This article is about the term Taiwan, China. For the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, see Taiwan. For the Taiwan Province administered by the Republic of China, see Taiwan Province. For the claimed Taiwan Province of the Peoples Republic of China, see Taiwan Province, Peoples Republic of China. For other uses, see Taiwan (disambiguation).

Taiwan, China

Territory controlled by the Peoples Republic of China (purple) and the Republic of China (orange). The size of minor islands have been exaggerated in this map for ease of identification.

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中國臺灣
Simplified Chinese中国台湾
PostalChungkuo Taiwan
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó Táiwān
Bopomofoㄓㄨㄥ ㄍㄨㄛˊ ㄊㄞˊ ㄨㄢ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhJonggwo Tairuan
Wade–GilesChung1-kuo2 Tai²-wan¹
Tongyong PinyinJhongguó Táiwan
IPA[ʈʂʊ́ŋ.kwǒ] [tʰǎi.wán]
RomanizationTson-koh The-uae
IPATan33-kwɛ24/ dwɛ13 ua44
RomanizationDung24-gued2 Thòi-vàn
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationJūng-gwok Tòiwāan
JyutpingZung1-gwok3 Toi4waan1
Southern Min
Hokkien POJTiong-kok Tâi-oân
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCDṳ̆ng-guók Dài-uăng
Taiwan, Province of China
Traditional Chinese中國臺灣省
Simplified Chinese中国台湾省
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó Táiwānshěng
Tibetan name
Tibetanཐའེ་ཝན, ཀྲུང་གོ་
WylieThae wan, Krung-go
Zhuang name
ZhuangDaizvanh Cunggoz
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicТайвань Хятад
Mongolian scriptᠲᠠᠶᠢᠪᠠᠨᠢ ᠬᠢᠲᠠᠳ
SASM/GNCTaivan Khyatad
Uyghur name
Uyghurتەيۋەن، جۇڭگو
تەيۋەن، خىتاي
Latin YëziqiTeywen, Junggo
Teywen, Xitay
Siril YëziqiТәйвән, Җунгго
Тәйвән, Хитай
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡨᠠᡳᠸᠠᠨ ᠵᡠᠩᡬᠣ
RomanizationTaiwan Junggo

Taiwan, China, Taiwan, Province of China, Taiwan Province, China or Chinese Taiwan are a set of politically controversial terms that characterize Taiwan and its associated territories as a province or territory of China.

The term Taiwan, China (中国台湾) is used by mainland Chinese media even though the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) – which is widely recognized by the international community as the legitimate representative of China – does not exercise jurisdiction over areas controlled by the Republic of China (ROC).

The terms are contentious and potentially ambiguous because they relate to the controversial issues of the political status of Taiwan and cross-Strait relations between Taiwan and China. Since 1949, two Chinas actually exist, namely the Republic of China (ROC, now usually known as Taiwan) and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC, commonly known as China).

The use of this term is officially sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The ROC government disputes the PRCs position and considers this term incorrect and offensive, and this sentiment is also held by many Taiwanese people and supporters of Taiwan Independence. They maintain that it denies the ROCs sovereignty and existence, while reducing the countrys political status to merely a province (Taiwan, PRC).[1]

Background and ambiguity over China[edit]

The dispute and ambiguity over the meaning of China and which China stemmed from the division of Republic of China into two Chinas at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1955.[note 1] (Fighting between the two merely eased off after 1949 and no signing of a peace treaty or armistice ever occurred; the PRC still threatens attack on ROC/Taiwan when it deems necessary.) The term China historically meant the various regimes and imperial dynasties which controlled territories in mainland Asia prior to 1911, when the imperial system was overthrown and the Republic of China (ROC) was established as the first republic in Asia. In 1927, the Chinese Civil War started between the Kuomintang (KMT, founding party of the ROC) and the Communist Party of China, a socialist party. The Chinese Communists eventually won control of most of ROCs original territory (mainland China) in 1949, when they proclaimed the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on that territory.

