綠皮護照的昨天與今天

:::

1993 / 11月

文‧陳雅玲 圖‧邱瑞金


護照,原本只是個人在國外時,用來識別身分、國籍的國際旅行文件;中華民國護照卻因特殊的政治外交處境,這四十年來,和其他國家的護照有著極其不一樣的故事;它的上萬美元身價,就很令國際小偷矚目。


任職豪士多公司的陳尚賢今年五月到德國參觀國際商展時,在火車上不小心被扒手偷走護照。他只好暫停所有行程,到我國波昂的駐外單位補辦護照。

「中華民國護照現在很多人想要,尤其是上面有美國簽證的,一本黑市價格可以叫價到三萬美金!」這位駐外官員這麼告訴他。

比上不足,比下有餘

從一本少有國家願意在其上直接蓋印,到如今幾乎無往不利,甚至國際小偷覬覦、黑市價格高昂,中華民國護照的身價已經大為不同。

跑遍大半個地球,十五年前第一個拿中華民國護照到東歐做生意的全聯國際貿易總經理鮑永建指出,以前拿我國護照簽證較困難,像印度、巴基斯坦不承認我們的護照,還要先到律師樓去辦證明,近五年就很容易。中國大陸的護照過去到東歐不須簽證,近年來反而不吃香。

常為客戶辦各國簽證的旅行業者,則對我國護照的評語是「比上不足,比下有餘」。

「像日本護照,幾乎到所有的國家都是免簽證,我們卻還要忍受許多金錢和時間的成本。更可恨的是我們辦香港簽證時,只比難民高一級。上次泰國航空班機延誤,要在香港過夜時,只有持中華民國護照的不准入境,要旅客下機,睡在機場」,汎達旅遊張娜禮忿忿不平地表示。

十年河東,十年河西

但要簽證是常態,平心靜氣而言,現在拿中華民國護照申請觀光簽證,幾乎很少碰到釘子。「除非是非常個人的因素」,她笑著透露,上次有一個旅行團一起辦港簽,只有一個人沒過。據他們推斷,很可能是因為那人照片上滿嘴落腮鬍,面相看來「令人擔心」。

旅行業者並透露,六○年代,東協各國給予菲律賓護照免簽證,如今已今非昔比;相對地,中華民國護照,已經有廿七個國家或地區給免簽證待遇。

「主要是國力問題」,濟東貿易董事長崔中認為,以我國今天的經濟條件,沒有國家擔心我們會假借各種機會留在他們國家不回來,自然不會防範不讓行。而中共,邦交國一百多個,拿「中華人民共和國」的護照卻是處處遭人提防。

像美國、歐洲、日本、東南亞國家,就對中共護照的簽證發放極嚴,要財力證明、出國理由、保證人等等,即使核發,天數也極短。

十年河東,十年河西,如今中華民國護照的「好用」,卻也造成失竊頻傳。

假如護照像信用卡

「根據警方破獲的案件,國人遺失的護照,絕大多數已經流到大陸,成為他們偷渡的工具」,外交部領事事務局局長洪健雄說。

根據外交部統計,光是這三年來,國人報失護照的案件每年都有一萬五、六千件。洪健雄感慨國人對護照的保管太隨意,不像對待信用卡、身分證般慎重,才會造成這種結果。

「很多大官,明天要出國,今天才開始找護照。找不到了又託我們緊急辦。等辦出來他又打電話來說找到了,他還是要用舊的那本,因為簽證都在上面。我告訴他來不及了,因為外交部已經緊急對國內外報失他的護照,再持用這本作廢的護照會出問題。他又罵我不便民」,洪健雄大歎領務工作難為。

他也擔心,變造的假護照太多,會使真正持有中華民國護照的國人在國外權益受損。像中南美的委內瑞拉、厄瓜多爾,就因為太常發現中華民國的偽變照,關員怕真偽分辨不清,乾脆把入境的中國人都集合起來慢慢查。

