Drawing inspiration from pro-independence Taiwanese who decorated their passport covers with the words “Republic of Taiwan” and replaced the KMT-influenced national emblem with uniquely Taiwanese landmarks, a local designer has rolled out a version of the stickers specifically for Hongkongers.
“The response has been enthusiastic,” designer San Gaai Si told HKFP. “Not just from local Hongkongers but also from abroad.”
San Gaai Si’s homegrown version of the sticker set features local icons such as the Central skyline, Lion Rock, the colonial coat of arms, martial arts legend Bruce Lee and the distinctive silhouette of the three-masted “Hongkonger Trader” class of Chinese sailing junk.
An umbrella emblematic of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests that gripped Hong Kong in 2014 also stands as the most recent addition to the pantheon of local icons.
Following the stickers’ popularity in Taiwan, an amendment to the regulations embodied in the country’s passport laws was drafted by politicians of the ruling KMT party. The new rule expressly prohibits the attachment of stickers to ROC passports.
San Gaai Si, however, is not worried about a similar crackdown in Hong Kong. He points out that Hong Kong permanent residents pass through immigration clearance points with just their identity cards, and that neither airlines nor foreign border control agencies are entitled to tamper with travelers’ passports.
“There’s nothing in the passport ordinance about defacing one’s passport,” he adds.
With the Taiwanese amendment unlikely to take effect before the country goes to the polls in January to elect a new president and parliament, most likely dominated by the pro-independence opposition, the passport revolution looks set to continue – both in Taiwan and, now, in Hong Kong as well.