Since then, two Chinas have existed, although the PRC was not internationally recognized at the time. The Republic of China government received Taiwan in 1945 from Japan, then fled in 1949 to Taiwan with the aim to retake mainland China. Both the ROC and the PRC still officially (constitutionally)[citation needed] claim mainland China and the Taiwan Area as part of their respective territories[citation needed]. In reality, the PRC rules only Mainland China and has no control of but claims Taiwan as part of its territory under its One China Principle[citation needed]. The ROC, which only rules the Taiwan Area (composed of Taiwan and its nearby minor islands), became known as Taiwan after its largest island, (an instance of pars pro toto)[citation needed]. It stopped active claim of mainland China as part of its territory after constitutional reform in 1991.[2]

However, since the 2008 election of Ma Ying-jeou, he again asserted that mainland China is part of Republic of China territory according to its constitution, and, in 2013, he stated that relations between PRC and ROC are not between countries but regions of the same country.[3][4]

In 1971, the Peoples Republic of China won the United Nations seat as China and use of the name and expelled the ROC from the UN.[citation needed] Since then the term Taiwan, China is a designation officially used in international organizations including the United Nations and its associated organs.[citation needed] (The term Chinese Taipei was similarly created for the same purpose.[citation needed] ) However, the political status of Taiwan is a complex and controversial issue and currently unresolved[citation needed] , in large part due to the United States and the Allies of World War II handling of the surrender of Taiwan from Japan in 1945[citation needed] (which was to be a temporary administration by the ROC troops[citation needed] ), and the Treaty of Peace with Japan (Treaty of San Francisco) in 1951[citation needed], for which neither the ROC nor the PRC was invited[citation needed], and left Taiwans sovereignty legally undefined in international law and in dispute[citation needed].

Ambiguity of Taiwan Province[edit]

The term Taiwan, (Province of) China is also potentially ambiguous because both the ROC and the PRC each has administratively a Taiwan Province, Taiwan Province, Republic of China and Taiwan Province, Peoples Republic of China, and neither of these provinces covers the Matsu Islands, Wuchiu, Kinmen, all of which have been retained by the Republic of China. Geographically speaking, they both refer to the same place. The existence of the extra term Taiwan Province, PRC is merely because of PRCs insistence that Taiwan is part of China. Without more specific indication, it is unclear to which Taiwan Province is being referred. However, since China (PRC) does not control Taiwan and its Taiwan Province exists only on paper, as a practical matter, Taiwan Province refers only to the Taiwan Province under Republic of Chinas administration.

Although the word China could also possibly be interpreted to mean Republic of China, this interpretation is no longer common since China is typically understood as referring to the PRC after the ROC lost its UN seat as China in 1971, and is considered a term distinct from Taiwan, the name with which the ROC has become identified. Also, only the ROCs Taiwan Province exists in reality and is under the ROCs actual territorial control, whereas the PRCs Taiwan Province exists only on paper, under the PRCs administrative structure but without an actual provincial government. Instead, the PRC has a Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council to deal with issues and policy guidelines relating to Taiwan.

The ROC also does not refer to its Taiwan Province as Taiwan, China in English but rather as Taiwan Province, Republic of China (中華民國臺灣省; Zhōnghuá Mínguó Táiwānshěng), and typically such reference only occurs in the Chinese language in the ROCs official documents and as the marquee in the administrative offices of Taiwan Province government. However, references to the province is now rare since the Taiwan Provincial Government has largely been dissolved and its functions transferred to the central government or county governments since 1997. Therefore, recent uses of the term Taiwan, Province of China appears mainly in PRC-controlled media like CCTV (Chinese Central Television) and in the ISO 3166-1 codes to convey the sense that Taiwan is part of its China.[5]


ROC (Taiwan) government[edit]

The ROC is prohibited from using its official name internationally under pressure from the PRC[citation needed] and uses Chinese Taipei in other organizations like the Olympics. The ROC sees its use as a denial of the ROCs status as a separate sovereign state, diminishing it under China, which implicitly is the PRC. Various instances of the use of the term by international organizations or news media have been met with protest from the Taiwanese government officials and citizens.[citation needed]

