Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Taipei decries ‘out of control’ Beijing

‘EVIL INTENT’:The ministry said that China calling for international firms to change how they refer to Taiwan illustrates its aim of downgrading the nation’s sovereignty

Staff writer, with agencies

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang speaks at a news conference in Taipei on March 23 last year.

Photo: Li Hsin-fang, Taipei Times

The government yesterday said that it would not bow to Chinese pressure and called for the support of the international community against China’s “out-of-control actions” after Beijing urged Apple, Amazon.com and other foreign companies to change the way they refer to Taiwan.

“As for China’s related out-of-control actions, we need to remind the international community to face this squarely and to unite efforts to reduce and contain such actions,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) told reporters in Taipei.

“Brutal behaviors” such as forcing the “one country, two systems” model on Taiwan, using politics to affect other nations’ economies or threatening foreign enterprises to alter references to Taiwan are all efforts by Beijing to interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations, he said.

Such actions not only risk destabilizing the international community, but could also cause the world to lose faith in and respect for China, and constitute a “blatant disruption” to the positive development of cross-strait relations, he added.

Taiwan is undoubtedly closely linked to the international community, Huang said, adding that changing its name online would not erase it from the world.

Huang’s remarks came after one of China’s top government-linked think tanks, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a report earlier this month that 66 of the world’s 500 largest companies have used “incorrect labels” for Taiwan.

According to the Chinese state-run Legal Daily, the academy’s report, which was cowritten with Peking University’s Internet Development Research Institution, said that 53 companies also referred to Hong Kong “erroneously” and 45 referred to both “incorrectly.”

An official at the institute told Reuters that the report had not yet been published and declined to provide a copy.

China has stepped up its pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016.

That has included rising Chinese scrutiny in the past few months over how companies from airlines, such as Air Canada, to retailers, such as Gap, refer to the nation.

Nike, Siemens, ABB, Subaru and other companies were also on the list.

Apple, Amazon, ABB, Siemens, Subaru and Nike did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Reuters.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday also condemned China’s action in a news release, saying that the move demonstrated Beijing’s “evil intent” to downgrade the nation’s sovereignty.

The ministry reiterated that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation, a fact that would not be changed by China’s actions, saying that such acts of bullying would only further “widen the rift between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

It also called on the international community to join Taipei in opposing Chinese bullying.

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