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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:

我真的很不想讓媒體牽著鼻子走,身為一個小老百姓,比較關心的才不是那些抗爭事件吧!而是想知道這些改名的預算,究竟是從那裡跑出來的?如果去年就已經編列,那表示這件事早就規劃好了,為什麼大家現在才在抗爭?如果沒有編列,是不是又偷挪用老百姓繳的錢來做這些沒有意義的事了?除此之外,我也很關心,究竟這些國營事業改名之後,我們也必需跟著做那些更動?例如,郵局的金融卡要怎麼重發?還是可以繼續沿用?和中油有關的信用卡還可以繼續使用嗎?

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,

民進黨認為只要把跟中國、中華有關的名字改成台灣就是『對』,但這基本上就很有問題,首先,把中國換成台灣沒有任何民意基礎,請問民進黨有徵詢過所有中華民國人民的意見嗎?這包含屬於中華民國的澎湖、金門、馬祖地區,所以為何要用台灣這個名字?...並非所有人都跟民進黨一樣認同台灣獨立,尤其是在這個國內國家意識非常分歧的時期,許多人不見得認同民進黨認為中華民國並非獨立國家的論述...使用中華民國這個名字不見得跟以台灣為中心的思考衝突,反而是基於認同中華文化背景,以台灣為主體,融合中國及其他地區的綜合個體...第三,使用台灣這個名稱在國際上有地區化自己國家的疑慮…就像許多國際場合香港仍舊使用香港這個名稱一樣...

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,

當一個韓國大學生能夠清楚表述台灣是個主權獨立國家之時,能夠用歷史來論述東亞政治關係之時,我們的政府以『歷史』之名告訴我們,清朝時期,我們的郵政的標記就是『台灣』。清朝?!...雲南的郵票,也是打著雲南的名號啊!...不思透過各種實質的方式,藉著國際交流討論,和鄰近國家的交合,來浮現台灣作為一個主權國家的主體性,而是以歷史之名自清。

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

『北市為了與國際接軌,仍將採用漢語拼音,而且重要路面的路標將於十一月底更改完成』。所以,十一月底,我們會看到馬英九花費2500萬元,讓台北大街小巷都可以看到他所創造的世界級笑話。

…”[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,

台灣已經被綠營綁架到跟中華民國也沒兩樣的狀況了...強迫人『愛國』『忠誠』,只要不符合他的標準的,都是『背叛』...可悲的是,綠營的操作方式居然也跟國民黨一樣。

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.

也許某些機構商標的正名有其正當性有其必要性,然而,不分青紅皂白的正名已經讓台灣人感到厭煩感到憤怒。民進黨和國民黨的領導者真應該靜下心來想想怎麼讓這個國家以最少的錢達到最大的效益,而不是藉由鼓動中國意識與本土意識的對立來達到他們的政治利益。

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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