Several overseas Taiwanese groups on Wednesday called for changing the English-language title on the nation’s passport to “Taiwan,” while World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) in Taiwan urged the government to promote the name change at a time when the nation is drawing unprecedented attention worldwide for its efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement titled “Let Taiwan Passport Be Taiwan,” 46 Taiwanese organizations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania said they are all familiar with stories of confusion at foreign immigration desks when Taiwanese present a passport that says “Republic of China” on the cover.
Although the word “Taiwan” also appears on the passport cover, foreign immigration authorities often mistake it for a Chinese passport, the groups said.
A constitutional amendment to change Taiwan’s official name — the Republic of China (ROC) — might not be possible in the near term, while but there is broad public support for the use of the English designation “Taiwan,” the organizations said, citing a poll that showed 74.3 percent of Taiwanese support that name.
Ken Wu (吳兆峯), director of the Los Angeles branch of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, said that he had met many people who did not know “the difference between the ROC and the PRC [People’s Republic of China]” in his work in the financial field.
In some cases, Taiwanese clients are misidentified as Chinese, which can have significant legal repercussions, said Wu, whose organization is among those that signed the statement.
He said that while a name change on passports was unlikely, the government should make an effort, particularly in light of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) long-term goal of promoting the use of the name “Taiwan” internationally.
The “Let Taiwan Passport Be Taiwan” statement followed an online petition launched by an overseas Taiwanese group to change the name of Taiwan’s flagship carrier, China Airlines (CAL), to “Taiwan Airlines.”
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Tuesday expressed support for changing CAL’s name, but said it might not be easy as it could affect the nation’s freedoms of the air privileges.
CAL could use “more symbols of Taiwan” to prevent misconceptions about its origin, Su said.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday endorsed Su’s stance, saying the government would increase the recognizability of things representing Taiwan and that members of the public have shown their creativity in suggesting potential alternatives.
Meanwhile, WUFI urged the Tsai administration to make more progress in promoting the nation’s name change at this critical juncture.
Taiwan has received unprecedented attention from other countries because of its effective response to contain COVID-19, which is a good opportunity for Taiwan to assert its sovereignty and rights to join international organizations, it said in a news release yesterday.
It would not push Tsai to complete the name change process immediately, but Tsai should show her committment to the nearly 8.17 million people who voted for her in the Jan. 11 presidential election, it said.
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two