Taiwanese Americans Protest OCAC Name Change 

Urge President Ma to Change Name to OTAC (“Overseas Taiwanese Affairs Council”)

In a joint letter to Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou dated October 4, 2012, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs along with 31 other Taiwanese American Organizations expressing their deep concern about the Ma administration’s decision to change the name of the “Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission” to the “Overseas Chinese Affairs Council,” effective September 1.

The government’s decision was uncovered by lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party during a question-and-answer session with OCAC Minister Wu Ying-jih on September 26 in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

The joint letter stated: “We strongly object to the use of the word “Chinese” in the title of a government agency whose main mission is to maintain contacts with members of the overseas community from Taiwan…The term “Chinese” is confusing, as it gives outsiders the impression that this is an organization under the control of the People’s Republic of China and its Communist government.

The organizations also criticized “the secretive way in which the Ma government implemented this change: without any democratic procedures, without any advice and consent by Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, and most importantly, without communication with the overseas Taiwanese community. “

They letter concluded: “We urge the Taiwan authorities to retain the present title of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Council, or even move forward and rename the agency as the Overseas Taiwanese Affairs Council, to more fully represent the spirit of a free and democratic Taiwan.”

FAPA President Mark Kao, PhD. who initiated the letter, states: “As a branch of the Executive Yuan the whole OCAC institution is a redundant old KMT to begin with and should be abolished.”

Dr. Kao continues: “Until then, however, we need to call it what it is: an organization for cultural, education, economic, and informational exchanges between Taiwan and overseas Taiwanese, which has nothing to do with China or with Chinese.”

台美人抗議僑委會更名
要求馬總統將其改為「Overseas Taiwanese Affairs Council」(台灣僑務委員會)

台灣人公共事務會聯合其他31個台美人組織,於十月四日共同致信馬英九總統,表達對馬政府將「Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission」(同胞)改為「Overseas Chinese Affairs Council」(中國的)此事的強烈關切。僑委會之更名自九月一日起生效。

僑委會更名一事在九月二十六日立法院外交及國防委員會上,由民進黨籍立委質詢僑委會委員長吳英毅時才遭到拆穿。

聯名信中首先指出:「我們強烈反對任何與台灣旅外僑民相關的政府機關使用「Chinese」的稱謂…「Chinese」這個字眼會產生混淆,導致外人誤以為其是隸屬中華人民共和國這個共產政府下的組織。」

參與聯名的台美人組織也在信中批評:「馬政府沒有通過民主程序,例如徵求立法院的意見或同意,甚至事先和旅外台灣人溝通,就私自片面變更名稱的行為。」

信件最後結語:「我們強烈要求台灣當局保留中華民國僑務委員會現稱,或進一步將其改為『台灣僑務委員會』,更能完整代表台灣的民主自由精神。」

發起這封聯名信的台灣人公共事務會會長高龍榮博士表示:「隸屬立法院的僑委會是老國民黨政權的累贅組織,應該予以廢除。」

高博士繼續指出:「然而在僑委會被廢除之前,我們應該就事論事;僑委會應該是為旅外台灣僑胞交流台灣的文化、教育、經濟、資訊的組織,跟中國及中國人一點關係也沒有。」

***********************************************************************

馬英九總統鈞鑒:

謹代表旅美台灣人組織,向您表達我們嚴重的不滿。我們嚴正反對將中華民國僑務委員會的英文名稱,從「Compatriots」(同胞)改為「Chinese」(中國的)。

我們不僅反對這個片面更改名稱的行為,更反對其違背民主規範的蠻橫態度。

我們強烈反對任何與台灣旅外僑民相關的政府機關使用「Chinese」的稱謂。

我們是台灣人,也以身為台灣人並以台灣文化為傲。「Chinese」這個字眼會產生混淆,導致外人誤以為其是隸屬中華人民共和國這個共產政府下的組織。

撇除無識別度、有無利弊不談,將名字改回到國民黨高壓統治時期的譯名,讓人回想以前戒嚴時期一黨專政的蠻橫。這不僅是台灣民主及人權的倒退,對於過去二十年曾幫助台灣民主轉型的鬥士,更是種侮辱。

我們同時也譴責馬政府沒有通過民主程序,例如徵求立法院的意見或同意,甚至事先和旅外台灣人溝通,就私自片面變更名稱的行為。

很遺憾的是,這次事件不過是馬英九政府自2008年上任以來破壞台灣民主之犯行的冰山一角。這次,又讓我們再次見證馬政府如何暗中破壞由台灣人民和旅外台灣人20年來一同辛苦建立的台灣民主。