為了減少不肖之徒盜賣護照的機會,洪健雄曾提議第二次遺失護照時,要本人親自到外交部領務局補辦,卻被民意代表大罵「開倒車」。

由特許證到身分證明

我國護照的發放,對國內人民確實是由緊到寬。

早年戒嚴時期,能持有護照是一種特許,由經濟、教育等主管機關認定某人確實有經商、留學的需要,才讓外交部發給他護照。自從民國七十八年六月護照條例經立法院修正通過,護照已經是國人出國時必須具備的旅行文件。

對海外的華僑及大陸人士,護照的發放卻由鬆到嚴。

法理上,凡是我國國民都可以取得中華民國護照,但實際上卻有其苦衷。根據僑委會的說法,我國海外華僑有三千萬人,加上大陸、港澳,至少超過十二億。對這些人不可能毫不限制地發給他們中華民國的護照。

「尤其台灣近年來成為一個對外來人口極具吸引力的地方」,內政部戶政司長簡太郎表示,例如高工資、高所得、工商繁榮,治安與政治情況也比許多其他國家來得好。因此很多人,包括華僑,都希望來台灣工作。「過去政府為了政治號召,對願意放棄中共護照的大陸人士發照極寬,現在基於台灣兩千萬人民的安全與福祉為第一考慮,已經改變作法了」,簡太郎說。

同樣的,海外華僑一定要提出中國人的積極證明文件,例如我國護照、入境證副本、國民身分證、戶口名簿,或內政部發的國籍證明書、僑委會發的華僑身分證明書……等,才可能拿到我國護照;過去曾被從寬認定的當地華人協會發的「華人證明書」,如今已經不被認可。

從這一點,可以看出中華民國正由過去的「大中華主義」,到今天「立足台灣、胸懷大陸、放眼世界」的層次之別。

與十四個先進國同步

我國護照的形式,也與時代共演進。

最早期中華民國護照封面燙了金色的隸書字體,十分古雅。民國七十六年,護照開本縮小為現行的國際尺寸,便於持有者放入口袋使用。顏色方面,曾有紅、藍、黑、綠;字體則早在四十年初期就改為普通的楷書了。整個看起來,現今中華民國護照已是十足的平民風格。

內容方面,七十六年七月中央銀行放寬外匯管制後,原本人民出國結匯需要在護照上登記的結匯紀錄欄就廢而不用。七十九年由於身分證取消籍貫欄,護照也反映時代,出生地由一律標示China(中國),改為確實的出生地點,如台灣、江蘇、湖南等。

明年九月,中華民國的護照又有新面貌,護照將採用雷射影像,持照人所有的資料都儲存在條碼中。到國外通關時,只要該國海關有掃瞄設備,就能「刷照」而過,方便又快速。

「這是國際民航組織的規範,目前全世界只有十四個先進國家用這種護照。以後國人在國際機場就可以和這些國家的國民走同一條專用通道,感覺上身分就是不同」,洪健雄笑著說道。

興衰之間見時代

由於國人持有護照已經愈來愈普遍,負責發照的領務工作,也有很大的變化。

最早,外交部發護照是由禮賓司兼任,幾名剛進外交部的明日外交官就一筆一劃地用毛筆填寫申請人的姓名、出生年月日等基本資料。如今擔任中華奧會主席的張豐緒,當年進外交部的第一份工作,就是寫護照。如今光是專責發護照的領務局,就有職員二百多人,每年的發照量高達一百廿萬份。最近,領務局又即將告別使用了廿多年的辦公舊址,搬到世貿大樓與各國駐台簽證單位比鄰而居。

領務局的門庭若市,與當年國人出境必經的一關——境管局現在的「門前冷落車馬稀」相較,令人感受到,時代真的不同了。

〔圖片說明〕

P.40

中華民國護照身價高昂,如今黑市價格高達新台幣數十萬元。

P.41

最近警方才破獲一個護照竊盜集團,起出一百多本偷來的護照。(何叔娟攝)

P.42

(張良綱攝)

P.42

(張良綱攝)

P.44

寒暑假旺季時,外交部一天的發照量就高達六、七千件。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

The History of a Little Green Book

Elaine Chen /photos courtesy of Diago Chiu /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

Passports are intended to serve as personal documents to use abroad for identification and proof of nationality. But because of unusual circumstances in the nation's foreign relations, the history of the ROC passport over the last 40 years sets it apart. Now the document, worth tens of thousands of US dollars, is coveted by international thieves.


