After Arunachal Pradesh row, China changes Taiwan's name in sports contest
China chose a sports contest to announce the change of the name of Taiwan, a self-governed cash-rich island. The state-run China Central Television addressed Taiwan at the 2017 Asian Table Tennis Championships on April 11 as "Zhongguo Taipei" instead of "Zhonghua Taipei," a report in the Global Times website said.
Zhongguo and Zhonghua both mean China, but Zhonghua refers to a general concept of a Chinese nation, while Zhongguo refers to the People's Republic of China. The change sparked criticism from Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Katherine Chang.
Katherine said that her "government" would not accept this "unilateral act of dwarfing" from the mainland. China dismissed accusations that the mainland has "dwarfed" Taiwan by changing how the island is addressed on mainstream media, the report said.
The Chinese mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang defended the move, saying that the mainland media has always reported on Taiwan-related events according to the One-China policy, and that the so-called "act of dwarfing" does not exist.
"Our policy is consistent and has not changed. Taiwan's table tennis team is participating based on arrangements made by Olympic committees across the Taiwan Straits," Ma said. China consistently objects to Taiwan's participation in any international tournament or event pointing to 'One China' policy. It has repeatedly stated that Taiwan is its inalienable part and must be reunified with the mainland even by force.
Significantly the change of name of Taiwan apparently for the first time after it was estranged from the mainland since 1949 came after the China announced the "standardisation" of names of six areas of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of 'South Tibet'. The move was widely seen as a retaliation to India's permission to the Dalai Lama to visit the border areas.
India has rejected China's move to rename six places in Arunachal Pradesh, saying that the state is an integral part of India and inventing names to the towns of ones neighbour does not make territorial claims legal. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had defended the move, saying it was its "lawful right" to do so. In recent years, China has come out with "historic" Chinese names to buttress its claims for the South China Sea islands and the disputed islands with Japan to establish its claims.
The change in how Taiwan is addressed on mainland TV comes at a time when cross-straits relations continue to deteriorate following last year's election win of Beijing critic Tsa-Ing-wen as President defeating Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-Jeou.
China is bitter that Tsai Ing-wen administration in Taiwan refuses to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, which stresses on the One-China policy, since it came to power in May last year despite repeated calls from the mainland. Her attitude has irritated Beijing, which considers the 1992 Consensus the very foundation of all cooperation, the report said. As a consequence, the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan has fallen 36.2 per cent in the seven months since Tsai's inauguration.