Taiwan: Name-rectification Debate

The two terms “Taiwan” and “Republic of China” ( R.O.C.) has been intertwined together for the last decades. However, after several elections, with the switch in ruling parties from the pro- Chinese- unification party KMT to the pro- Taiwan- independence party DPP, these two terms are now at the focus of political controversy.

With its pro-Taiwan-independence tendency, the ruling party DPP has been promoting the “Taiwan identity”. For example, the authority has taken actions in modifying the high school history texbooks, in particular sections related Taiwan's relationship to China and Japan. Another action is the removal of bronze statues of Chiang Kai-Shek, Taiwanese ex-president from 1950 to 1975 who viewed by many Taiwanese as a dictator. Name-rectification is a recent project. The so-called “name-rectification” means governmental organizations and institutions officially change their names from Chung-Kuo (China, 中國) or Chung-Hwa (the Chinese nation, 中華) to Taiwan (台灣). For instance, ChungHwa Post Co., the nation's postal service, has just switched its name to Taiwan Post Co., and Chinese Petroleum Corp., the largest oil refinery, has its new name as CPC Crop., Taiwan.

There are varied opinions among Taiwanese bloggers: timing and the motive of the authority to promote the name-rectification project is in question and has attracted heavy criticism. Although some support the name-rectification, the legitimacy of the means to approve the name-rectification is still under debate.

Supporters claim that the name-rectification contributes to commercial benefits. Mark says:

請注意,重點是:然而帶有「中華」、「中國」商標的台灣申請人,迄今未曾有核准案例,即使該商標已長久使用而具有顯著性者仍無法獲得註冊。 所以,該不該正名,從商業利益角度,當然應該正名。

The point is that no trademark registration with Chung-Hwa or Chung-Kao applied by Taiwanese applicants has been approved so far, albeit the trademark has been used for a long time. Therefore, for business consideration, of course, the name-change is a right thing should have been done.

However, others point out that name-rectification of state-run firms might cause inconvenience and unnecessary costs. John writes:


Media always tell audiences what to think about an issue! I, one of the masses, do not really care about protests against name-rectification. I do rather doubt that where comes budget for name changes. If these state-run firms have already budgeted for name changes, it implies that the action has been well-planned, then how come these demonstrations appear so late? If they did not budget for name changes, does it mean that they secretly misappropriate taxes we citizens paid to do unmeaningful things? Besides, I am wondering whether we have to extra work to follow through the name switching. For instance, If I have a bank card issue by ChungHwa Post Co, will I have a replacement after the name change to Taiwan Post Co.? Or Will I just keep using the old one? How about credit cards in association with Chinese Petroleum Corp.?

Animation Notebook said,


DPP thought it is right to do so, but did they ask the opinion of people in ROC? ROC includes not only Taiwan but also many islands, so why do we use “Taiwan”?…Not all of us look forward for the independence of the Republic of Taiwan, and not all of us agree with the claim that ROC is not an independent country…With the name, “Chung-Kao” or “Chung-Hwa”, we relate ourselves to Chinese culture. The recognition of Chinese culture does not conflict with nativism, because we can have Chinese culture as the background, Taiwan as the base for our subjectivity, and integrate with other cultures…Using the name, “Taiwan” might also mislead other people to think we are part of PRC like Hong-Kong…

Anthropologist sitting in social field also said,


When a Korean undergraduate can clearly describe that Taiwan is an independent country, back up by the Asian diplomatic relationship history, our government tells us that in Qing Dynasty, the name of our post office is “Taiwan”. Isn't the post office in Yunnan with the name of Yunnan in Qing Dynasty as well?!…Our government tries to appropriate history to show that we are an independent country instead of international discussion and building relationship with our neighbor countries.

However, many people point out that the name-change issue represents the wrestling of the politicians from the two parties. Yuan Xu Wu Wu (言之無物) points out (zh) if name-change is a consistent policy of DPP, then “Yu (Dean of Executive Yuan) should check the name and avoid ‘Chung-Hwa’ when the post office changed the name last time.” 914 quotes from Southern News and points out that Ma Ying-Jeou had also promoted name-rectification when he was Mayor of Taipei. Ma stated that


…”[T]o become an integrate part of the global community, Taipei city will adopt Hanyu Pinyin rather than Tongyong Pinyin”. As a consequence, we will see Ma spends 2.5 million NTD in making a world joke everywhere in Taipei city.

Xiao Mao Luan Pao Hong Pei Che (小貓亂跑烘焙車) mentions that

我一直在納悶,如果我支持台獨,那麼,我看到正名運動不是應該感到高興嗎?但我只感到羞恥,正名不是風光快樂的,而是因為執政太失敗, 搞些別的名目來掩人耳目罷了嘛.證明了什麼?

I am always wondering that if I have been supporting Taiwan Independence all the time, I should feel happy when the authority conducts name-rectification. On the contrary, I feel shameful. It is only a way to divert people's attention from fails in ruling. The name-rectification does not mean anything.

Ubi Amor Ibi Fides says with frustration,


now DPP kidnaps Taiwanese as what KMT did before…They evaluate patriotism and loyalty based on our obedience with their rules; if we don't, we are regarded as traitors…it is so sad that the action DPP takes is similar with KMT.


Maybe the name-change action is based on some good reasons, however, the actions DPP recently took makes Taiwanese feel irritated and angry. The leaders of both parties should sit down and seriously make a good plan for the country: how maximize people's interest. They should not try to make political gain from fueling the conflict between people who favor pro- Chinese- unification and people who favor pro- Taiwan- independence.

1 comment

  • Tyrone

    Fact is all of Taiwan needs to join together as a solid unified nation, this is the only way Taiwan can stand up to the communists accross the strait. To do this Taiwan needed a Super Leader which my family was fooled into thinking Chen Shui-Bian was in 2000 (embarassingly we all voted for him). But Tragically president Chen seriously dropped the ball, had some kind of personal score to settle and went astray of the promises in reforms and economic development and keeping Taiwans unified as one.

    So abominable was president Chen’s totally incompentence that he then decided to sweep his legacy as a do nothing president under the carpet by deliberately dividing Taiwan into 2 poles. This is very, very sad yet many Native English teachers of Taiwan continue to provide artificial support for the DPP. I cant understand why any foreigner (other than David Duke) that was fortunate to grow up in a free nation like the USA where politicians must always try to unite the masses can come to Taiwan and decide Taiwan is an exception, only on Taiwan is it GOOD to support politicians that deliberately seperate the masses.

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