In an incident on 10 May 2011, the World Health Organization referred to Taiwan as Taiwan, China in its documents. (The ROC participates in the WHO under the name Chinese Taipei, due to political pressure from the PRC.[citation needed]) ROC president Ma Ying-jeou protested the WHOs action and accused the PRC of pressuring the UN body into calling the ROC Chinese territory, and stated that Beijings moves were very negative for bilateral ties.[6] Ma, who took office in 2008, has taken many measures to improve Cross-Strait relations.[citation needed]

Taiwan Independence Supporters[edit]

The confusion and fight over use of the China name and the lack of name recognition of Republic of China itself and recognition as a country are part of the reason for the supporters of Taiwan independence to push for an identity apart from China and for renaming the ROC and gaining international recognition as Republic of Taiwan. Some supporters also reject the legitimacy of Republic of Chinas takeover of Taiwan from Japan at the end of World War II since 1945 (due to the lack of transfer of sovereignty in the Treaty of Peace with Japan). They also view that Taiwan is no longer part of China since China is recognized by the UN as being the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) rather than the ROC/Taiwan, so placing Taiwan and China together in one term is not only incorrect and an oxymoron but also offensively denies the ROCs national sovereignty and existence and places it under China.


The United Nations and the ISO[edit]

The Chinese and Taiwanese entries in the International Organization for Standardizations ISO 3166-1 country codes and ISO 3166-2:TW subdivision codes are as follows because its information source, the publication UN Terminology Bulletin-Country Names, lists Taiwan as Taiwan, Province of China due to the PRCs political influence in the United Nations[7] as a member of the UN Security Council. Since the ISO 3166-1 code is commonly used as the data source for a complete list of country and territory names for computer programs and websites, Taiwan, Province of China is sometimes seen on dropdown menus instead of Taiwan for this reason.[8][9]

Governing Authority Short name upper case in ISO 3166 Short name lower case in ISO 3166 Full name in ISO 3166 Listed as independent in ISO 3166 Local short name Language(s) Links to ISO 3166-2
Peoples Republic of China CHINA China the Peoples Republic of China Yes[10] Zhongguo Chinese ISO 3166-2:CN
Republic of China TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA Taiwan (Province of China) No[11] Taiwan Chinese ISO 3166-2:TW

Taiwanese reactions[edit]

In 2007, the Republic of China filed a lawsuit before a Swiss civil court against the ISO, arguing that the ISOs use of the United Nations name rather than Republic of China (Taiwan) violated Taiwans name rights.[12] On 9 September 2010, a panel of the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland decided, by three votes to two, to dismiss the suit as presenting a political question not subject to Swiss civil jurisdiction.[13][14][15] As of 2009, the Chinese and Taiwanese entries in CNS 12842 based on ISO 3166 with some differences are as follows with 11 columns meaning:

  1. English short name upper case
  2. Chinese name
  3. English full name
  4. Alpha-2 code
  5. Alpha-3 code
  6. Numeric code
  7. Remark
  8. Independent
  9. Administrative language alpha-2
  10. Administrative language alpha-3
  11. Local short name
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
CHINA 中華人民共和國 the Peoples Republic of China CN CHN 156 # zh zho Zhongguo[16]
TAIWAN, ROC 中華民國 the Republic of China TW TWN 158 包括澎湖群島、金門、馬祖。[17] # zh zho TAIWAN, ROC[18]

1 The Taipei-based government of the Republic of China encodes the subdivisions of Taiwan with some systems different from ISO 3166-2:TW:

  • A national identification card has a unique number prefixed by an alphabet for a city or county.
  • The three-digit postal codes in Taiwan usually encode townships and the equivalents.
  • The national Code of Household Registration and Conscription Information System (HRCIS Code) covers more than Taiwanese subdivisions.[19]

Peoples Republic of China[edit]

The term is often used in Chinese media whenever the word Taiwan is mentioned, as in news reports and in TV shows. Particularly, when Taiwanese entertainers are on talk shows or being interviewed, the Chinese subtitles on the TV screen would always say Taiwan, China (中国台湾 / 中國台灣) despite the fact the person never mentioned the word China (中国 / 中國), thereby putting words in the persons mouth.[20] (It is standard practice for Chinese television to display subtitles in all programs.) Also, there has been controversy about Chinese talent shows forcing Taiwanese contestants to introduce themselves as from Taiwan, China or Taipei, China (中国台北 / 中國台北), with the latter being the PRCs unilateral preferred translation for the term Chinese Taipei. For example, Taiwanese singer Uni Yeh [葉瑋庭] introduced herself as being from Pingtung District, Taipei, China (中国台北屏东区 /中國台北屏東區) on her first appearance on The Voice of China in 2013, despite Pingtung and Taipei being completely distinct areas on opposite sides of Taiwan, causing an uproar among Taiwanese netizens. Her response was that she was instructed to say so by the directors and was nervous.[21]

