Thu, Jan 16, 2003 - Page 1 News List

TECRO name must go, groups say

RECTIFICATION Visiting delegates presented the president with thousands of letters urging him to change the name of Taiwan's office in the US

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Overseas Taiwanese from several pro-Taiwan independence organizations yesterday display 10,000 petition letters at a press conference, demanding that the government change the title of its Washington office from ``Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office'' to ``Taiwan Representative Office.''

PHOTO: SEAN CHAN, TAIPEI TIMES

A delegation of 10 Taiwanese-American organizations urged the government yesterday to change the name of Taiwan's office in Washington from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) as to the Taiwan Representative Office.

The delegation presented 10,000 letters written by Taiwanese-Americans to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to seek his support for the name rectification campaign.

"The president told us rectifying the name is not an easy matter. It demands everyone's effort," said Bob Yang (楊英育), the chairman of the World United Formosans for Independence-USA.

The delegation will present the letters to Legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) today.

"This name rectification campaign is the largest of its kind in history. The letters represent most Taiwanese-Americans' wish to change the name of TECRO," Yang said.

Many Americans do not know TECRO represents Taiwan, Yang said, and Taiwan has degraded itself by using a city's name to represent itself.

The delegation said the US government would welcome attempts to change TECRO's name, which would help clarify Taiwan's status in the international community.

"Americans called our country Taiwan when drawing up the Taiwan Relations Act. US President George W. Bush calls our country Taiwan and our people Taiwanese," Yang said. "We should wait no more. Now is the time to rectify the name."

According to Timmy Chiu (邱義昌), the former president of the Taiwanese Association of America, changing the name of TECRO was the mainstream opinion among most Taiwanese-Americans.

"If our people regard Taiwan as a sovereign country, they should call their country Taiwan," Chiu said.

Chiu said it was within Taiwan's power to change TECRO's name.

Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂), chairman of the World United Formosans for Independence, said there were two countries on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"One is the People's Republic of China; the other is the Republic of China. The only difference is that we do not have the word `people,'" Ng said.

According to Ng, it was Taiwan's former "dictators" -- referring to the previous KMT governments -- that did not allow the people to call the country "Taiwan."

Nora Tsay (葉寶桂), vice president of the North American Taiwanese Women's Association, said the campaign to rectify the country's name would be as difficult as moving a mountain.

"The campaign to rectify the name of TECRO is only like moving a rock of the mountain," Tsay said.

The groups had presented the 10,000 letters to TECRO chief Chen Chien-jen (程建人) in his Washington office last November and received his assurance that he would deliver them to the president when he went to Taiwan for his annual visit later in the month.

But the groups were disappointed with Chen Chien-jen's response to their presentation, so they decided to come to Taiwan to petition the president themselves.

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