Air India changed “Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei” on its website earlier this month, making it the latest international airline to submit to the demand of the Chinese government.
The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) notified tens of airlines in April to follow Beijing’s standard of describing Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as constituents and not as separate countries. Non-compliance will reportedly be referred to “relevant cyber-security authorities” for punishment.
A few months later, Air India, the country’s flag carrier, is changing “Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei” following a recommendation from the Ministry of External Affairs.
“Air India’s decision to rename the destination of Taiwan as Chinese Taipei is entirely consistent with international norms, and our own position on Taiwan since 1949,” CNN quoted ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as saying.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in acknowledgment, pointing out that respect to national sentiment is a “basic rule” for foreigners doing business in the country.
“Respecting China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abiding by Chinese laws and respecting the feelings of the Chinese people are basic rules to follow for any foreign company operating in China,” ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
On the other hand, the news outraged Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which took to Twitter to slam China’s state-run People’s Daily for “bullying” Air India.
“Shame @PDChina! Authoritarian #China bullies @airindiain into changing #Taiwan’s designation & you use Twitter to trumpet the ‘victory.’ How ironic Twitter is behind the #GreatFirewall, but privilege allows you full access. Don’t fear freedom & democracy. TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”
While the move has been made, many ordinary Indians appear to support Taiwan’s independence: