A Taiwanese tourist in Switzerland was barred from participating in a scheduled tour of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) on Tuesday, leading to an outcry on social media.

Yulin Tsai arrived at the UNOG office for an afternoon tour of the facilities, showing security staff her passport and national ID card. Tsai was turned away and told that “the UN does not accept” her passport or ID card, according to Taiwanese media.

UN Geneva. Photo: Wikicommons.

Tsai claims in a Facebook post that she tried to convince UNOG staff to let her in but ultimately they told her that “Taiwan is a part of a China” and advised her to “come back with [her] Chinese passport or national identification.”

[本文可以分享]2015年9月15日15點20分左右我在日內瓦旅行,打算進去聯合國歐洲總部參觀,參加他們每天的導覽團 (嗯,其實真正的目的也不是想參觀,而是想去紀念品店買個聯合國馬克杯做紀念。)。我八年前來過一次,現在是第二次。…

Posted by 蔡淯鈴 on 2015年9月15日

Photo: Wikicommons.

“China has been accelerating the constriction of Taiwan’s living space,” she concludes. “[Taiwan] is like a frog in slowly boiling water. Don’t be fooled by [China’s] sugar-coating: one’s country can only rely on oneself”

Lost identity.
Tsai’s Facebook post describing her experience has been shared over 11,000 times within just two days, going viral first in Taiwan and then in Hong Kong, where many locals sympathised with her apparent sense of lost identity.

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, retained China’s seat in the United Nationals and UN Security Council after Chiang Kai-shek’s government was forced to retreat to the island by the advance of Mao’s Communist forces.

In 1971, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 transferred representation to Beijing, forcing Taiwan out of the assembly and making it one of the world’s few sovereign states with no representation in the United Nations.

UNOG spokesperson Rhéal LeBlanc told Taiwanese media that although the UN does not recognise the ROC passport, Taiwanese people can still enter the offices using a valid driver’s license or other ID, stressing that the UN welcomes all people to visit.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others