When Chen Shang-hsien, who works for HCGMoen, went to Germany to attend an international trade fair in May, his passport was lifted on a train. Putting his travels in abeyance, he went to ROC representatives in Bonn to obtain a substitute passport.

"ROC passports are hot items now," the ROC official posted there told him, "especially with American visas. One of those can go for as much as US$30,000 on the black market."

Better than some, worse than others:

From a document on which most foreign governments were loath to put their stamps (issuing visas to ROC citizens on separate sheets of paper), to today's highly esteemed darling of black marketeers and international thieves, the ROC passport has come a long way fast.

Y.C. Pao, president of the trading company Cosmo International who was the first bearer of an ROC passport to travel to Eastern Europe in search of trade 15 years ago, remembers when he had to employ the services of lawyers to get visas to a few particularly difficult countries such as India and Pakistan. In the last five years he has found it much easier. On the other hand, mainland Chinese didn't previously need visas to visit Eastern European countries, but now they are no longer looked upon so sweetly.

People in the travel industry who frequently handle visas to all variety of countries say ROC passports are "better than some, worse than others."

"With a Japanese passport, practically no country will require you to get a visa, whereas we still have to spend a lot of time and money to get them. But what's more maddening is that when we apply for visas to Hong Kong, we are only considered one grade above refugees," Panda Tours' Chang Na-li explains angrily. "The last time a Thai Airways plane was delayed in Hong Kong, only those with ROC passports were barred from entering the city and spending the night. Those travellers from Taiwan had to get off the plane and sleep in the airport."

Every dog has his day:

But requiring a visa, after all, isn't too excessive a demand, and ROC passport holders applying for a tourist visa are practically never denied "except for extraordinary individual circumstances," she says. The last time the agency applied to take a tour to Hong Kong, she recounts smiling, only one person was denied. She inferred that the hirsute image on the passport's photo "raised their suspicions."

Those in the travel industry also point out that no ASEAN country required visas for Philippine passports in the sixties. Now 27 countries and territories do not require visas for ROC passports.

"It's primarily a matter of national power," holds Tsui Chung, the Chairman of the Chingtung Trading Company. Less inclined to think that ROC nationals would want out from Taiwan's economic success, other nations are naturally more willing to let them in. On the other hand, although mainland China has relations with more than a hundred nations, PRC passport holders are often denied visas.

The United States, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asian countries, for example, are all strict about requiring various documents for mainland Chinese, including proof of financial resources, reasons for going abroad, guarantors, etc. And the length of stay is often set very short.

Every dog has his day, and now the high status of ROC passports has caused rising reports of their theft.

Like credit cards:

"According to cases solved by the police, the vast majority of stolen ROC passports are brought over to mainland China, where they are used to get mainlanders to another country," says David C. Hong, director of the department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that 15-16,000 ROC passports have been reported lost or stolen in each of the last three years. Hung thinks that ROC citizens are too casual about protecting their passports, lacking the vigilance with which they guard their credit cards and ROC identification cards. Otherwise the figures wouldn't be so high.

"A lot of high officials don't start looking for their passports until the day before they need to take a trip," says Hung, sighing over the difficulties of his work. "When they can't find them, they ask us to take urgent steps to issue them a new one. Then, after it's issued, they call to say that they've found the old one and they want to use it because all of their visas are in it. I tell them that it's too late, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already announced both at home and abroad that the passport has been canceled. Using it could cause all sorts of difficulties. Then they curse me for making things inconvenient for the people."

He is also worried that false passports infringe upon the rights of legitimate holders of ROC passports abroad. Venezuela and Ecuador, for instance, have too often encountered bearers of false ROC passports. Now they herd together all Chinese and slowly inspect their documents. In order to reduce the chances of selling a stolen passport, Hong has suggested requiring people to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs themselves the second time they have lost a passport. This has prompted people's representatives to attack him for "moving backwards."

