For Immediate Release
Washington DC – October 4, 2012
Contact: (202) 547-3686
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。
Overseas Taiwanese Organization Joint Letter
His Excellency Ma Ying-jeou October 4, 2012
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd.
Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 10048
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.
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