TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On Friday (Oct. 5), multiple Taiwanese media outlets reported that International English Language Testing System (IELTS) changed its online reference from Taiwan to "Taiwan, China."
Following the bowing to Beijing by rival Educational Testing Service (ETS) in August, IELTS at noon on Friday kowtowed to China and changed its listing of Taiwan to "Taiwan, China" on its corporate website. The change was specifically made on its page titled "Find a test location" under the "select a country/territory" dropdown menu.
In response to the British company's name change made under pressure from China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed "strong dissatisfaction and condemnation" of the Chinese government's "brutal intervention" in civilian business practices and operations. MOFA said that it was greatly concerned about the matter and had instructed the British representative office to immediately approach the IELTS testing center to "reiterate our government's consistent solemn position and urge a prompt correction."
MOFA emphasized that IELTS is not department of the British government and the inappropriate use of its website does not mean that the UK has changed its position on Taiwan. MOFA also said that the British government believes that private companies have the right to decide on terminology used on their websites and should not change such wording due to political pressure.
In addition, MOFA stated that Taiwan's achievements in the realms of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law are widely recognized and respected by the international community. No matter how much the Chinese authorities try to diminish Taiwan, it will not change the facts about Taiwan; the government will continue to appeal to countries with similar ideals to take concerted and effective action to prevent China's interference in other country's commerce from becoming the norm and to safeguard Taiwan's hard-won universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights, said MOFA.
Screenshot of IELTS page where Taiwan was changed to "Taiwan, China."