UPS kowtows to China's CAAC with Taiwan listing

MOFA says it has formally requested that UPS correct its Taiwan listing 3 times

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Homepage as it appears now with erroneous "Taiwan, China" listing. (UPS.com screenshot)

Homepage as it appears now with erroneous "Taiwan, China" listing. (UPS.com screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — United Parcel Service (UPS) claims that it changed its online listing for Taiwan due to a "requirement" from a Chinese government agency, and Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has held talks with the package delivery company on rectifying the name on three occasions.

On Aug. 19, a user of the Taiwan section of social media site Reddit noticed that Taiwan is erroneously listed as part of China on the package delivery company's website and wrote "Soooo . . . UPS works for the CCP now?" A look at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine reveals the website used to list Taiwan as a separate country on its homepage and its "Find locations" page for many years.

However, at some point between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, 2019, the delivery company changed the listing on the top of its homepage from "Taiwan" to "Taiwan, China." It also made the same change to the country's listing under "Find locations."

When asked by Taiwan News to comment on the matter, a UPS customer support representative on Aug. 20 indicated that the abrupt name change was in response to an edict from the CAAC:

"The changes to the naming convention of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are due to a requirement by The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The amendment on our websites can reduce the potential service disruptions and any risk of delaying or canceling UPS shipments and protect the strategic important role of our Asia Pacific Transit Hub as well. These enable us to maintain our commitment to our customers so that you can continue to receive the high level of service they expect from UPS."

When asked if the company would consider restoring the original listing for Taiwan, a marketing representative from UPS Taiwan on Monday (Aug. 24) responded that the change was part of a larger regular update to the website designed to "ensure our global logistics network can operate smoothly and without disruption and our customers can continue to receive the timely services they expect of UPS." The representative added: "We are committed to providing all our customers with the timely services they need to grow their business."

When asked whether adding “China” to Taiwan would actually lead to confusion and disruption in mail deliveries to Taiwan, given that it is not actually part of the communist autocracy, the representative declined further comment.

MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Wednesday (Aug. 26) told Taiwan News that when the ministry became aware of the name change in November of last year, it immediately contacted its representative office in Atlanta, Georgia, where UPS is headquartered. Ou said that the office lodged Taiwan's solemn representations and requested a correction.

The Atlanta office has taken part in negotiations with UPS representatives on having the name rectified on three different negotiations, but Ou said the firm has yet to provide a satisfactory response. She added that the ministry will request that the representative office continue to press the company to address the matter.

Ou then pledged that MOFA will continue to monitor the "dwarfing" (矮化) of Taiwan and actively negotiate with relevant agencies to request corrections to ensure the rights and interests of the Taiwanese people and national dignity. She added that MOFA also calls on the international community to understand and face up to the objective facts of Taiwan's sovereignty and independence, respect the feelings of its people, and help prevent inappropriate "dwarfing."

On April 25, 2018, the CAAC sent a threatening letter to 36 international airlines demanding they change their listing for Taiwan on their websites to "Taiwan, China" or "Taiwan Area." On May 5 of that year, the White House condemned Beijing's bullying of airlines as "Orwellian nonsense."