Taiwan's pro-independence opposition party is distributing 10,000 "Taiwan is my country" passport stickers to the people to protest against the island's depiction as part of China in the new Chinese passport.
"We want our international friends to clearly see that Taiwan is a sovereign state, not part of China," said Wang Min-sheng, spokesman for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Designed to be pasted on the back cover of the Taiwanese passport, the sticker shows eight countries of the South China Sea, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore, plus a highlighted Taiwan - embellished with a smiley face - and its offshore islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Orchid and Penghu.
The disputed Spratlys, a cluster of uninhabited islets believed to sit on gas and oil reserves and which is claimed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan's Kuomintang government, is conspicuously absent.
China had caused an uproar in Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines last week after its new biometric passport, in use since May, was found to contain maps demarcating both Taiwan and the Spratlys as part of Chinese territory.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council issued separate statements denouncing the passport as "inappropriate" and "provocative".
Wang, who is also an aide to DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang, told The Straits Times yesterday that the Ma administration had not done enough to protest against China's "serious violation of our sovereignty".
The DPP's sticker, he added, was designed by the party's information department and would be dispatched to the party's offices across Taiwan either today or tomorrow for distribution to the public.
Responding to the move, the foreign affairs ministry yesterday urged the public to not use the stickers on their passports, saying it might invalidate the document.
Lee Seok Hwai
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