Thu, May 04, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US’ NAS mislabels nationality of vice president, academic

WHICH COUNTRY:A fellow Taiwanese National Academy of Sciences foreign associate said he would ask the group to change the designation

By Wu Po-wei, Chung Li-hua and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Vice President Chen Chien-jen, left, presents AU Optronics Corp president and chief operating officer Michael Tsai with an award for environment-friendly operations at an award ceremony held by “CommonWealth Magazine” in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: courtesy of AU Optronics Corp

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and Representative to the WTO Cyrus Chu (朱敬一) were among the 21 new foreign associates elected to the US-based National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on Tuesday.

However, Chen and Chu’s country of citizenship is listed on the NAS Web site as “Taiwan, China” — a mistake Chen has asked Academia Sinica to call to be corrected.

The last time a Taiwanese academic was made an NAS foreign associate was in 2005.

Academia Sinica research fellow Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信), who was elected a foreign associate in 2005 and recommended Chen Chien-jen to the US organization, said he would ask the NAS to correct the information on its Web site.

Established by the US Congress in 1863, the NAS is a non-governmental organization that advises the US government on issues related to science and technology, according to its Web site.

The organization has 2,290 active members — who must be US citizens and are responsible for nominating and electing new members and foreign associates — and 475 foreign associates, the Web site said.

Aside from Chen Ding-shinn, Chen Chien-jen and Chu, there are three other Taiwanese NAS foreign associates — Kenneth Hsu (許靖華), Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) and Tsui Lap-chee (徐立之).

Chen Ding-shinn said he was one of several individuals who recommended the vice president to NAS members, adding that an effort to nominate Chen Chien-jen began more than a year ago.

The NAS has consistently used “Taiwan” as the nationality on record for its Taiwanese foreign associates, Chen Ding-shinn said, adding that he was listed as a Taiwanese citizen after his election in 2005.

The error might have been a clerical one by NAS employees who are not familiar with Taiwan and relied on the UN’s designation of the nation as “Taiwan, Province of China,” he said.

Chen Ding-shinn said he would request that corrections be made, while expressing surprise at the mistake.

The NAS Web site listed Chen Ding-shinn’s nationality as “Taiwan” in its announcement for the 2005 election results, while Wu’s nationality was listed as “Taiwan (Republic of China)” in 2004.

Earlier yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was pleased that two Taiwanese academics had received such an honor, saying their election was evidence of international recognition for the nation’s contributions to knowledge.

In a later statement, Lin said the vice president found the mistake unacceptable and that Academia Sinica had contacted the NAS to demand corrections.

Chen Chien-jen said on Facebook that he was informed of the NAS election results late on Tuesday night through a congratulatory message from Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智).

He said the honor belongs to God and Taiwan.

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