China forbids terms 'Formosa' and 'Republic of China'

China bans use of 'Formosa' and 'Republic of China' in media, instead encourages use of 'Taiwan area'

(By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's state-run Xinhua News Agency released a list of "forbidden words" related to Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, which bans the terms "Formosa" and "Republic of China" from being used in news reports, while also throwing a small bone to the "feelings of Taiwanese compatriots."

China's official press agency first listed the forbidden words in 2015 with 45 articles. The agency recently added 57 articles, in which the rules relating to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau increased significantly, Hong Kong's Initium Media reported.

In the fourth section of the list, titled "Forbidden words touching upon the national territory and sovereignty Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan," China prohibits words like "Taiwanese Government" (台湾政府) and "Republic of China" (中华民国) when describing Taiwan. Instead, it calls for all references to the Taiwan government after October 1, 1949, (the date Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong declared the People's Republic of China), as the "Taiwan authority" (台湾当局) and the "Taiwan side" (台湾方面). It also strictly prohibits the use of the calendar, flag, emblem, or song of the Republic of China. 

In article 54, it states that the name "Formosa" (福摩萨) shall not be used because of its colonial connotations. If reference is absolutely necessary, it must be placed in quotes. 

However, the new regulations also tried to take into account the feelings of Taiwanese proletariat comrades: "Taiwan is a province of China, but taking into account the psychological feelings of Taiwanese compatriots, generally do not use the term 'Taiwan Province' at this time, instead make more use of 'Taiwan Area' (台湾地区) or 'Taiwan.'"

All 102 articles on the newly banned terms can be seen on this Digitaling webpage