From Chiang-era anti-communist propaganda on Green Island to the .tw suffix on tourism Web sites, Chinese sensibilities are being hurt, and Taiwanese are under pressure to rectify the matter, or else risk being marginalized
Despite the touted economic benefits of flourishing Chinese tourism to Taiwan, it is becoming increasingly clear that the dividends are coming at a price — one that, sadly, some seem willing to pay.
With some People’s Republic of China nationals able to travel independently to Taiwan beginning later this month, the Yilan County Business and Tourism Department last week announced it wanted to open a Web site in China and, in doing so, would likely drop the “.tw” suffix to make itself more palatable to Chinese authorities.
A representative from the Yilan County Lodging Association also said that homestays and bed-and-breakfast operators in the county would probably encounter severe difficulty attracting Chinese tourists if they insist on using the “.tw” suffix, an indication that operators and officials may have little compunction in making such a sacrifice in the name of business.
Ostensibly seen as a small compromise on the part of Yilan officials, their willingness to abandon yet another symbol of Taiwan’s sovereignty nevertheless risks engaging the nation further down what could be a very slippery slope. Not only is this flexibility voluntary, it sends a signal to Beijing that a simple nudge or threat will likely suffice when it wants to exact further concessions from Taiwan in the future.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.