Tapei encourages citizens to boycott some airlines

Taiwan will encourage its people to boycott airline companies that list the island as a Chinese territory on their websites, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

Such listings come after recent pressure from Beijing that called on several international entities from different sectors, namely transport and logistics, to change the way they address the region.

In response, and following the call-to-action from central government authorities, several major international airlines changed Taiwan’s designation on their websites and other relevant documents to “Taiwan, China” over the last few weeks.

Now, Taiwanese authorities seem to be eager to fight back, calling on their fellow citizens to boycott such airline companies.

“We will tell our people: Those are the airlines that caved in to China, it is your choice [whether to use them or not],” David Lee, Secretary-General of Taiwan’s National Security Council, said to the FT.

The same Taiwanese official noted that the idea of boycotting the airlines comes as a countermeasure against what he classified as “Beijing’s excessive aggressiveness,” advancing also that a legal action against the companies that are labeling Taiwan as part of China is not ruled out, although he admitted that it would be “a complex process and may take two to three years” to reach a ruling.

Still, Lee noted the will of the island to “fight back,” saying, “we won’t just sit idle here.”

As previously reported by the Times, in April, China’s aviation regulator issued a statement calling on airline companies to remove all references on their websites as well as in other material that could suggest that Taiwan, and the SARs were countries.
The initial deadline for the companies to act was settled for May 25, later extended to the end of this month.

According to a report from Singapore-based Straits Times, the Singapore flag carrier Singapore Airlines as well as its low-cost subsidiary Scoot were two of the companies to immediately comply with Beijing’s request.

Australia’s Qantas, Air Canada, Air France, Germany’s Lufthansa, British Airways and Emirates were among several companies that already reportedly changed their websites according to Chinese rules, while Macau flag carrier, Air Macau, continues to refer to Taiwan as previously, using “Taiwan, China” in the Chinese version of the website and naming it “Taiwan District” in the English language.

On the other hand, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific mentions the region as solely Taiwan in both English and Chinese versions.  RM

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