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Taiwan traveler with Chinese passport sparks nationality controversy

2017/11/06 21:23:01

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Taiwan's authorities have promised to restore the personal identification documents of a Taiwanese man after his Republic of China (Taiwan) household registration and passport were canceled following a trip to Russia with a temporary Chinese passport last month.

The man surnamed Yen (顏) was part of a 20-member group from Taiwan that went on a five-day tour of China and Vladivostok in Russia, organized by a Taiwan travel agency in October. The agency helped the travelers obtain Chinese passports after they arrived in Changchun in the northeast of China on Oct. 4, which provided them visa-free entry into Russia, according to a United Daily News report on Monday.

According to Chinese law, only Chinese nationals are eligible to apply for a Chinese passport. In other words, Taiwanese travelers holding Chinese passports for travel to Russia are considered Chinese nationals.

However, the temporary passport contains a specification that indicates it is "Valid for single exit and entry with tourist group only."

Despite this provision, on returning to Taiwan on Oct. 8, Yen was notified in late October by the local household registration office in Taichung that his Taiwanese household registration and passport had been canceled because he holds a Chinese passport valid for up to three months, according to the report.

Yen was also informed that his household registration and Taiwan ID card would be restored once he produces a document to prove the Chinese passport has been revoked, a Taichung household registration office official said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that if the Ministry of the Interior agrees to restore the man's nationality status, he will be able to reapply for a new ROC passport.

MOFA said that according to Taiwan's law, only ROC nationals with household registration in Taiwan are eligible to apply for an ROC passport and upon applying for a People's Republic of China (PRC) passport are disqualified from having household registration in Taiwan and an ROC passport.

However, if the Interior Ministry agrees to allow Yen to restore his nationality status, he can reapply for a ROC passport and MOFA's Bureau of Consular Affairs will help him with the application.

The Taichung household registration office said that if Yen wants to restore his household registration, he must file a notary application with the Taichung District Court and commission a legal agent to cancel his Chinese passport. Once that has been done and he has a document proving the nullification of the PRC passport he can apply to restore his Taiwan nationality and household registration.

(By Huang Li-yun and Evelyn Kao)