TAIPEI - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it will continue to lodge protests with Germany against a German government unit's alleged downgrading of Taiwan's status in its designation of the country.
A Taiwanese student studying in Germany made a post at a "Taiwanese in Europe" Facebook page on Aug. 20, calling for assistance after she discovered that Taiwan's national status had allegedly been downgraded while she applied for her social insurance membership in the European country recently.
The Taiwanese student said her nationality is listed as "Chinesisch" (China) with code name 479 instead of "Taiwanesisch" (Taiwan) with code name 465 as it used to be.
The post has elicited wide discussions among netizens, with many Taiwanese in Germany saying they have encountered similar situations.
Similar cases that belittled Taiwan by designating it under Chinese territory have also been reported in France.
Asked to comment, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao said Taiwan's representative office in Germany received a similar complaint this June.
The office has promptly lodged a protest to Germany's foreign ministry and to the Federal Statistical Office that is responsible for drafting the designations for each country around the world, Kao said.
The German authorities have promised to make an amendment, she noted.
But she said that Germany is a federal republic consisting of a number of constituent states. It could take a while for each state to make corrections, she noted.
The ministry will continue to push for the change to safeguard the R.O.C.'s sovereignty status, she added.
A diplomatic source who prefers to stay anonymous yesterday told local media that Taiwan used to be listed "Taiwanesisch" (Taiwan) under the code of 465 by the Germany's Federal Statistical Office before 2011.
However, the designation was changed to "Chinesisch" with the code number 479 between 2011 and 2014. The designation number changed back to "465" earlier this year after Taiwan lodged a protest over the downgrading move, the source said.
The source noted that despite the German central government promising to make an amendment, public servants in different local state governments may be unaware of the latest change, resulting in occasional reported cases like the latest incident, the source said.
The source said Taiwan's office in Germany has received reports that Taiwanese nationals in Germany have received official documents referring to Taiwan as "R.O.C." "Taiwan" or "China (Taiwan)."
Like most countries in the world, Berlin recognises Beijing instead of Taipei and therefore adheres to the "one China" policy that regards Taiwan as part of China.