From special permission to ID:

For Taiwan residents, the ROC's issuing of passports has gone from strict to easy.

Early on, during the period of martial law, obtaining a passport required special permission. Economic or educational institutions, for instance, might need to certify that the passport's bearer had to go abroad for business or study. But since revisions to the passport law were passed in June of 1989, the procedures to get passports have become little more than formalities.

For overseas Chinese and residents of mainland China who want ROC passports, on the other hand, the ROC has gone from easy to strict.

Legally, anyone who is a citizen of "China" can obtain an ROC passport, but in reality things aren't so simple. According to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, there are 30 million overseas Chinese in the world. If you add on the Chinese in Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland, the total runs to 1.2 billion. There is no way to give an ROC passport indiscriminately to all of these who might want one.

"Taiwan has started attracting foreigners in recent years," says Chien Tai-lang, director of the Department of Civil Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior. There are high wages and incomes, prosperous industry and commerce, as well as greater public safety and a better political situation than found in many countries. As a result many, including overseas Chinese, hope to come to work in Taiwan.

"For political reasons, the government used to be very loose about granting passports to residents of the mainland," Chien says. "Now the safety and welfare of the 20 million residents of Taiwan comes first, and the way things are handled has been changed."

Similarly, overseas Chinese must present Chinese documents of the first order--such as old ROC passports, entry permits, identity cards, household registries or identification certificates for overseas Chinese issued by the Ministry of the Interior or the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission--before they can obtain a new ROC passport. The certificates attesting to Chinese ethnicity issued by Chinese cooperative associations in the home countries of overseas Chinese are no longer accepted.

From these changes, one can see how the ROC's past policy of "a greater China" contrasts with today's "foothold in Taiwan, concern for the mainland, eyes on the world."

Equal status with 14 advanced nations:

The image of the ROC passport has changed with the times.

Early on the gold lettering embossed on ROC passports gave it a classical elegance. In 1987 the passport was shrunk to its current dimensions, the international standard, which make it easy to fit in a pocket. Its cover has at different times been red, blue, black and green, and the typeface was turned into normal script in the early fifties. The current Chinese passport is really rather pedestrian in appearance.

As for content, since July of 1987 when the Central Bank loosened restrictions on remittances of currency abroad, it has no longer been necessary to record one's foreign remittances inside. In 1990, when ROC identity cards began noting place of birth instead of the province of ancestral origin, the passport changed too. The entry for place of birth was changed from China to the province where one was born, such as Taiwan, Jiangsu or Hunan.

In October of last year the ROC passport again took on a new look. It acquired laser color coding, in which all data is stored in a color band. Customs officials need only pass one under a scanner to let its bearer proceed. It's much faster and more convenient.

"This is an International Airline Transport Association standard format now only being used for passports by 14 advanced nations. In the future ROC passport holders in international airports abroad will be able to line up with the nationals of those countries," Hong says. "It will impart a completely different sense of status."

Changing times:

As more and more ROC nationals carry passports, the work surrounding the issuing of them has changed.

At first it was handled by the Department of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A few junior foreign service officers would take their pens to a stack of passports, filling in such basic information as the applicants' names and dates of birth. Officials like Chang Feng-shu, Chairman of the ROC Olympic Committee, were assigned these duties when they first joined the ministry. Now the Department of Consular Affairs is responsible for issuing passports. With a staff of some 200, it issues more than 1.2 million passports a year. It is planning a move from its office of more than 20 years to quarters near the World Trade Center and the embassies and offices issuing foreign visas.

The department is always swarming with visitors--in stark contrast to the virtually deserted Bureau of Entry and Exit, which used to be the first hurdle for those going abroad. This just goes to show how much things have changed.

[Picture Caption]

p.40

The ROC passport is highly valued, with a black market price of several hundred thousand NT dollars.

p.41

Recently the police busted a ring selling stolen passports, seizing more than a hundred of them. (photo by He Shu-chun)

p.42

(photo by Vincent Chang)

p.42

(photo by Vincent Chang)

p.44

During the peak seasons of summer and winter vacation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues as many as 6-7000 passports a day.

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!