What happened to the policy of refusing to stamp visas on China passports with 9-dash line?

October 24, 2019 - 1:24 PM
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) clap as they attend a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, August 29, 2019. (How Hwee Young/Pool via Reuters)

The Philippines used to refuse to put stamps on Chinese passports with the now-invalid nine-dash line, the policy of which was amended this year.

The policy was enforced in 2012 under then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario during the Aquino administration.

A Reddit user brought this up following two cases of China’s controversial map being featured in international programs.

FLASHBACK from 2012: Philippines refuses to stamp Chinese passports (The Philippines said on Wednesday it would refuse to stamp Chinese passports containing a map showing most of the China South Sea as belonging to China.) from Philippines

The nine-dash line demarcates an expansive area in the South China Sea that China has baselessly claims it exerts sovereign rights over. The area encompasses waters lawfully within the jurisdiction of the Philippines and China’s other Southeast Asian neighbors.

Nine-dash line in Chinese passports 

In 2012, China issued electronic passports with its map showing the nine-dash line and other territorial claims.

Neighbors Vietnam, Taiwan, India and the Philippines publicly stated opposition to the passports. As a form of protest, the Department of Foreign Affairs decided to stamp visas on a separate application form rather than directly on the Chinese passport.

“Through this action, the Philippines reinforces its protest against China’s excessive claim over almost the entire South China Sea,” the foreign agency said.

Del Rosario also sent Beijing a formal protest letter that denounced the nine-dash line maps on the issued passports as “an excessive declaration of maritime space” which violated international laws.

Vietnam likewise performed the same action. Meanwhile, India stamped its own version of the map on the visas of Chinese tourists.

In 2016, the nine-dash line map had been invalidated by the landmark ruling at The Hague that favored maritime entitlements of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines’ previously hardline approach toward the growing military presence of China on disputed waters was eased under President Duterte.

Last August, however, the Duterte administration revised the seven-year-old policy of stamping Philippine visas on separate documents upon the recommendation of current Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Similar to India’s move, the Philippines will soon stamp its own map on Chinese residents’ passports.

“Ang magandang nakita ko doon mayroong mapa ng Pilipinas na ilalagay eh kung saan andoon lahat ng ating mga teritoryo pati ‘yung mga pinag-aawayan,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

But the government has not announced when the new policy will be implemented or whether there are already guidelines being drafted.

New instances of Chinese propaganda

The nine-dash line, including Taiwan on it, was seen on a map shown at a morning show of sports channel ESPN.

The network reportedly used a different map in a succeeding broadcast.

The new animated film “Abominable” by DreamWorks Animation, also featured the invalidated dashed marks on a map seen in one of its scenes, screenshots of which circulated online.

Vietnam immediately moved to ban its release.

Locsin later suggested a “universal boycott” of the movie or to remove the scene.

As of writing, the foreign agency has not announced legal steps to take on the release of the movie to the Philippines.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board also has no action yet if the scene in question will cut.