Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taiwan stuck in a ‘Red Queen race’

Not so long ago the battle was waged on the beaches of ‘Taiwan’ versus ‘Chinese Taipei.’ Taiwanese have now been forced to retreat to defensive battles of ‘Chinese Taipei’ versus ‘Taiwan, province of China’

One can sense that elections are coming when President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) camp resumes its use of the word “Taiwan,” a term that has become close to verboten in both official declarations and abroad in the three years since he took office.

The recent controversy over a leaked WHO memo instructing staff at the global health body to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, province of China” has Beijing’s fingers all over it — there is confirmation that the designation was the result of a memorandum of understanding signed by China and the WHO in 2005.

However, one need not look across the Taiwan Strait for signs that the designation Taiwan is under assault. Under Ma, an unwritten rule has emerged whereby government agencies now refer to the country as the Republic of China (ROC) rather than Taiwan, a policy that has been appropriated by the state-owned Central News Agency in both its Chinese and English-language coverage.

My op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

The China Post responded to my op-ed on May 26 with an editorial that is not only factually wrong, but, even more reprehensible, is downright xenophobic and engages in conspiracy theories — standard operating procedure for the pan-blue camp when responding to criticism nowadays. The editorial was also reproduced on the National Policy Foundation (KMT think tank) Web site.