What’s in a name? In the case of Taiwan, it’s everything and nothing at the same time.
While most of the world has pushed the pause button amid the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan has so far remained relatively unscathed thanks to quick and decisive actions taken by the government.
The Tsai administration’s handling of the virus has gained plaudits from countries around the world, giving the island nation much-needed exposure.
However, this spotlight has also highlighted several conundrums. First and foremost, why do the names “China” or “Chinese” pop up everywhere when Taiwan is clearly not a part of China?
For those who don’t know, Taiwan’s “official” name is the “Republic of China.” The name was forced upon the island when the Kuomintang (KMT) fled there and took up shop after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949.
Another equally horrendous name is “Chinese Taipei” for international events like the Olympics.
And let’s not forget the obligatory “renegade province” or “breakaway province” of China, as Taiwan is referred to by many Western media outlets.
Why are there so many different names? It’s mostly because of the perennially hurt feelings of an entire nation on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. Here’s a hint — it’s China.
Taiwan’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as humanitarian efforts, including mask and medical aid donations to foreign countries, have greatly helped distinguish it from China.
Unfortunately, when the planes you have sent the donations on say “China Airlines,” confusion is bound to occur. China Airlines is the name of Taiwan’s largest air carrier. “Taiwan Air” has a better ring to it.
With most professional sports across the globe on an indefinite timeout, Taiwanese baseball fields some of the only games to watch, which has attracted the attention of international fans.
But when the league is named the CPBL — China Professional Baseball League — that’s a swing and a miss.
These are just a few examples of the name games that are being played when it comes to Taiwan. It’s time to put a stop to the madness and confusion. Our name is Taiwan. Nice to meet you.