where the outbreak was first taking place in the city of Wuhan.
Even though Taiwan is considered independent for all practical purposes, China insists that it is a breakaway province.
“Since the beginning of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak this year, our people have kept hoping that we can give more prominence to Taiwan’s visibility, avoiding people to mistakenly think that they are from China,” Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu pointed out.
Since the Coronavirus outbreak, the authorities in Taiwan have managed to keep the situation under control, while the number of infections remains low, compared to its neighbouring countries. Besides, Taiwan’s government stressed that some countries had imposed the same restrictions on Taiwanese citizens as they had on China’s citizens.
However, due to its lack of membership in the United Nations, the World Health Organization forbids Taiwan from attending its emergency meetings regarding the Coronavirus pandemic situation.
China insisted that only Beijing is authorised to speak for Taiwan at World Health Organization meetings, which led to claims that China’s interference affected Taiwan’s ability to manage public health and safety during the pandemic.
According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the passports of 199 countries based on travel freedom for their citizens, Taiwan is considered the world’s 33rd most powerful passport, while its citizens are permitted to travel to 146 visa-free countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Australia New Zealand and all countries of the European Union and the Schengen Area.
In contrast, Chinese citizens are allowed to enter only 74 countries visa-free, but none of those mentioned above countries featured, while its passport it is the 70th most powerful passport worldwide.