CARTOON: No 'ROC' for Chinese Media

Photo Credit: Stellina Chen.
Why you need to know

'Taiwan is a province of China,' reads one rule. 'But taking the feelings of our Taiwan compatriots into account, now we generally don’t call it "Taiwan Province," and more often use "Taiwan Region" or "Taiwan."'

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Chinese state news agency Xinhua last week updated their style guide which raised the number of banned Taiwan-related terms.

Originally published in May 2015, the new guide which was released on July 19, supplemented 57 new rules to its original 102. Before the update, there were only four rules on Taiwan-related terms. There are now 38 rules that Chinese media must adhere to when referring to Taiwan, most notably banning the use of “Republic of China,” the official title of Taiwan.

“Taiwan is a province of China,” reads one rule. “But taking the feelings of our Taiwan compatriots into account, now we generally don’t call it ‘Taiwan Province,’ and more often use ‘Taiwan Region’ or ‘Taiwan.'”

Other verboten include the terms “Taiwan government,” "President (Vice President) of the Republic of China,” and "Taiwan presidential election.”

One rule states that Chinese media should not refer to any Taiwanese government agency at the “national” level; such as the National Palace Museum which should be referred to as “Taipei Palace Museum,” or National Taiwan University that should be called “Taiwan University.”

Other media organizations in China are also known to turn to Xinhua as a guide regarding the usage of politically contentious terms.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), spokesperson for the Mainland Affairs Council, said in a statement on July 20 that Beijing’s banning of Taiwanese-related terms is “suppressing and manipulating freedom of the press and severely restricting the rights of Chinese.”

"Such a policy reflects the Chinese leadership's intransigent thinking and inclination to create an impasse, which will widen the knowledge gap between Taiwan and China and not help to increase mutual understanding," he said.

Despite tensions across the Strait since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office last May, Chiu urged Chinese media organizations to “fully report reality and respect the fact that the Republic of China exists.”

Additional reporting from CNA.

Editor: Olivia Yang

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