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Society & Culture

What’s in a Name? In Politics, Everything

Feb 18, 2011

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou sent a positive signal Monday by suggesting that Taiwan should not address the mainland as "China."

Ma was quoted as saying that under the "1992 consensus" – one China, with each side having its own interpretation – Taiwan should not refer to China by its name, but should instead call it "the mainland" or "the other side."

With "one China" being accepted by both sides, the mainland vs. Taiwan match-up has been the status quo of the cross-Straits relationship since the end of the civil war in 1949. Despite differing ideologies, the two sides recognize a shared history and cultural background, which will be a crucial stepping stone for eventual reunification.The "de-sinolization" movement was thus the theme of the eight-year reign (2000-08) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Not only was the mainland referred to as China, in an attempt to emphasize the separation of Taiwan and create two de facto Chinas, Taiwanese companies bearing the word China were asked to rename. The shared history of China was also painstakingly rewritten.

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