British MPs demand Taiwan name correction from IELTS

Language testing system added 'China' last October

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British Members of Parliament wrote a letter to IELTS demanding a name change for Taiwan (screenshot from Taiwan APPG Twitter account).

British Members of Parliament wrote a letter to IELTS demanding a name change for Taiwan (screenshot from Taiwan APPG Twitter account).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A total of 46 members of Great Britain’s House of Commons and House of Lords wrote a letter to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Global Partnership demanding the immediate removal of the word “China” from its appellation for Taiwan.

The test, described on its website as “the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration,” listed the island nation as “Taiwan, China” in its online list of test locations.

The co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Nigel Evans and Lord Rogan, wrote a letter demanding an immediate correction of the name, which was initially introduced last October, the Central News Agency reported Friday. A total of 18 Lords and 26 Members of Parliament co-signed the letter.

“The decision follows pressure from China and is based on commercial interest,” the British parliamentarians wrote, adding that a foreign government should not dictate the acts of a private business and in the process undermine democratic principles.

“Your changed designation is inaccurate and misleading as Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China,” the letter said. Adding the term “China” to Taiwan’s name was not only erroneous, but also went counter to official British government policy, which only uses “Taiwan,” according to the parliamentarians.

The letter went on to point out that educational relations between the United Kingdom and Taiwan were increasing, with an estimated 12,000 Taiwanese studying in Britain in 2017. Taiwanese taking the IELTS felt “their rights and nationality” were being “sacrificed,” the letter said.