Taiwanese tourists who have been stranded in Japan after a deadly typhoon and 6.7 a earthquake rattled the country, have been told in no uncertain terms by the Chinese government that they would need to give up their Taiwanese identity to be rescued.
Over 3,000 tourists, including around 750 Chinese and 500 Taiwanese, have been marooned at Kansai International Airport, after all the flights were canceled and the airport was shut down because of the immense flooding caused by Typhoon Jebi.
Although, Japan had arranged evacuation transport for all tourists, regardless of their nationality, the Chinese embassy has provided buses exclusively for Chinese citizens visiting Japan, according to Chinese state tabloid Global Times. However, when Taiwanese tourists approached the embassy to ask for aid, they were told to first embrace the Chinese identity if they expect to be evacuated — an obvious move to exert Beijing’s claim over Taipei.
“A few Taiwanese asked if they could board the bus provided by the Chinese embassy for evacuation,” a Chinese witness in the airport reportedly said. “[The Chinese people] all said, ‘Sure, if you identify yourself as Chinese, follow your home country.’”
Beijing regards the autonomous island of Taiwan as a breakaway province that needs to be reunited with the Chinese mainland under its policy of one-China. The country has repeatedly asserted sovereignty over Taiwan and asserted it does not have a legitimized existence. It also refuses diplomatic relations with any country that officially recognizes Taiwan and has forced airlines and companies to refer to Taiwan as China. Beijing has also threatened the use of military force if Taiwan ever announces a formal declaration of independence.
Beijing and Taipei also have separate consulates and passports for their citizens.
A staff member at the Taiwanese trade office in Osaka said Taipei did not provide separate transport to the Taiwanese people.
“What we can do now is advise them to transit to other airports or railway stations so they can leave as soon as possible,” said the employee. “But we are not aware that any Taiwanese boarded the Chinese bus.”
At least 11 people have been killed and over 600 injured after the most powerful typhoon in 25 years to hit Japan. The third largest airport of the country is in Kansai and has been badly hit by the storm.
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