A decision by the Swedish Tax Agency to change Taiwan’s designation on its Web site to a “province of China” is “inappropriate,” the Swedish-Taiwanese Parliamentarian Association (STPA) said in a letter to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
STPA chairperson and Swedish Legislator Caroline Szyber handed Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom a letter on behalf of about 40 Swedish lawmakers, who are members of the association, opposing the tax agency’s announcement.
The tax agency on Feb. 28 said that Taiwan would be listed as a “province of China,” instead of the “Republic of China,” on its Web site from tomorrow.
“First and foremost, the announced change obscures actual facts, causing the rest of the world to assume that Taiwan is a province of China, a confusion that is unfair to the people of Taiwan,” the letter said.
“Furthermore, the name change would inconvenience Taiwanese passport holders when going through customs in Sweden, because while Taiwanese enjoy a 90-day visa-free privilege, Chinese passport holders do not,” the letter said.
“If Taiwan is listed as part of China, there will be confusion as to why the privilege exists for Taiwanese passport holders, but not Chinese passport holders,” it added.
Swedish nationals applying for a visa to stay in Taiwan for more than 90 days could mistakenly send their applications to the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sweden instead of the Representative Office of Taiwan in Stockholm, Sweden, which is just as problematic, the letter said.
Taiwan and Sweden signed a double taxation avoidance treaty in 1991, it said, adding that if the name change goes into effect, Swedish businesses could mistakenly assume this was signed between China and Sweden, which could affect how they do business and potentially hurt their bottom line.
“Not only is the change inappropriate, it also shows how China is attempting to eliminate Taiwan through a technicality,” the letter said.
The technicality is the International Organization for Standardization 3166 country codes, which lists Taiwan as part of China and on which the Swedish Tax Agency based its decision.
Szyber and her peers called on the ministry to clarify its stance on the issue and to address whether they believe Taiwan is a province of China.
The Representative Office of Taiwan in Stockholm has lodged an official protest with the Swedish government against the name change and thanked the STPA for its support.
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