facebook.com/TaiwanPassportSticker

The small act of civil disobedience is popular, but could carry risk.

April 12, 2016

Taiwan’s long, ongoing dispute with China has hit the front pages—of each country’s passports.

In most countries, it’s illegal to modify your passport in any way, but Taiwan’s Parliament just passed a law giving their citizens the go-ahead to make one little alteration to their travel documents.

The government has given their seal of approval to anyone who wants to use a sticker that covers the words “Republic of China” and replaces it with “Republic of Taiwan.” It’s a subtle act of promoting Taiwanese independence, the BBC reports.

While Taiwanese immigration officials have no problem with the stickers—and no one who has one will be punished for modifying or altering their passports—the act does not come without repercussions. In drafting the law, the government made it clear that anyone who puts the sticker on their passport “bear[s] the risks” of repercussions elsewhere. So far, there have been some consequences for the small act of civil disobedience.

According to the BBC, at least 15 people were denied entry to Macau, another of China’s administrative regions, after they affixed the politically charged stickers. Similarly, according to the Hong Kong Free Press, two Taiwanese travelers were not allowed to enter Hong Kong “on the grounds that their passports had been altered without permission.” The Hong Kong Free Press also notes that there is some concern the stickers could lead to denied entry to the United States, as altered passports may not be valid for travel there.

The Taiwan passport sticker movement has garnered more than 30,000 likes on its Facebook page since it started in 2015. There may be more coming, now that the Taiwanese government has made the act legal.

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