In a rare reversal of this tendency, in July 2017 the PRCs state news agency Xinhua issued a style guide stating that for geographical references, the region should be named Taiwan Area or Taiwan and that it was generally now not called Taiwan Province. Its reason for doing so was ostensibly to [take] into account the psychological feelings of Taiwanese.[22] However, the same style guide stated that for any political references, all three of Taiwan, Taipei, and Chinese Taipei were prohibited in favor of the PRCs preferred Taiwan, China or Taipei, China. (The PRC only permits the term Chinese Taipei in the context of international organizations, such as the IOC and the WTO.) In addition, it stated that for the use case of publishing statistics that include the mainland but exclude Taiwan, any disclaimer should be explicitly labeled Taiwan Province not included with the word province.

United States[edit]

If a place of birth on a United States passport application is written as Taiwan, China, which cannot be shown in passports as per the One-China policy, the United States Department of State requires its officials to contact the applicant to ascertain whether Taiwan or China is the preferred place of birth to be printed.[23]


In Vietnam, most government documents and many state media[24][25] usually use the forms Đài Loan (Trung Quốc) [Taiwan (China)] or Đài Loan, Trung Quốc (Taiwan, China) to refer to Taiwan or Republic of China in many contexts, including in music and entertainment coverage.[26][27][28] In other media, they often use the term vùng lãnh thổ (territory)[29] or đảo (island)[30][31] to refer to Taiwan when wanting to avoid repeating the term Taiwan many times in their article. The term Tỉnh Đài Loan (Taiwan Province)[32] sometimes appear in media to refer to all of Taiwan Area (not only referring to the Taiwan Province of ROC). In general, Vietnamese state media never refer to Taiwan as a nation or a state.

International airlines[edit]

In April 2018, the China Civil Aviation Authority wrote a letter to 36 airlines throughout the world, including U.S. airlines Delta, United, and American, Canadian airline Air Canada, Japanese JAL and ANA, Air New Zealand, and Qantas of Australia, demanding that they change travel destination cities in Taiwan in their websites to list them under Taiwan, Province of China, or directly list them as, for example, Taipei, China and Kaohsiung, China instead of the existing Taipei, Taiwan and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.[33] Air Canada and other non-US airlines quickly complied. However, the U.S. airlines requested a time extension to consider the issue, and replied to the Authority that they will confer with the U.S. government regarding the course of action. The White House responded by labeling the move as Orwellian nonsense.[34] The China Civil Aviation Authority therefore extended the deadline for U.S. airlines to 25 July 2018 for compliance.[35] All of the resisting U.S. airlines partially gave in to Beijings demand by the deadline, and dropped all references to Taiwan as a country, listing the city names only (for example, Taipei or Kaohsiung without any mention of which country the city is in).[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There is some debate whether the war has ended since the two Chinas are still fighting for international recognition and assurance of sovereignty. See Chinese Civil War for details.


