ibusinesslines.com September 20, 2018

Air India changes Taiwan’s name to ‘Chinese Taipei’ on website

10 July 2018, 12:23 | Erica Roy

Screenshot of Air India international version

Screenshot of Air India international version

Andrew Lee, a spokesperson for Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his ministry has asked its representative in New Delhi to lodge a protest with Air India, the news channel reported.

The spokesperson had said that Air India followed the procedure as advised by the Ministry of External Affairs in updating the airline's website with respect to changing name of Taiwan.

As per China's "One China Policy", regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet are considered provinces of China and are not thought of as separate, independent states.

China's economic clout has led to many global airlines including Air France, Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada, Finnair, Malaysian Airlines and now Air India to comply to the diktat.

Air India doesn't operate flights to Taiwan, but they have a code-sharing agreement with Air China that includes service to Taiwan. Earlier in the day, an airlines spokesperson was quoted as saying that the national carrier had changed the name following instructions from the government. It is worth mentioning that in April when China had written a letter to 36 E-mails to respect the principle of "One China", it had certainly conveyed to some airlines such as Air Canada and Lufthansa, but airlines from the USA and several other countries including Air India had not done this.

TECC representative, Chung Kwang Tien, urged Air India to stand up against China's bullying. Now, Air India describes Taiwan as "Taipei, Taoyuan Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei" on its website. However, the move by Air India comes a year after India hosted a delegation of Taiwanese legislators that had drawn angry response from China.

The Indian ministries of external affairs as well as civil aviation were not immediately available for comment.

Since April 25, China has written to 44 foreign air carriers, asking them to designate Taiwan as part of China within 30 days. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalist government fled to the island. China has requested that many influential companies from around the world such as Mercedes-Benz, Zara, Marriott, and GAP identify Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau as part of China.

"The article further added that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have been ruled apart for a long time and foreign companies probably do not have the intention to support Taiwan independence", but the article went on to warn that refusal to accept corrections when "reminded" might earn them "consequences or could even be thrown out of the Chinese market".

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