Taipei’s street names should reflect a “Taiwanese spirit,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said in an online video released yesterday, in which he asked why many of them are named after locations in China.
In a three-minute video uploaded to a Facebook page called “Taiwanese Uncle Ko Wen-je” (台灣阿北柯文哲), the mayor suggested changing the names of Taipei streets.
The page’s banner was a photograph of Ko on Jade Mountain’s (玉山) main peak.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The page was closed at about noon, about four hours after it was made public.
Ko said that street names in the capital named “Ningxia,” “Tibet,” “Beiping” — an old name for Beijing — “Tianjin” and “Changan” make walking them a disconcerting experience, as they are names of provinces or cities in China.
“For Taiwanese who grew up on this piece of land, it is really confusing that the street names refer to Chinese cities,” he said.
“They are a trace of history, not names from Taiwan,” he said.
“I think it is strange that the headquarters of a political party that claims to be the ‘most local’ is on Beiping E Road,” he said, an apparent reference to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“You must agree that it is strange,” he said.
Changing street names is important, so perhaps a “street name rectification” platform would allow people from across political lines to discuss the issue and propose names that represent the “Taiwanese spirit,” he said.
Then Taipei residents would have street names that represent them better, Ko said.
When asked about the page, Ko said that “it was established by a friend.”
Taipei City Government deputy spokesperson Wei Yu-jen (魏佑任) said that the page was not set up by the city government, nor by the Taiwan People’s Party, of which Ko is the chairman.
It might have been established by a supporter, Wei said, adding that he did not know when the video was filmed.
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