Taiwan’s New Passport Shrinks ‘Republic of China’


Taiwan on Monday released a new passport that puts a diplomatic spin on the concept of social distancing amid the pandemic.

The self-governing island’s official name, Republic of China, has been downsized, though it remains on the cover in Chinese characters. The words “Taiwan Passport” appear in large bold type. The government said early in the pandemic that it was all an attempt to lessen confusion surrounding its citizens traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, and to disassociate them from people coming from mainland China as many countries rushed to bar entry to Chinese travelers.

“Today is the day,” Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, said in an Instagram post on Monday evening. “The big TAIWAN on the cover will accompany the people of the country to travel around the world, and it will also make the international community more unable to ignore the existence of Taiwan,” she wrote. (She also boasted that in the past year, Taiwan had successfully slowed the spread of the virus while maintaining economic growth.)

The passport change is the latest salvo in the tense relationship between the island and China, which considers Taiwan its own territory and has long warned that it must ultimately unite with the mainland.



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