Taiwan’s New Power Party launched an unofficial online passport cover contest last year, and people submitted designs featuring maps of the island, a monk in a canoe, and a bird balancing the bubble tea on his head.
Authorities eventually opted for a traditional design, with the “Republic of China” reduced to a small fraction of its original size and encircling an icon of a sun.
Taiwan gave a preview of the new passport design in September, months after the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“Our people continued to hope that we could give more importance to the visibility of Taiwan, avoiding that people mistakenly think they are from China,” said Joseph Wu, then foreign minister. from Taiwan.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, then declared that “whatever the tricks” of the Taiwanese authorities, they could not “change the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory”.
On Monday morning, the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the capital Taipei said it had received more than 700 new passport applications, up from a typical daily average of 1,000, Reuters reported. A new version of the electronic passport has also been released, the foreign ministry said.
Claire Fu contributed reporting.