Sat, Feb 10, 2007 - Page 1 News List

State-run firms begin name change

MONIKER SWITCH Three of the nation's largest state-run firms began the process of including Taiwan in their titles, sparking immediate protests from opposition parties

By Shelley Shan, Jackie Lin, Jimmy Chuang and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Amid raucous protests by unions and opposition members, three state-run companies changed their names yesterday, dropping "China" references and including "Taiwan" in their official titles.

Government officials said the move was part of a bid to avoid confusion among members of the international community, which could mistake Taiwan for China.

Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中國石油) and China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC, 中國造船) approved their name changes in board meetings yesterday.

CPC has been renamed "CPC Corp, Taiwan" (台灣中油), while CSBC was changed to "CSBC Corp, Taiwan" (台灣國際造船).

The board of Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政) also approved changing its name to "Taiwan Post Co" (台灣郵政) after hours of delays because of labor union protests.

"The chairman [of the meeting] ruled today that the number of board directors present has met the requirements of conference rules," Chunghwa Post Co chairman Lai Ching-chyi (賴清祺) said, after spending almost eight hours trying to hold the board meeting and switching venues four times. "The conference is, therefore, legal."

That the decision was made without three board members who represent the Chunghwa Post Workers Union infuriated some employees of one of the nation's oldest state-run companies.

Lai said that company had informed the union that the meeting would be held at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' (MOTC) headquarters.

Board members were waiting for the union's representatives for at least 30 minutes before the meeting began, Lai added.

The union's board members arrived at the MOTC building yesterday afternoon intending to join the meeting, but they were blocked at the entrance by police.

"Congratulations," Chunghwa Post Workers Union chairman Tsai Liang-chuan (蔡兩全) told Lai after the meeting was over, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Tsai added that the union would launch a protest next Monday. One of the union's board members told reporters that he had filed a lawsuit against Chunghwa Post at the Taipei District Court, but did not provide details.

The postal service board had been scheduled to hold a routine board meeting yesterday at 9am, but the members were unable to reach a decision in the morning, as workers broke into the meeting room and interrupted the proceedings. The meeting's chairman dismissed the board at 12:30pm.

Board directors representing the government left the headquarters and tried to locate different venues to meet.

Lai said yesterday after the meeting that the name change would facilitate delivery of mail in the future. Some mail is sent to China by mistake, he said, because mail personnel in other countries often confuse Taiwan with China.

He also said that replacing the names on the billboards as well as other items would cost the company only approximately NT$67 million (US$2.1 million).

Tsai said, however, that the expenses would be more than the sum Lai claimed, if changing the titles of personal account books and postal delivery trucks are taken into account.

Tsai added that Taiwan is not one of the members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and had to be informed about information updates from the union through South Korea.

Given the pressure from China, Taiwanese stamps may not be recognized by other nations, which would result in a cross-strait postal delivery crisis, he said.

Meanwhile, adding the word "corporation" to the English titles of "CPC Corp, Taiwan" and "CSBC Corp, Taiwan" was not redundant, Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said, as the acronyms have become recognized corporate logos.

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