China censors strike in Thailand: Taiwan booth at ASEAN Smart City expo forced to remove sign

Sign, removed at request of Chinese attendees, contained no reference to Taiwan or any national emblems

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The sign reading "Ministry of Economic Affairs" and "Partnership Accelerator"  was removed from view, Aug. 22

The sign reading "Ministry of Economic Affairs" and "Partnership Accelerator" was removed from view, Aug. 22 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese officials in attendance at the ASEAN Smart Cities Network Conference and Exhibition 2019 in Bangkok Thailand, Aug. 22-24, forced event organizers to remove a sign advertising a delegation of Taiwanese tech companies organized by the System Integration Promotion Alliance (SIPA) under office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The sign that was removed on the morning of Aug. 22 didn’t even contain the word “Taiwan” nor any flag or government insignia. The only words indicating a relationship to Taiwan on the sign were “Ministry of Economic Affairs” (經濟部) which Chinese officials in attendance objected to, reports CNA.

The delegation organized by SIPA consists of Taiwanese manufacturers hoping to build networks with companies and government agencies throughout the ASEAN region. The SIPA signboard which bothered the Chinese officials prominently displayed the motto “Partnership Accelerator.”

The innocuous sign board had been previously approved by the event organizers, and initially event organizers refused to comply with the requests of the offended Chinese officials, reports CNA. However, shortly after the opening ceremony of the conference, an employee was dispatched to remove the signboard, leaving the Taiwanese representatives to work under a mostly unmarked booth for the three day event.

Taiwan booth after removal of signboard (CNA photo)