PH refuses to stamp Chinese passports

Paterno Esmaquel II
The Philippines won't stamp its visas on Chinese e-passports, which include an image of Beijing's contested 9-dash line map

PASSPORT ROW. The new Chinese e-passport has a map including its 9-Dash line claim to most of the South China Sea. Image courtesy of

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is drawing the line – this time when it comes to passports.

Protesting China’s inclusion of the contested 9-dash line map in the Chinese e-passport, the Philippine government has decided not to stamp its visas on this travel document. The Philippines, instead, will stamp its visa on a separate application form.

“This action is being undertaken to avoid the Philippines being misconstrued as legitimizing the 9-dash line every time a Philippine visa is stamped on such Chinese e-passport,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Wednesday, November 28.

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

The Philippines has asserted that the 9-dash line claim is inconsistent with international law, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

CONTROVERSIAL MAP. Map featuring China's 9-Dash line claim over the South China Sea. Image courtesy of

The Philippines earlier protested China’s map on its new passports.

Vietnam, another country which has claims in the South China Sea, has refused to stamp the Chinese passports. Instead, Vietnamese authorities issue visas on a separate piece of paper.

Taiwan has also condemned the map. Taiwan is self-governing but Beijing claims it as part of China.

The 9-Dash or U-Shaped line is used by China and Taiwan to claim a vast area of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) including the Paracel Islands – occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam – and the Spratly Islands, also disputed by Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam apart from Taiwan. –


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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at