Two months ago, on Chinese social media, rumors spread about Chinese citizens having their passports canceled or revoked for no apparent reason when entering the country or their green cards cut off when trying to leave the country.

Beijing Youth Daily said on May 13, Beijing Immigration Border Check Station, Shanghai Immigration Border Check Station and Guangzhou Immigration Border Check Station all issued statements saying that the above rumors are all false and that “they have the right to confiscate them in accordance with the provisions of the law or to cancel them by clipping the passports” according to Article 67 of the “Immigration Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China.” Accordingly, passports certified by the certification authority as forged, modified, or declared invalid are not legally valid.

Last Sunday, July 10, a resident published a photo of a passport whose corner was clipped by border guards.

On July 10, Twitter user “Gaojian” @gaojian2010 posted a photo of a passport with a corner cut off by border guards. Yunnan scholar Yin Gang said in an interview with an RFA reporter on Tuesday, July 12, that he had recently heard of such cases and that passport checks of Chinese citizens at airports are becoming increasingly strict.

He said: “[The passport clipping] must be real. Netizens replied that the national security officer ordered the passport cutting; it is speculated that it has something to do with (their) ideology. Now it is getting harder and harder to go abroad. There are a lot of people who don’t get passports, especially friends that I know, many of them don’t even get new passports. It’s not just happening to applicants studying abroad, they basically don’t even issue a passport when you apply for a new passport. I didn’t have my passport cut off before, but I was refused the entry-exit.”

Some internet users asked “Gaojian” why the authorities clipped the passport, and he replied as follows: “No matter if you have a tourist visa, even if you have dual citizenship, the passport is still valid for three years. But the reason given by the border guard was that the Licensing Authority canceled my passport and stated that authorities have the right to do so. In the afternoon, the Luliang City National Security Team confirmed this statement.”

He Chuan 何川, who is familiar with the working process of border checkers at international airports, told RFA’s reporter that the passport cut this time was an isolated case. The purpose is to remind the Immigration Department that when the person applies for a passport reissue, background verification is required before deciding whether to issue a passport or not. He says:

“When your passport shows in their system that it has a problem, border agents will display a red panel indicating that your information is being verified. Once they read the above information, a blue board instantly pops up. This is a reminder to the armed police to come right away, maybe five to six armed police will come.”

He Chuan said that when armed police on duty arrive, they will put you in a room to further verify your personal information:

“There are multiple levels of their treatment of you. Either you’re being controlled at the border, or you’re having financial problems, or you’re engaged in serious illegal activities and you’re not allowed to leave. However, they won’t cut your passport, and your flight will be canceled. There is also a second category where your comment touches on local public security. You are a target of the Ministry of Public Security or some agency. You will not be allowed to leave the country and will still be issued a passport, but your trip will be canceled”.

As for the third exit restriction case, He Chuan said:

“If you are a leader of a central business or an important government employee, the border officer will directly arrest you, notify the unit, confiscate your passport, or cancel it with an ‘invalid’ stamp.

China’s “Immigration Administration Law” does not have a “passport cutting off” provision

As mentioned above, on May 13, the National Immigration Administration of China announced that citizens’ passports were cut off upon entry-exit, referring to Article 67 of the “Law on Immigration Management of the People’s Republic of China”.

However, in Article 67 of the “Law on Immigration Management”, the words “cancel passport by cutting corners” are nowhere to be found. This provision is aimed at foreigners.

On May 14, Twitter user “Wenjun” @wenjun7011 posted two photos showing his passport and identification card with their corners cut.

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