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September 26, 2017

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Nationals without right of abode complicate visa waiver

ID card. As a matter of fact, the ID card shows one's identity as entered in one's domiciliary register.

On the other hand, all of us know there are no such ID cards for Americans and British people. They have to produce birth certificates to prove their right of abode and nationality in order to obtain passports. In the United Kingdom, the government has tried to introduce an ID card, which, however, is opposed by people as an encroachment on their civil rights. That is why most of our people are puzzled by the reality in Taiwan that there are a number of "others" who have no right of abode in the Republic of China and yet carry its passports.

The Republic of China has millions of overseas Chinese around the world. They are ethnic Chinese resident abroad, who may carry Republic of China passports. Almost all of them were born or naturalized citizens of their host countries, but they can apply for and acquire Republic of China passports. In particular, quite a large number of mainland Chinese studying abroad at the time of the Tiananmen Massacre of June 4, 1989 did not want to return home and were allowed to have Republic of China passports. All these Republic of China nationals have no rights of abode because they have not been registered by its domiciliary registration offices in the Republic of China. If they want to come to Taiwan, they have to apply for entry permission.

Simply put, these Republic of China nationals abroad have no ID cards like their brethren born and brought up in Taiwan. The agreement reached between the American and Taiwan passport control authorities aims at prevention of abuse of the visa-free status of the Republic of China by those who carry passports illegally acquired from those Republic of China nationals without the right of abode in Taiwan. Any such abuse can be easily prevented by requiring any Republic of China passport holder to produce his Republic of China ID card. Our ID cards are truly hard to fake. Besides, almost all of them store fingerprint records of the holders. All American immigration officers have to do at airports or seaports is to find whether Republic of China nationals coming from anywhere in the world carry the ID cards with their passports or not. Those who cannot produce the cards are denied entry. Why not make an extra use of the ID card, which originated as a Certificate of a Good National (良民証) in occupied China by order of the Japanese occupation army? That original certificate was created to tell apart those Chinese living in the occupied territory of China from the Chinese in the hinterland controlled by President Chiang Kai-shek.

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