Beijing's 'namefare' against Taiwan is backfiring
China/TaiwanOpinion Beijingâs ânamefareâ against Taiwan is backfiring July 31, 2018 12:29 PM (UTC+8)
Beijingâs campaign of ânamefareâ â" to discredit Taiwanâs status as a de facto independent state by confiscating the use of the name Taiwan â" has accelerated as of late. Namefare has most notably been conducted on the websites of international airlines, but is also showing up at sporting and cultural events. The campaign to disabuse others from using the name âTaiwanâ is just part of Beijingâs strategy to unite Taiwan with the mainland, a duty it considers âsacred.â
Media around the world have widely reported on Beijingâs demand for international airlines to change how their websites refer to Taiwan by July 25. Despite accusations of bullying, and widespread condemnation by Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, Beijingâs efforts succeeded. All 44 international airlines contacted by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in April have amended their websites, although measures taken by US airlines were deemed incomplete.The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox
Many of the airlines, including Air Canada and British Airways, changed their websites to âTaiwan, China,â while US airlines removed âTaiwanâ and list only city names. Hawaiian Airlines changed its reference to âTaipei, Taipei.â
The namefare over the use of âTaiwanâ on the websites of international airlines has also been waged on other industries and companies. The website of the Marriott hotel chain was temporarily suspended in January after labeling Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries. The Gap, a clothing retailer, issued an apology to China in May after a T-shirt it sold in Canada did not show Taiwan as part of China.
Most recently, Beijingâs use of namefare has extended to youth sports, such as the 2019 East Asian Youth Games to be held in Taichung, Taiwan. The East Asian Olympic Committee recently revoked its decision for the Games to be held in Taiwan, apparently yielding to pressure from Beijing. Beijing has even gone so far to force the withdrawal of a junior-high-school choir scheduled to perform at a United Nations building as part of the World Peace Choral Festival held in Vienna.
By engaging in namefare, Beijing appears to have abandoned its soft-power approach to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese and is willing to accept a decline in its popularity among Taiwanese. A poll conducted in May revealed that nearly 80% of Taiwanese thought China was unfriendly toward Taiwan.
Beyond Taiwanâs shores, the namefare controversy has only drawn increased attention to the issue of Taiwan, and may have even generated more international sympathy for the Taiwanese. As the Irish author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde once said, âThe only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.â
While the increased sympathy may be insufficient to counter Beijingâs use of implied economic threats when conducting namefare, it has led to dialogue among governments and citizens surrounding just how far China will go to protect its own interests.Asia Times is not responsible for the opinions, facts or any media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report. Gary Sands is a senior analyst at Wikistrat, a crowdsourced consultancy, and a director at Highway West Capital Advisors, a venture capital, project financ e and political risk advisory. He has contributed a number of op-eds for Forbes, US News and World Report, Newsweek, The Diplomat, The National Interest, EurasiaNet, and the South China Morning Post. He is currently based in Taipei. Twitter@ForeignDevil666 continue readingSource: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan