Voted on by thousands of Taiwanese, the results of a “We are Taiwan” Passport Cover Design Competition are in – and bubble tea fans won’t be impressed.
Organized by Taiwan’s New Power Party, the competition was a response to a recent resolution passed by the Legislative Yuan (the island’s parliament body) calling for a passport design that would shine a greater spotlight on the island’s local characters. (The same resolution that called on China Airlines to consider a name change.)
The New Power Party is a left-wing political party founded in 2015. It currently holds three of the 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan.
The winning design is…
The competition encouraged citizens to submit designs highlighting unique characteristics of Taiwan, from geographical and ecological features to food culture.
There were 127 entries submitted, and voting was open until August 31. Entries were divided into two categories: The International Standards Category and the Creative Category.
“Through this competition, we hope to let our citizens showcase their imagination and creativity,” says Jerry Liu, director of media and creativity for the New Power Party as well as the spokesperson for the passport design competition.
“And with the voting, we hope to have a passport cover that Taiwanese [people] would identify with.”
Works submitted for the International Standards Category had to comply with the relevant regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for passport covers, whereas applications under the Creative Category didn’t.
The winning design (under the International Standards Category) features a green cover with motifs of the shape of the island, plum blossoms (Taiwan’s official flower) and native animals like the Formosan black bear.
The first runner-up was a minimalist design with a butterfly bearing wings in the shape of Taiwan. The second runner-up, named “The Diverse Land,” also played on the shape of the island using dots in various colors.
Meanwhile, the entries in the Creative Category were more, well, creative, with plenty of representations of the island’s favorite beverage, bubble tea.
But in the end, the winning design was a cover featuring Taiwan’s endemic species.
The winners were announced on September 1, but there will be a formal award ceremony on September 3.
Covid-19 inspired competition
Currently, Taiwan’s passport has “Republic of China” printed in Chinese and English on top and “Taiwan” written in the middle of the passport.
Liu says that the current title has caused confusion for Taiwanese citizens abroad.
“During the early stage of the Covid-19 outbreak, especially, because of the serious situation in China … many Taiwan citizens were challenged when traveling overseas – some were even refused entry,” Liu tells CNN Travel. “That’s why we think we should increase recognition of Taiwan on our passport.”
“We will try to share the designs with the Bureau of Consular Affairs (part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), which is the governing body for the passport issues,” adds Liu.
“By organizing this passport cover design competition, New Power Party urges the government and the public to address the issue and make Taiwan’s image more known internationally.”
Taiwan’s official name is the “Republic of China” (ROC), tracing its founding to 1911 on the Chinese mainland after the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty.
Mainland China and Taiwan have been governed separately since 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland after a civil war, although a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures.
But China considers Taiwan to be an integral part of its territory, and comes down hard on any suggestions to the contrary.
In 2018, Beijing demanded global airlines change how they refer to Taiwan on their websites or risk sanctions. In response, the White House issued a scathing statement criticizing Beijing for pressuring US carriers and other companies on this issue.
In the end, multiple airlines, including US carriers American Airlines and Delta, complied with the order.