You thought we wouldn’t notice? : Eroding Taiwan’s international identity

Followup to this issue can be found here.
Do you use PayPal? Do you have things that you buy using PayPal shipped to Taiwan?

Did you know that PayPal adds “Province of China” to Taiwanese addresses after the fact?

I discovered this when a book I ordered for my father in mid November failed to arrive in Tainan after six weeks of waiting. In trying to track it down, I was horrified to discover that PayPal’s systems had modified the shipping address I gave, butchering the address and erasing my home country. I have complained in a number of places, including directly contacting PayPal’s customer service Twitter account and filing a dispute at their website.

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I suggest you do too, if this matters to you.


PayPal customer support

Customer Service (w/in US): 1-888-221-1161
Customer Service (outside US): 1-402-935-2050

Here is a particularly well written appeal to another website that you could take as inspiration for your statement.
Remove “Province of China” from Taiwan in drop-down country list

It’s not entirely PayPal’s fault. Taiwanese regularly encounter the dilemma of “Province of China” on drop-down menus across the internet due to China having gotten it written into the International Standards Organization database.

China is going to incredible lengths in its attempts to push Taiwan into a corner: In a nebulous UN subcommittee, it got the UN to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China,” so now the International Standards Organization in Geneva lists Taiwan as such, with the result that in drop-down menus in computers all over the world, Taiwan-born people who want to list Taiwan as their birthplace are suddenly confronted with the unpleasant dilemma of having to note “Province of China” as their birthplace.

From “Taiwan continuing to play the name gameTaipei Times May 27, 2012

Even though the wrong name for Taiwan propagates through the internet thanks to the ISO database, the database does not have the last word on how Taiwan is named online.

Changes can be made, as the previous challenges to the erroneous term have shown:

Fortunately — when organizations like the California voter registration system or the Boston Athletic Association, which listed “Taiwan, Province of China” in their drop-down menu for the registration of voters — were notified of the erroneous designation, they rectified it right away.

From “Taiwan continuing to play the name gameTaipei Times May 27, 2012

Waiting to see if PayPal will step up and make this essential change to their database. Otherwise, I’ll be looking for a different way to pay online.

4 thoughts on “You thought we wouldn’t notice? : Eroding Taiwan’s international identity

  1. I remember that at the end of the WCC Assembly in Busan, South Korea, when the PCT delegation checked out from the hotel and got its statement/bill, the same thing happened. The option for the country of Taiwan is listed as “Taiwan, Province of China”. I guess the hotel was using an automated system similar to the one you’re talking about.
    On the other hand, I sometimes hear pro-Taiwan people say that “台灣還沒有建國”… not quite sure why as this is a place with its own independent currency (economic system), land, inhabitants, government system, and a country formally recognized by other countries (though few) as a sovereign country (so, from a political scientist’s point of view, this is already a country).

    • I agree, the latter comment is rather confusing. Have you asked them what they mean by it? Do they mean that the system in place is still that of the colonizing ROC?

      • Well, it is mainly within the PCT circle that I’ve heard this comment. I suspect that if I were to ask a pastor or a “Rev. Dr.” about this, I’d get a long-winded answer, but I’ve been meaning to ask, just waiting for an opportunity. I also suspect it might be KMT/ROC related.

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