03/01/2007, 00.00
TAIWAN
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“China” disappears from Taiwan stamps

This is a new move by the government aimed at “rectifying the name of the island, a sovereign entity detached from the People’s Republic of China”.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of collectors and supporters of Taiwanese independence are queuing outside post offices all over the island, waiting to receive a stamp that marks a turning point. Taiwan’s postal services yesterday issued the first official stamp without the "Republic of China" title, describing the island simply as “Taiwan”.

The first edition of the stamp was issued by the government postal company which recently changed its name to “Taiwan Post Co”. The decision to change the island’s name on stamps was taken by President Chen Shui-bian, who describes Taiwan as a sovereign entity not related to China 

The stamp, which is worth around 10 euro cents, is one of the first moves of a government "name-rectification campaign" that aims to assert the island's identity, distancing it from the Chinese identity. To attain this end, the parliamentary majority has even repudiated Chiang Kai-shek, described as “an assassin”. Throughout the campaign, several state enterprises – including the public transport agency – have changed their name, dropping all reference to mainland China.

Yesterday, during a rally, Chen said the new stamp served to mark the 60th anniversary of the bloody “228 Incident” and to prevent that “Kuomintang [the nationalist party that is heir to Chiang, which was in power on the island until 2000] from returning to harm our people”.

On February 28, 1947, police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Taipei. An uprising followed, which was suppressed in a bloody crackdown by Kuomintang troops sent from Beijing. Referring to the killing of tens of thousands of civilians by the army, Chen said that “those who violated human rights and committed crimes should be tried and condemned” and that the name of the “dictator” Chiang should be removed from public places. In recent years, statues of Chiang – found everywhere in the streets and barracks of Taipei – were removed.

Meanwhile, Beijing fears this new wave of revisionism that once again attacks ties with the “motherland”. For China, the island is just a rebel province that must be united once again, even with the use of force, to the rest of the nation.

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