City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has removed the term “national” from the name of a sister university in Taiwan, in sports-related announcements published on its website.

The school’s teachers and students took part in sports competitions in Taiwan in December 2017, and again in December 2018, at the National Chiao Tung University.

City University of Hong Kong
City University of Hong Kong removed “national” from the name of National Chiao Tung University, but kept the abbreviation of NCTU. Photo: Screenshot.

In the press releases issued by the university, the term “national” was removed.

CityU referred to the university “Chiao Tung University (NCTU) in Hsinchu” in the English version of the press release for the 2017 event. Hsinchu is the location of the university. The “N” in the abbreviation refers to the original “national” term.

The press release for the event that took place in 2018 was only published in Chinese. It also described National Chiao Tung University as “Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu.”

In response to the name change, CityU said: “Both ‘National Chiao Tung University’ and ‘Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu’ have always been widely used.”

National Chiao Tung University
National Chiao Tung University. Photo: NCTU.

Taiwan has been ruled by the Republic of China government since 1945, after Japan – which had occupied Taiwan for 50 years – was defeated in the Second World War. The People’s Republic of China claims that Taiwan is one of its provinces and does not recognise it as an independent country.

‘Taiwan University’

The CityU incident follows a similar one at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) earlier this month.

Last Tuesday, HKUST announced that University of Macau scholar Lionel Ni would be its new provost.

When describing Ni’s background, HKUST said he had earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Taiwan University. It removed the term “national” from the university’s name.

But when Ni was acting as special assistant to the president of HKUST from 2010 to 2014, HKUST’s website said Ni had graduated from “National Taiwan University.”

taiwan university

HKUST said that the name change was made because “Taiwan University” was a more familiar to the public. They used it in the press release for “better communication,” they said.

In 2016, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department was criticised for allegedly demanding the word “national” be deleted from the biography of a member of a drama company which performed at a public theatre. The member graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts.

Last year, Beijing was demanding that international airlines comply with its One China Policy and change the names for destinations in Taiwan, listing them as regions of China.

Cathay Pacific Taiwan China
Photo: Cathay Pacific screenshot.

All commercial airlines in Hong Kong changed the destination name for Taiwan to “Taiwan, China” ahead of the deadline in July.

The US government has called the demands “Orwellian nonsense.” US-based United Airlines found a creative solution by using currencies instead of country names.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.