A Taiwan grassroots independence campaign that involved residents altering their passports with stickers to remove any association with mainland China has inspired a similar trend in Hong Kong.
Designer San Gaai Si has designed a series of stickers to conceal mainland Chinese references on the Hong Kong passport. Originally titled “Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China,” the altered version simply reads “Hong Kong.”
While the Taiwanese passport featured local icons like Yunshan mountain, the Formosa black bear, and pro-democracy activist Cheng Nan-jung, the Hong Kong version includes cultural symbols like the city’s iconic skyline, movie star Bruce Lee, and the old-style Chinese junk boat. Users can also alter their Hong Kong passports to feature the colonial coat of arms of the UK, as well as an umbrella that signifies the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement from last year.
San says the campaign has been going well: “The response has been enthusiastic,” San told HKFP. “Not just from local Hongkongers, but also from abroad.”
The Taiwan campaign has been countered by legislators with a draft that would ban any alterations or defacing of a ROC passport. However, as Hong Kong does not have such a law (yet), San is confident that users of the stickers are within their rights to alter Hong Kong passports as they wish. “There’s nothing in the passport ordinance about defacing one’s passport,” said San.
Taiwanese citizens that had altered their passports with the stickers reportedly used them to gain entry into other countries with no problems, including China.