Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Wong Chi-huey: ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ is wrong


Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) said yesterday that although Taiwan’s participation in the International Council of Science (ICSU) involves compromise because of sensitive political matters, academic institutions should respect Taiwanese researchers in putting “Taiwan” on their papers, instead of changing the name to “Taiwan, Province of China.”

Wong made the comments yesterday at a press conference held to congratulate former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh’s (李遠哲) election as the next ICSU president in response to a question on his thoughts on the ICSU’s Web site stating his birth place as “China Taipei.”

“There are three separate issues [at hand] here,” Wong said. “First, the name under which Taiwan participates in the ICSU is ‘The Academy of Science Located in Taipei,’ which has been in use for about two decades.”

Saying that the name was the result of a political compromise, Wong added that as China similarly does not participate under the name China, he felt that there was compromise on both sides and therefore would not seek to change the name China uses.

However, Wong said that having “China Taipei” as Lee’s birth place was “wrong and unacceptable,” adding that simply put, the place should be “Taiwan.”

Wong raised a third issue, saying that when Taiwanese scientists submit entries to foreign journals, the name “Taiwan” is repeatedly changed to “Taiwan, a province of China.”

“This is a more severe problem,” Wong said. “As it is a consensus that ‘Taiwan’ is the common name for the ‘Republic of China [ROC],’ and the ROC is the official name of Taiwan, and since the ROC is more sensitive, most scientists make their submissions under the name ‘Taiwan.’”

“Academic organizations should not interfere with [this title]. It is wrong and disrespectful,” he said.

As such, Academia Sinica has written correction requests to a number of journals and mostly received positive feedback, Wong said, adding that this may be a problem caused by the ISO.

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