‘China Taipei’ appellation for violinist plucks protest

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Jul 11, 2015 - Page 3

The Mainland Affairs Council has lodged a complaint with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) after the nationality of Taiwanese violinist Tseng Yu-chien (曾宇謙) was changed from “Taiwan” to “China Taipei” at a prize-winners’ concert in Moscow, council spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) said.

Tseng won the silver medal in the violin category at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow on Wednesday last week.

At the prize-winners’ concert on Friday last week, Tseng was introduced as being from “China Taipei.” Tseng’s nationality was also changed from “Taiwan” to “China Taipei” on the official Web site of the event after he won the silver medal.

“It was an affront to the Republic of China’s (ROC) dignity,” Wu said. “China has no right to stake a claim on Taiwan’s excellence in cultural performance and its actions have offered no respect for the feelings and dignity of the Taiwanese people.”

“The TAO should be practical about the rights of Taiwanese citizens to be active on the international stage and not seek to undermine the hard-won mutual trust and results of the cross-strait relationship,” Wu said.

When Tseng returned to Taiwan on Wednesday, he said he was sorry to hear of the imposed change in his nationality, adding that he had registered his nationality as “Taiwanese” at every stage of the competition.

He said one way to combat the nationality change is for more young Taiwanese to become successful in their respective fields.

“As more Taiwanese win renown on the international stage, the global community will see Taiwan as it is and give us our due,” he said.

Tseng said the award he received still used “Taiwan” as his nationality and joked that he will have to keep it safe so it is not changed too.

When asked why the nation’s representative to Russia, Chen Chun-shen (陳俊賢), had not lodged a complaint at the concert, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and other foreign representatives were present at the event and Chen had been unable to move freely due to tight security.

The Representative Office in Moscow for the Taipei-Moscow Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission filed a complaint with the host of the concert afterwards, the ministry said.

Additional reporting by Yang Yuan-ting and Chu Pei-hsiung