TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Thousands have signed an online petition calling for the restoration of Taiwan's status as a country on the Air Canada website, after the air carrier changed the nation's status to being a part of China on May 14.
On April 25, the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered a number of international airlines, including several from the US, to change how Taiwan is described on their websites and promotional material.
Following several reports of the "forced changes," the White House on May 5 condemned Beijing's efforts to control how US airlines refer to Taiwan as "Orwellian nonsense." On May 14, Air Canada also succumbed to pressure from Beijing and started listing Taipei as "a city of China."
(Snapshot of Air Canada website)
In response, a Taiwanese-born Canadian, Chou Pang-yan (周邦諺), launched an online petition on change.org titled "The Air Canada Kowtow: Get Air Canada to stop referencing Taiwan as belonging to China." At the time of publication, over 4,600 people had signed the petition.
Chou was greatly disappointed that such a thing would happen in Canada. "What happens if US asks Air Canada to turn Ontario into Ontario, USA," questioned Chou.
Chou explained that he is not calling for a change in the cross-strait status quo, rather he simply wants some basic dignity provided to Taiwanese people traveling with Air Canada:
"This position is not about independence or unification, it's about stopping the insult to thousands of Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Canadians today choose to travel with Air Canada. It's about deciding what kind of would we want to live in: one where our country is dictated by another or one where we choose to live bravely."
Chou added that he may no longer fly Air Canada because of the change.
Click here to sign the online petition.