Wouldn't that imply they recognize each other as different states? That is, if China considers Taiwan part of its territory, the Taiwanese are necessarily Chinese too. And equally the other way round.

UPDATE: notice that the question is about what they do to avoid implicit recognition of each other, but, at the same time deal with the fact that they de facto are two countries.

There are similarities in the West/East Germany divide, or regarding Spain/Gibraltar. The Spanish government, for example, can not refer to the 'border', but to the 'fence'.

2 Answers 2


As far as I can tell, they don't; they issue various types of permit to allow travel, but they are careful not to officially call those permits "visas". In this way they maintain the political position of "one China", while practically controlling unwanted movement of people.

While needing a permit to travel within a country is virtually unheard of in the West, it is not unheard of in other parts of the world. Permits are also required for travel from the mainland to Hong Kong and Macau.

  • 5
    Up until around 20 years ago Malaysian citizens needed a travel permit or passport to enter and exit a couple of states. That is because Malaysia is a federation of states where states joining at different stages of the country's formation joined under different agreements. The two states on the island of Borneo joined under individual separate agreements which didn't recognize the right of out of state citizens freedom of travel. Today we still need a travel permit but is issued automatically on entry
    – slebetman
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 6:10

Visas are things that happen when the government in power wants to regulate the flow of people from a certain place into their territory. For various reasons China and Taiwan want to do this. I wouldn't read any deeper political statements out of it.

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    Also, if you dig just a little deeper, you will see that both countries are very careful not to name those documents "visas"; for the PRC they are Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents. And certainly they will not recognize the other's country passports.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 14:42
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    You could add that it’s similar for Hong Kong.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 15:30
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    @SJuan76 So citizens of "either China" do not need a passport to travel to the other China ? ! :-) Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 23:08
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    @RussellMcMahon that's right. Travel requires a document that functions in almost every way as a passport and visa, but that is formally defined as something else. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 11:41
  • @RussellMcMahon, to me as a German this is not at all surprising.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 15:49

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