Congressman Howard Berman Urges California Secretary Of State To Drop “Province of China” Reference

In a letter dated April 30, 2012, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs committee Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) called on the California Secretary of State to correct an error in its online voter registration system that forces Taiwan-born California residents to list their place of birth as “Taiwan, Province of China.”

In the past weeks, numerous Taiwanese Americans in California tried to register to vote online, but were unable to enter their country of birth as “Taiwan”, because the drop down menu for the internet-based voter registration system in California does not allow for such an option. Instead, the system refers to Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China.”

Rep. Howard Berman caught wind of this and wrote today to California Secretary of State Debra L. Bowen that: “With the May 15 registration deadline quickly approaching for California voters, Taiwan-born U.S. citizens in California will be unable to register to vote without signing their name under an inaccurate statement in an official government document.”

Berman continued: “It has been long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’  Federal and quasi-federal agencies such as Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. State Department, all refer to Taiwan simply as “Taiwan.” He concluded: “I would respectfully request that your office, as a government agency, adopt the same terminology in reference to Taiwan.”

In 1994, Rep. Berman was the primary force behind US legislation allowing for Taiwanese Americans to list “Taiwan” as their place of birth in their American passports instead of “China.”

In response, FAPA President Mark Kao, PhD states: “Taiwanese Americans are very grateful to Congressman Berman for his continued leadership in ensuring that Taiwan’s sovereignty is not an issue with which one can play politics.”

Dr. Kao concludes: “It is incontestable reality that Taiwan is NOT a province of China. Taiwan is a sovereign independent country with its own elected president, its own military, legislature, stock exchange etc… If American citizens travel to Taiwan, the Chinese embassy is unable to issue a visa to Taiwan. And vice versa: if American citizens travel to China, the Taiwan representative in the United States is unable to issue a visa for China.”

柏曼眾議員呼籲加州州務卿修正「中國台灣省」的稱呼

四月三十日,美國眾議院外交委員會副主席加州民主黨議員豪爾德˙柏曼 (Howard Berman, D-CA) 寄信呼籲加州州務卿修正該州選民線上註冊系統中的錯誤。該錯誤迫使台裔加州居民必須將其出生地填寫為「中國台灣省」。

過去幾週,許多居住加州的台裔美籍公民嘗試上網登記投票時,發現無法將自己的出生地列為「台灣」,因為線上登記系統的選單中並未提供「台灣」的選項,而是將台灣列為「中國台灣省」。

柏曼眾議員獲知此事後於今日稍早寫信給加州州務卿黛博拉˙包雯 (Debra Bowen),信中寫道:「加州州民的選舉登記期限將屆(五月十五日),台裔美籍的加州公民若想要登記投票,勢必要在載有錯誤資訊的官方文件上簽署方能登記投票。」

柏曼於信中亦提到:「美國政府長久以來的政策一直將台灣稱之為『台灣』。美國國務院、各聯邦機構及諸如美國國鐵或是美國郵政署等準聯邦機構都將台灣稱之為『台灣』。本人在此亦懇請貴單位,既為政府機構,亦應比照辦理。」

早於一九九四年,柏曼議員即為立法准許台美公民於其美國護照中將出生地列為「台灣」而非「中國」的大力推手。

台灣人公共事務協會(FAPA)會長高龍榮博士說道:「台美人社團十分感激柏曼眾議員對於維護台灣主權不淪為政治操弄的犧牲品持續的努力。」

高博士總結道:「台灣不是中國的一省是不可否認的事實。台灣有其民選的總統、自己的軍隊及股票市場等。若美國公民要去台灣,中國大使館是無法發給台灣簽證的,反之亦然:若美國公民欲赴中國,台灣駐美代表亦無法發給其中國簽證。」

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Berman: “The Taiwanese-American community in California is proud of their heritage and birthplace.  It is unfair to force members of this community to list ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ as their country of birth when they register to vote online, when their true birthplace is Taiwan.  Our federal government uses the term Taiwan and the state of California should do the same.”

