Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

EVA Air subjected to boycott call

WHOSE WINGS?Pan-green supporters are angry after the apparently pro-green air carrier EVA carried the slogan ``pride of the Chinese people'' in its Web advertising

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

The EVA Airways official Web site is shown with added text reading ``Protest! Chinese? Sorry, the Taiwanese won't pay the bill'' and ``Refuse to travel with EVA Air!!'' The image was posted on the online forum of the newspaper South News yesterday after EVA changed its Chinese-language slogan from ``Wings of Taiwan'' to ``Pride of the Chinese people.''

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

Pan-green supporters yesterday called for a boycott against EVA Air on a Web site forum, accusing the corporation of pro-China sentiment, highlighting a reference to "the pride of the Chinese people" on the company's Web site.

A picture of the EVA Airway official Web site, featuring a close-up of a paragraph mentioning "the pride of the Chinese people," was posted on the online forum of the pro-green newspaper South News on Wednesday. The author, identified only as "midigear," added to the picture in bold red lettering, "Protest! Chinese? Sorry, the Taiwanese won't pay the bill."

Next Magazine reported last month that references to the "Wings of Taiwan" on the EVA Air Web site's corporate profile had been replaced with "Pride of the Chinese people."

However, the English-language version of the Web site remains unchanged, stating "From the wellspring of its Taiwanese heritage, [the Evergreen Group] built on the strengths of its culture and created EVA Air -- the Wings of Taiwan."

EVA Air public relations officer Liu Li-wen (劉俐文) denied that any changes had been made to the company Web site, saying that it had always read "pride of the Chinese people."

"There is no particular hidden meaning to be found in "pride of the Chinese people. This is very common wording," Liu told the Taipei Times yesterday.

But she added that the "Wings of Taiwan" slogan was now outdated and had been replaced with "Just relax -- your home in the air."

Choosing green for the color of everything from the interior of the carriers to the uniforms worn by its employees, EVA Airways had previously been regarded as a "pro-green corporation" and as a pro-localization alternative to China Airlines.

In addition, Chang Jung-fa (張榮發), chairman of the Evergreen Group which owns EVA Airways, had been a member of an advisory group instrumental to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) victory in the 2000 election.

Media reports claimed that Chang had switched his political loyalties during the run-up to the March election. Chang wanted a candidate that would "build a peaceful, stable and harmonious cross-strait relationship in order to lead us to re-create Taiwan's economic miracle."

Chang expressed his dissatisfaction with the failure to lift bans on direct links with China.

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