Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

‘Taiwan’ vs. ‘Chinese Taipei': Which Should TIMSS Use?

May 11, 2009 1 min read

To the Editor:

I am writing to bring your attention to fallacious content in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study statistics appearing in two charts accompanying your In Perspective articles “Slovenia Sharpens Academic Prowess” and “Out-of-School Classes Provide Edge” (April 22, 2009). The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, which conducts the TIMSS exam, refers to my country, the Republic of China (Taiwan), as “Chinese Taipei.” This usage is a misnomer and offensive to the people of Taiwan.

As you may know, the Republic of China, or ROC, was founded in 1912, while the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, was established in 1949, after the ROC government relocated to Taiwan. Since then, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been governed separately, with neither side exercising any form of jurisdiction over the other. I therefore request that all further references to my country in your paper use the proper designation of “Republic of China (Taiwan)” or simply “Taiwan.”

My office, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, functions as the de facto consulate general for Taiwan, and as such represents the interests of the government of Taiwan.

Ethan C.Y. Kuo

Director, Cultural Division
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York
New York, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of Education Week as ‘Taiwan’ vs. ‘Chinese Taipei’: Which Should TIMSS Use?

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