China’s New Passports Upset Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia

A new version of passports the Chinese government issues its citizens led to a squabble with Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.

The new Chinese passports are decorated with watermark views of landscapes from across China. The particular controversial image is the one that shows South China Sea, over which China claims sovereign right. Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia dispute the claim. Officials of Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia have voiced objections, who consider the issuance of the new passports as an effort to impose Chinese positions on them. Visa officials of Vietnam and Philippines have been instructed by their government not to apply stamps on the pages in the passport. Instead, holders of the Chinese passports are now required to fill out a separate form, which will be validated and serve as visa paper for the travelers.

Chinese officials have said that the issuance of China’s new passports is well within the right of the Chinese government and that is not intended to target on any particular country.