President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday appealed to the head of the Lions Club International (CLI) to assist Taiwan in changing its official title from "Chinese Taiwan" to "Taiwan," a resolution the chapter's representatives passed about two years ago.
Chen made the remarks while accepting the "International President's Award," the CLI' s highest honor, from the organization's president Ashok Mehta.
The Taiwanese chapter passed the name change resolution via a referendum on Jan. 11, 2004, in a move against the CLI, which changed the chapter's official name from "Republic of China" to "Chinese Taiwan" under pressure from the Chinese government on April 10, 2002.
The chapter's resolution, however, has yet to receive any positive response from the organization's headquarters. While the headquarters uses "Multiple District 300 Taiwan" as Taiwan's name in its internal documents, its official title remains "Chinese Taiwan."
"No one person, group, or country has the right to change the name chosen by the representatives of the Taiwanese chapter," Chen said.
Chen said that adding the word "Chinese" before "Taiwan" made Taiwan look like part of China's territory, which is absolutely inconsistent with reality.
Chen called on CLI's headquarters, led by Mehta, to assist the Taiwanese chapter in changing its name, noting the government will support the move.
In response to Chen's request, Ashok Mehta was quoted by the Presidential Office's press release as promising that he would do his best to settle the controversial issue.
"It is unavoidable that CLI chapters sometimes have rows with each other. If they can sit down and talk, I believe they will surely find a solution in the end," he said.