Valley Village, CA – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman wrote California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today, asking that California residents born in Taiwan registering to vote online be allowed to list their country of birth as Taiwan, rather than Taiwan, Province of China as the system currently allows.

“The Taiwanese-American community in California is proud of their heritage and birthplace,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman. “It is unfair to force members of this community to list ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ as their country of birth when they register to vote online, when their birthplace is Taiwan. Our federal government uses the term Taiwan and the state of California should do the same.”

A longtime champion on this issue, Rep. Berman passed legislation allowing Taiwanese-Americans to have “Taiwan” recorded as their birthplace on their American passports.  Berman authored H.R. 5034 along with then Rep. Olympia Snow (R-ME) in September 1994 providing the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to write Taiwan as the place of birth in a passport when requested by the applicant who was born there.  The bill passed and was signed into law.  Until then, “China” had been listed as the birthplace for Taiwanese Americans.

In the letter to Secretary of State Bowen, Berman writes: “It has been long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’ Federal and quasi-federal agencies such as Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. State Department, all refer to Taiwan simply as “Taiwan.” I would respectfully request that your office, as a government agency, adopt the same terminology in reference to Taiwan.”

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Berman: “The Taiwanese-American community in California is proud of their heritage and birthplace.  It is unfair to force members of this community to list ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ as their country of birth when they register to vote online, when their true birthplace is Taiwan.  Our federal government uses the term Taiwan and the state of California should do the same.”

Valley Village, CA – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman wrote California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today, asking that California residents born in Taiwan registering to vote online be allowed to list their country of birth as Taiwan, rather than Taiwan, Province of China as the system currently allows.

“The Taiwanese-American community in California is proud of their heritage and birthplace,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman. “It is unfair to force members of this community to list ‘Taiwan, Province of China’ as their country of birth when they register to vote online, when their birthplace is Taiwan. Our federal government uses the term Taiwan and the state of California should do the same.”

A longtime champion on this issue, Rep. Berman passed legislation allowing Taiwanese-Americans to have “Taiwan” recorded as their birthplace on their American passports.  Berman authored H.R. 5034 along with then Rep. Olympia Snow (R-ME) in September 1994 providing the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to write Taiwan as the place of birth in a passport when requested by the applicant who was born there.  The bill passed and was signed into law.  Until then, “China” had been listed as the birthplace for Taiwanese Americans.

In the letter to Secretary of State Bowen, Berman writes: “It has been long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’ Federal and quasi-federal agencies such as Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. State Department, all refer to Taiwan simply as “Taiwan.” I would respectfully request that your office, as a government agency, adopt the same terminology in reference to Taiwan.”

Translated Text of April 30, 2012 Letter from Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) to California Secretary of State Debra L. Bowen:

包雯州務卿:

此信是為表達我對一件選民註冊的問題以及對於「台灣」一詞使用方法的關切。近日得知加州州民於線上登記投票時,無法將其出生地輸入為「台灣」(Taiwan),因為註冊系統並未提供「台灣」這個選項,而是將台灣列為「中國台灣省」(Taiwan, Province of China)。

美國政府長久以來的政策一直將台灣稱之為「台灣」。美國國務院、各聯邦機構及諸如美國國鐵或是美國郵政署等準聯邦機構都將台灣稱之為「台灣」。本人在此亦懇請貴單位,既為政府機構,亦應比照辦理。

加州州民的選舉登記期限將屆(五月十五日),台裔美籍的加州公民若想要登記投票,勢必要在載有錯誤資訊的官方文件上簽署方能登記投票。有鑑於此事之急迫性,請您盡速修正這項錯誤,本人在此亦表感激之意。

豪爾德˙柏曼

外交委員會副主席

(April 30, 2012) Congressman Howard Berman Urges California Secretary Of State To Drop “Province of China” Reference / 柏曼眾議員呼籲加州州務卿修正「中國台灣省」的稱呼