我們強烈要求台灣當局保留中華民國僑務委員會現稱,或更進一步將其改為「台灣僑務委員會」,更能完整代表台灣的民主自由精神。

同時我們也會將我們對此事的關注知會美國國會及歐巴馬政府。

連署組織:

台灣人公共事務會
王康陸博士紀念基金會
大溫哥華台灣同鄉會
華府台灣文化中心
大紐約區台灣會館
北美台灣工程師協會
北美洲台灣人教授協會
北美洲台灣婦女會
陳文成教授紀念基金會
美國加州聖地牙哥台灣同鄉會
清風新厝(西雅圖)
北加州台灣會館
聖地牙哥台灣中心
全美台灣同鄉會
安娜堡台灣同鄉會
柑縣台灣同鄉會
波士頓台灣同鄉會
肯達基中部台灣同鄉會
辛辛那提台灣同鄉會
芝加哥台灣同鄉會
大奧蘭多台灣同鄉會
大西雅圖區台灣同鄉會
大華府台灣同鄉會
休士頓台灣同鄉會
北澤西台灣同鄉會
北卡台灣同鄉會
大洛杉磯台灣會館
美洲台灣客家聯合會
北美台灣客家公共事務協會
全美台灣人權協會
世界台灣人大會
世界台灣同鄉會聯合會

****************************************************************

His Excellency Ma Ying-jeou October 4, 2012
Presidential Palace
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd.
Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 10048
TAIWAN

Dear President Ma:

We, the undersigned overseas Taiwanese organizations, representing a broad section of the overseas Taiwanese community in the United States, write to you today to express our strong objection to the recent decision by your administration to change the name of the “Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission” to the “Overseas Chinese Affairs Council.”

We object not only to the substance of the change, but also to the undemocratic manner in which it was made.

We strongly object to the use of the word “Chinese” in the title of a government agency whose main mission is to maintain contacts with members of the overseas community from Taiwan.

We consider ourselves Taiwanese, and we are proud of our identity and heritage. The term “Chinese” is confusing, as it gives outsiders the impression that this is an organization under the control of the People’s Republic of China and its Communist government.

Aside from serving no discernible function or benefit, the reversal to an old title dating back to the period of the repressive Kuomintang regime also brings back memories of a one-party totalitarian system under martial law. This represents a setback for democracy and human rights in Taiwan, and is an insult to those courageous individuals who helped to bring about the country’s momentous democratic transition less than two decades ago.

Our objection also relates to the secretive way in which the Ma government implemented this change: without any democratic procedures, without any advice and consent by Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, and most importantly, without communication with the overseas Taiwanese community.

Regrettably, this episode is but the most recent incident pointing to the erosion of democratic governance in Taiwan under the Ma government since 2008. Time and again, we see that this administration undermines the foundations of a young democracy that was established only 20 years ago through the sacrifice and unwavering determination of the people in Taiwan, together with us in the overseas Taiwanese community.

We urge the Taiwan authorities to retain the present title of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Council, or even move forward and rename the agency as the Overseas Taiwanese Affairs Council, to more fully represent the spirit of a free and democratic Taiwan.

We will also express these concerns in our communications with the US Congress and the Obama administration.

Sincerely yours,

Formosan Association for Public Affairs
Dr. Wang Kang-Lu Memorial Foundation
Greater Vancouver Taiwanese Canadian Association
Greater Washington Taiwan Culture Center
New York Taiwan Center
North America Taiwanese Engineering & Science Association
North American Taiwanese Professors Association
North America Taiwanese Women’s Association
Professor Chen Wen-Chen Memorial Foundation
San Diego Taiwanese Culture Association
Seifu Garden Seattle
Taiwanese American Center of Northern California
Taiwanese American Community Center of San Diego
Taiwanese Association of America
Ann Arbor Taiwanese Association
Orange County Taiwanese Association
Taiwanese Association of America-Boston
Taiwanese American Association of Central Kentucky
Taiwanese Association of America-Cincinnati
Taiwanese Association of America-Chicago
Taiwanese Association of America-Greater Orlando
Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle
Taiwanese Association of America-Greater Washington D.C.
Taiwanese Association of America- Houston Chapter
Taiwanese American Association – North New Jersey
Taiwanese Association of America-North Carolina
Taiwan Center of Greater Los Angeles
Taiwanese Hakka Association of America
Taiwan Hakka Association of Public Affairs in North America
The Formosan Association for Human Rights
World Taiwanese Congress
World Federation of Taiwanese Associations

(October 4, 2012) Taiwanese Americans Protest OCAC Name Change / 台美人抗議僑委會更名