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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Biggest hurdle for nation lies in its name

Biggest hurdle for nation lies in its name

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Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation in a totally different position from that of Scotland or Crimea.

According to US Web site about.com, there are 196 nations in the world, including Taiwan. It also says that the UN lists a total of 193 countries that does not include Taiwan, the Vatican and the Republic of Kosovo — which is in the Balkans and declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

 

The Web site also says that the US lists 195 countries and does not include Taiwan among them. However, it is well-known that Taiwan has close relations with the US and that when Taiwanese apply for a US visa online, the country name entered into the system is “Taiwan.”

This Web site stated that Taiwan fully meets the criteria for being defined as a country, but due to diplomatic pressures, it has not been accepted as such by the international community.

The biggest problem Taiwan faces in being a sovereign, independent nation lies in the name of the nation. At home, Taiwanese often refer to Taiwan as the Republic of China (ROC), but there are just 20 or so small countries that recognize this name.

Outside of Taiwan, if you tell people you come from the ROC, they often misunderstand this as meaning that you are Chinese, whereas if you say you come from Taiwan, you feel at ease and happy because the vast majority of people in civilized nations know this small island nation of East Asia.

However, there is yet another, even more ridiculous and angering name for Taiwan: “Taiwan, Province of China.”

I am a reviewer in an international academic journal and I review papers submitted from academic institutes all around the world. This journal’s impact factor — a measure of the average number of academic citations to its recent articles — last year was 4.89.

A few years ago, the journal moved its submission process online, with those submitting articles entering information into the system such as their name, institute affiliation and home nation. Editors also enter their own personal information to review articles.

When I logged onto the system, I discovered that the name being used for Taiwan was “Taiwan, Province of China.”

The head editor at the publisher said that this was done according to regulations from the UN and the International Organization for Standardization.

Referring to the nation by this name was ludicrous, as Taiwan is in no way subordinate to China.

To reverse this ridiculous situation, I set about trying to get the country name used by Taiwanese authors changed to “Taiwan.” The result of this single effort was that a total of 900 journals changed the name they used from “Taiwan, Province of China” to “Taiwan.”

Our journal’s editor-in-chief supported my opinion and demanded that the publisher change the name. After a month of negotiations, the publisher agreed. The head editor at the publisher wrote me a letter saying that they publish a total of 900 journals and that they had changed the name of the field for entering the author’s country to “Taiwan” and that they believed other journal publishers would follow in their footsteps.

If this is true, the name “Taiwan” will now be the name used when people register articles in the majority of international academic journals.

Let Taiwanese decide the name of our country for ourselves, as protecting the name of the nation is a duty all Taiwanese share.

Chen Chiao-chicy is a staff psychiatrist at Mackay Memorial Hospital and psychiatry professor at Taipei Medical University.

Translated by Drew Cameron


Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2014/09/26



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Newsflash

The Taiwan High Court yesterday ruled to keep former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) behind bars for another three months, on the grounds that he might flee the country if released.

At 8:45pm last night, an hour later than scheduled, Presiding Judge Teng Chen-chiu (鄧振球) announced the appeals court’s decision to extend Chen’s detention because he was suspected of committing serious crimes and, as a former president, he has more channels to flee the country than an ordinary citizen.