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Taiwan citizens not allowed to hold temporary Chinese passport: MAC

2017/11/07 22:32:07

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top authority on cross-strait affairs, announced on Tuesday that Taiwan citizen are not allowed to hold a Chinese passport, even those specified as valid for only single exit and entry trips with tour groups.

The Cabinet-level institution issued the warning after a Taiwanese man had his Republic of China (Taiwan) household registration and passport canceled on returning from a tour to China and Russia in early October.

Citing the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the MAC said the law clearly stipulates "the people of the Taiwan Area may not have household registrations in the Mainland Area or hold passports issued by the Mainland Area."

The act was designed to prevent people having dual identities, which would create conflicting rights and obligations and was developed based on national security and interest concerns, the MAC noted.

It urged people and tour agencies to refrain from violating the law for the sake of greater convenience when traveling overseas. The government advises travelers to get visas before setting off to visit other countries, the MAC said.

According to the act, those with household registrations in the Mainland Area or who hold passports issued by China will have their status as a resident of the Taiwan Area revoked, including, their right to participate in elections, recalls, referendums, serve in the military, hold public office and any other rights derived from their household registration.

At the same time, although an individual's household registration in Taiwan is revoked, the responsibilities and obligations that derive from being a citizen of the Taiwan Area remain, the act indicates.

The man, surnamed Yen (顏), who had his passport and household registration canceled, 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 early October, according to a local newspaper report the previous day.

The agency reportedly helped the travelers obtain temporary Chinese passports after they arrived in Changchun in the northeast of China on Oct 4. The passports provided them with visa-free entry into Russia.

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, despite the fact that the passport Yen received in China contained a specification that it was "Valid for single exit and entry with tourist group only."

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

The report also said that some tour agencies help Taiwan travelers apply for temporary Chinese passports if they are visiting Russia to avoid a visa fee of NT$3,000 (US$99) and the drawn-out visa application process.

Normally the Chinese side does not inform Taiwan authorities who holds Chinese passports, the report said.

Yen's case is the first reported case involving a temporary Chinese passport, the MAC said, which differs from the sort of passports envisioned in the cross-strait legislation.

As such, the relevant authorities are convening a meeting to study the case and clarify the government's official response, the MAC said.

At the same time, the authorities have indicated they will do everything possible to help Yen resolve his current predicament.

(By Miu Chung-han and Elizabeth Hsu)