Friday, November 16, 2007

Taiwan Post would stop stamping mail with the UN postmark

Taiwan Post would no longer stamp mail with the UN campaign slogan “UN for Taiwan” starting today. In order to support Taiwan’s UN bid, Taiwan Post started to stamp mail with the UN postmark few months ago; however, China returned all letters and parcels bearing the postmark instead.

According to Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, “This is brazenly using the postal service to engage in propaganda advocating Taiwan independence… This is also a violation of the right of Taiwanese people to freely communicate and has severely influenced the communications between the two sides of the strait.”

Nevertheless, China’s action apparently violated the contract signed between Shanghai Post and Taiwan Post, as well as ignored the rights of senders and recipients. According to the contract, mail and parcels sent from Taiwan to China are transported to Shanghai Post before they are delivered to recipients, and it is obligatory for both parties to deliver any letters and parcels. Taiwan Government Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey said that Taiwan government may ask for compensation from China for violating the contract.

The "UN for Taiwan" postmarks are part of Taiwan’s UN campaign and echoes the referendum planned for March 2008 on whether or not Taiwan should apply to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" instead of the Republic of China. Taiwan Post’s previous action (stamping mail with the UN postmark) received different opinions—some Taiwanese heartily support it while others strongly disagree with it. Now Taiwan Post decided to drop the postmark due to pressure from China; Taiwan Government Spokesman Shieh said he still respected Taiwan Post’s decision.

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