VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The University of British Columbia has back-tracked on a controversial designation of Taiwan which had been threatening to create a new political challenge for the school.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver has issued a statement, saying it accepts UBC’s decision to move away from referencing Taiwan as a “province of China.”
“We welcome that UBC would work in line with the spirit of academic neutrality, and refer us as Taiwan in the future,” said Charles Teng, Director of the office.
“To mitigate any misunderstandings, the university should take steps to rectify its references to Taiwan in the current report. We are more than happy to discuss this with the university in a constructive manner,” he added in a statement.
UBC was forced to begin digging out of a potentially difficult political mess, after the UBC campus newspaper first reported the school referenced Taiwan as “Taiwan (Province of China)” in its 2019/2020 enrollment.
UBC insisted the move was merely a technical one, as it said it hoped to align its computer programs with international ISO standards laid out by the United Nations, which can – in some cases – refer to Taiwan as a Chinese province.
However, the revelation of the change in identifying Taiwan as a Chinese province by UBC drew a quick rebuke from Taiwanese officials. Taiwan considers itself an independent nation, while the People’s Republic of China views Taiwan as a rogue province.
The issue has been a source of both regional and global tensions since Nationalist Chinese forces fled to Taiwan in 1947, allowing the Chinese Communist Party to take control of the Chinese mainland to years later.