Fri, May 18, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Thousands sign Air Canada protest petition

By Peng Wan-hsin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

An online petition titled “The Air Canada Kowtow: Get Air Canada to stop referencing Taiwan as belonging to China” is pictured yesterday

.Photo: Screen grab from the Internet

An online petition to protest Air Canada’s listing of Taiwan as “Taipei, CN” on its Web site has received more than 3,000 signatures in two days, while Canada-based Taiwanese mull a boycott of the airline.

The petition, titled “The Air Canada Kowtow: Get Air Canada to stop referencing Taiwan as belonging to China,” was launched on Tuesday on the platform and has gathered more than 3,400 signatures as of press time last night.

The carrier on Tuesday began listing Taipei as “Taipei, CN” on its Web site, reportedly due to pressure from China.

“Though I moved from Taiwan to Canada when I was six, Taiwan still stayed in my heart,” said Chou Pang-yan (周邦諺), who started the petition.

“It’s my home, the place where I’m from, and the place I love dearly,” he wrote in the petition.

Chou compared the incident to a hypothetical scenario where the US asks Air Canada to “turn Ontario into Ontario, USA.”

Chou told reporters that he does not hate China or Air Canada, but he never thought this would happen in Canada.

He added that he loves Taiwan and hopes that the petition would allow businesses to understand that they should not underestimate Taiwanese.

After Air Canada began referring to Taiwan as a part of China, many of his friends from around the world felt upset, Chou said, adding that even a Chinese friend who is familiar with cross-strait relations expressed their support for Taiwan.

Although the petition might not sway Air Canada’s policy, Chou said he hopes that it would show businesses Taiwan’s strength.

He added that he would not fly Air Canada again.

Air Canada’s decision to change its references to Taiwan on its official Web site is ridiculous and a huge mistake, said Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in British Columbia president Charles Chang (張維霖), who on Tuesday issued a letter of protest on behalf of 973 Taiwanese businesses in the Canadian province.

The decision has resulted in great damage to Taiwan, Chang said, adding that he has heard from many Taiwanese who said they would not fly Air Canada again.

There are many other choices besides Air Canada, he added.

The Association of Taiwanese Organizations in Toronto on Wednesday also announced that it would issue letters of protest to Air Canada and to the Canadian foreign affairs and transport ministers.

Taiwanese across Canada are to try to unite to express their opposition to Air Canada’s decision and to ask the airline to change its references back to “Taiwan” on its official Web site, association convener Chung Ya-tse (鍾雅澤) said.

If Air Canada does not do so, Taiwanese in Canada are considering launching a boycott to collectively resist Air Canada, Chung added.

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