Taiwan on Wednesday officially released its new passport design to be rolled out next year.

The new cover features “Taiwan” in a significantly larger typeface and does not include the English for “Republic of China.” Instead, the official English name can be seen wrapped around the Taiwanese emblem at the centre of the passport in considerably smaller letters. The Chinese for “Republic of China,” however, remains up top.

Photo: Wikicommons, HKFP remix.

Spokesperson for Taiwan’s Executive Yuan Evian Ting said at a press conference on Wednesday that the move to diminish the word “China” on the cover was to “avoid confusion.” The need to distinguish Taiwan from mainland China was especially important in “sensitive times” such as the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Last month, the New Power Party asked Taiwanese citizens to vote on their favourite passport cover designs in a competition called “We are Taiwan.” Some popular entries featured the island’s native animals while others included bubble tea, a popular Taiwanese drink.

Photo: We Are Taiwan competition.

The new passports will start to be rolled out in January 2021.

Taiwan has been ruled by the Republic of China government since 1945 after Japan — which occupied the island for 50 years — was defeated in the Second World War. The People’s Republic of China claims that Taiwan is one of its provinces and does not recognise it as an independent country.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.