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Taiwan NGOs still facing obstructions from China

Taiwan NGOs still facing obstructions from China

Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) Taiwan's nongovernmental organizations are still facing China's obstruction internationally with more than a dozen NGOs being requested to change their names this year, but the trend was unrelated to the new flexible diplomatic approach of Taiwan's government, according to a foreign ministry official.
"Around a dozen Taiwan NGOs were requested to change names by respective international NGOs this year. The number is slightly down from last year, " said David Wu, vice chairman of the NGO Affairs Committee.
Due to political differences, China has been blocking Taiwan's representation in the international organizations -- governmental or non-governmental -- for years. In most cases, Taiwan NGOs are asked to change their names to "Taiwan, China", "Chinese Taipei" or other names.
"There are still incidents of Beijing blocking Taiwan NGOs' representation in the international community, " President Ma Ying-jeou said on Dec. 18, adding that his administration hopes China would move away from that trend of interference "to avoid giving Taiwan's people a bad impression of Chinese authorities." For example, the Internet Society requested its Taiwan chapter to change its membership name to "Taiwan, China" this year, a case which is still being negotiated bilaterally, Wu said.
The Internet Society Taiwan Chapter, YWCA and Taiwan Nurses Association (TNA) are only among a handful of NGOs that face problems each year. Wu noted that there are 2,162 Taiwanese NGOs that are members of INGOs.
The most important thing in such cases is whether the NGO will retain its full rights as a member, regardless of whether its name is eventually changed or not, Wu said.
Answering reporters' questions, Wu said the number of such cases is "unrelated to the flexible diplomacy" Taiwan government is now implementing to ease cross-Taiwan Strait tensions.
Sometimes it is the INGOs who take the initiative to ask Taiwanese NGOs to change their names because those INGOs want to recruit Chinese NGOs, Wu added.
Citing the 70,000-member strong TNA, whose executive director Teresa Yin served as the second vice president of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), as an example, Wu encouraged Taiwan NGOs to increase their participation in the INGOs, because those with high-level representation in international organizations are more likely to be able to fend off China's interference.
Government agencies and NGOs are doing everything they can to relay their message to China, hoping that the long-time rival would relax its interference on Taiwan's international civic participation, he said.
The NGO Affairs Committee asked the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to add the issue to the cross-strait negotiation agenda, Wu said, but the proposal was turned down.
(By Chris Wang)




Updated : 2021-03-09 19:20 GMT+08:00