Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Taiwan is not a province

There's been an awful lot of brouhaha over Google listing Taiwan as a Province of China. This story made front page news in the Taipei Times yesterday.

And now my thoughts on this:

The Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) recent protest of Google's listing of Taiwan as a province of China, is not an isolated case. This certainly isn't the first nor last time that Taiwan has or will be labeled a province of China. It is a reminder we must work to change any misrepresentations of Taiwan's status. But before pointing fingers at others, let's look no further than the back of our own cars at home. Has everyone forgotten that car license plates in Taiwan are labeled "Taiwan province"?

A typical Taiwan car license plate

The Chinese characters which appear on car license plates in Taiwan translate as: Taiwan province

If Taiwan persists in labeling itself a province, how can we expect others to throw off this label? So before the TSU demands an apology from Google, I say not only to the TSU, but to the people of Taiwan: How about launching a campaign to remove the word "province" from Taiwan's license plates?

A closer look for those of you who can't read Chinese:

These characters are pronounced: Taiwan (good characters to commit to memory)

This character is pronounced: sheng and means province (a character that should sooner be forgotten and removed from Taiwan's license plates)


  • At 10/05/2005 7:12 PM, Anonymous Chien-ming Lee said…

    The way I see it, Taipei has made a valid point. First, Taiwan is indeed a province of the Republic of China. Second, the ROC, in FACT, administers at least two provinces: Taiwan province and Fukien province (which includes the two small islands Kinmen and Machu barely a mile off the Chinese mainland's Fukien province). Therefore, I suggest Google respond to Taipei's request by adopting the following:

    Full name: The Republic of China's Taiwan province

    Short form: China's Taiwan.

  • At 10/07/2005 2:21 AM, Anonymous Mark said…

    Names have political power, and "Taiwan" has become the only legitimate name for Taiwan over the last fifty years. It is a political act, but they should drop the sheng from the number plates.

  • At 10/07/2005 9:57 PM, Blogger Feli said…

    Chien-ming, I find your comments confusing and somewhat contradictory.

    First you state that Taipei has made a valid point- by stating this do you mean to say that Taipei or rather, that Taiwan should rightly be disputing Google's description of Taiwan as a province of China? But then you end by saying that Taiwan should be referred to as Republic of China's Taiwan, which would be shortened to China's Taiwan.

    It is precisely these sorts of misperceptions that need to be stopped. The "Republic of China" is a myth. Outside of Taiwan it is a misguiding label. Which is it? Is Taiwan a part of China or not?

  • At 10/08/2005 8:11 AM, Anonymous Babuza said…

    Taiwan's status quo is a state, just the same as I am a man.
    It has all the necessary elements of being a country, i.e., territory, people, government, and military;
    just as I have head, eyes, trunk, limbs, and a woking brain.
    You can not deny it, just as you can not deny my existence.
    If Taiwan is part of China, you should go to Beijing for a passport to visit Taiwan.
    And Taiwanese should pay taxes and perform other duties under the PRC's Constitution.
    Is this a reality?
    The reality is Taiwan can sign treaties with other states, promulgate it's own laws, issue it's own paper money...
    The reality is Taiwan is an independent state pending to be recognized internationally.
    International recognition per se is NOT a prerequisite of being existence as a state!

  • At 10/08/2005 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is currently no more "province of Taiwan" within the "ROC" system. The old provincial government was dispensed either in one of the earlier constitutional amendments or through some legislation. In fact, "Taiwan" is now most often referred to as the entire territory that ROC occupies(as in "23 million people of Taiwan") or sometimes the main island of Taiwan (as in "the custom territories of Taiwan, Penghu, Qingmen and Matsu").

  • At 10/09/2005 8:12 PM, Anonymous Jen said…

    I do agree that Taiwan needs to enforce internal adjustments to better-correlate with the reality that Taiwan IS an independent entity (let's not get into the argument of 'statehood' for now).

    My pet peeve is how the media (mostly owned by Pan-Blue cronies, mind) are so adamant about using saying "??" or "??" in their reporting. AGH. That kills me.

    In contrast, the pan-Greens make every effort to correct the 5-6 decades of Sinicisation. I love how in southern Taiwan, there are so many houses with TAIWAN GUO signs near the entrance!! =D If only the media would follow suit. Alas, dare to dream.


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