Thu, Mar 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Swedish media cover furor over designation change

Staff writer, with CNA

The Swedish Tax Agency’s decision to change the designation for Taiwan to “province of China” has been widely covered by Swedish newspapers, as the number of people supporting a petition drive calling for the change to be retracted continues to rise.

On Feb. 28, the agency announced its decision to change the designation for Taiwan from “Taiwan ROC [Republic of China]” to “Taiwan, province of China” in accordance with International Organization for Standardization standard 3166. The policy took effect on Monday.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri on Tuesday reported that the change has stirred an outpouring of protests from Taiwan toward the agency.

The newspaper cited a petition launched by the Swedish-Taiwanese Friendship Association against the “offensive” term, which had attracted more than 14,000 signatures at press time last night.

It also cited a protest letter sent by the Taipei Mission in Sweden to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasting the change as “not only historically incorrect, but degrading to Taiwanese and their democratic system.”

The report quoted Hong Kong-based Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang (王松蓮) as saying that the decision could be based on pressure from Beijing.

The Swedish media and public must demand answers from the Swedish government on whether it surrendered to the Chinese government and committed self-censorship on Swedish soil, Wang was quoted as saying.

At a time when Taiwan has developed into a well-functioning democracy, China is still a dictatorial one-party state, the newspaper said, adding that Western companies have been increasingly exposed to systematic “economic extortion” to accept Beijing’s authoritarian systems and geopolitical ambitions.

The report followed an editorial on Saturday by Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, in which political editor Lars Stroman criticized the Swedish government, saying that it did China’s bidding.

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