Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Ridiculous titles prove ROC does not exist

By Cao Changqing

From the "Republic of China" (ROC), which includes China and Mongolia, the "ROC on Taiwan," and even the "ROC is Taiwan," to "Taiwan, ROC" -- officially used by Premier Yu Shyi-kun during his recent three-country Central American tour -- there is no other country like Taiwan, which has constantly proposed new national titles.

These proposals of a national title show that Taiwan is at a historical crossroads, with the nation facing the question of what name can truly represent the country's people while demonstrating its sovereignty. At the opening of this year's Olympic Games, Taiwan's team once again marched into the stadium under the ridiculous name of "Chinese Taipei," proving that the ROC in fact exists in name only.

Taiwan has translated "Chinese Taipei" as "Chunghua [Chinese] Taipei" (中華台北) in Chinese. But on the online Olympic scoreboard of China's People's Daily -- the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper -- the team of the People's Republic of China (PRC) is listed as "China," and the TAiwan team is called "Chungguo (China) Taipei" (中國台北). Thus, Beijing is pushing the concept of Taiwan as a province of communist China.

China, as well as the rest of the world, refuses to recognize the name "ROC." Even Taiwan itself is unable to use this name sometimes, although many people in Taiwan are still upholding this empty and useless national title to this day.

After the premier's diplomatic trip, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) said that his ministry may consider using "Taiwan, ROC" in the future if that would be acceptable to all sides. Recently, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) also affirmed that the ROC is Taiwan, and that the ROC and Taiwan have already become one. The KMT's statement as least shows that neither the pan-blue nor the pan-green camp is fantasizing about regaining and unifying with China anymore. Since Taiwan's major political forces all want to stay here, rather than fighting against China, what is the meaning of keeping and using the current national title? It is a title that falls short of reality, and it is not recognized by most countries, the majority of Taiwanese or China, which has caused numerous problems over the name issue.

Changing Taiwan's national title in order to get rid of the bizarre name of the ROC is the correct approach, considering the reality of the situation and the willingness of the majority of Taiwanese people. Not to mention that the dominant force behind the change comes from Taiwan itself. The key to the issue lies in whether Taiwan's leaders and its people have the courage and confidence to righteously promote the nation in the rest of the world with the help of public support under the name "Taiwan" -- which is already familiar in the international arena, and has been linked to democracy as well as prosperity.

Cao Changqing is a writer based in New York.


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