  1. ^ Taiwan protests province of China WHO label.
  2. ^ A Pivotal President-- Lee Teng-huis 12 Years. Taiwan Panorama (Sino). June 5, 2000.
  3. ^ Taiwan and China in special relations: Ma. China Post. September 4, 2008.
  4. ^ Taiwan President: Mainland China is Still Our Territory. ChinaSmack. October 29, 2013.
  5. ^ 请央视自律 关于正确使用涉台宣传用语的意见.
  6. ^ Taiwan president protests China pressuring UN body into calling island a Chinese territory. The Associated Press. Reading Eagle. May 10, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  7. ^ ISO 3166 – FAQs – Specific. ISO. Archived from the original on June 16, 2012.
  8. ^ Lin, Keng-yu; Tsai, Rex (November 2, 2011). Taiwan listed as Taiwan, Province of China. Launchpad. Canonical Ltd. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Taiwan is not a province of China.
  10. ^ ISO 3166 information for CN. International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  11. ^ ISO 3166 information for TW. International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved December 8, 2020. Independent: No; Administrative language(s) alpha-2: zh; Administrative language(s) alpha-3: zho; Local short name: Taiwan
  12. ^ Taiwan sues ISO over incorrect reference. Taipei Representative Office in the UK. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  13. ^ Felber, René (September 10, 2010). Umweg über Zivilrichter unzulässig: Taiwans Kampf um seinen Namen. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). p. 14.
  14. ^ Urteil vom 9. September 2010 (5A_329/2009) [Decision of 9 September 2010 (5A_329/2009)] (PDF) (in German). Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011.
  15. ^ Arrêt du 9 septembre 2010 (5A_329/2009) [Decision of 9 September 2010 (5A_329/2009)] (PDF) (in French). Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2010.
  16. ^ CNS 12842 X5014 Codes for the representation of names of countries. Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection. July 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  17. ^ This Chinese phrase means including Penghu Islands, Kinmen, and Matsu.
  18. ^ CNS 12842 X5014 Codes for the representation of names of countries. Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection. July 7, 2009. p. 22. Retrieved December 8, 2020. TAIWAN, ROC | 中華民國 | the Republic of China | TW | TWN | 158 | 包括澎湖群島、金門、馬祖。 | # | zh | zho | TAIWAN, ROC
  19. ^ 戶役政資訊系統資料代碼內容清單 (in Chinese).
  20. ^ Mangapower. Pressured by higher-ups paying attention, so UNI Yeh said Taipei, China. Apple Daily (in Chinese). Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Wu, Jianhong (July 21, 2013). 葉瑋庭《好聲音》自我介紹出包 「中國屏東」被譙翻. Apple Daily (in Chinese). Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  22. ^ China forbids terms Formosa and Republic of China. Taiwan News. July 21, 2017.
  23. ^ 8 FAM 403.4 Place of Birth. Foreign Affairs Manual. United States Department of State. June 27, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018. d. If an applicant born in Taiwan writes Taiwan, China as her/his POB on a passport application, you must contact the applicant to ascertain whether she/he prefers either TAIWAN or CHINA as her/his POB (Information Request Letter 707-06). f. Passports may not be issued showing the POB as Taiwan, China, Taiwan, Republic of China, or Taiwan, ROC.
  24. ^ Trần Nga theo Ap. Đài Loan, Trung Quốc quyên góp 26 triệu USD cho Nhật Bản (in Vietnamese). Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  25. ^ Danh Sách Công Dân Việt Nam Được Thôi Quốc Tịch Việt Nam (in Vietnamese). March 25, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  26. ^ Trung Quốc, Đài Loan khai trương triển lãm đèn lồng (in Vietnamese). February 12, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  27. ^ VietNam Airlines tổ chức đoàn khảo sát điểm đến Đài Loan (Trung Quốc)
  28. ^ Dị nữ Lady Gaga khuấy động thị trường Đài Loan (in Vietnamese). November 9, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  29. ^ Đài Loan dùng sức mạnh mềm chống Trung Quốc? (in Vietnamese). October 25, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  30. ^ Tên lửa Hsiungfeng 2E của đảo Đài Loan có gì mạnh? (in Vietnamese). October 5, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  31. ^ Tên lửa Hsiungfeng 2E của đảo Đài Loan có gì mạnh? (in Vietnamese). October 5, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  32. ^ 4 người Việt bị bắt ở Đài Loan (in Vietnamese). Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  33. ^ JAMES PALMER, BETHANY ALLEN-EBRAHIMIAN (April 27, 2018). China Threatens U.S. Airlines Over Taiwan References. Foreign Policy. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  34. ^ White House: China push on Taiwan is Orwellian nonsense. The Seattle Times. May 5, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  35. ^ Beijings demand to refer to China Taiwan still being defied by US airlines. South China Morning Post. June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  36. ^ Wee, Sui-Lee (July 25, 2018). Giving In to China, U.S. Airlines Drop Taiwan (in Name at Least). The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2019.

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