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- Royal Bank of Canada has changed its description of Taiwan from a country to a province of China.
- It appears to be the first financial institution to make the change this year amid China’s political crackdown on how foreign companies describe its disputed territories.
- The change occurred just two weeks after Air Canada made a similar change after receiving a letter from China’s Civil Aviation Authority.
The Royal Bank of Canada has become the latest foreign company to change its description of Taiwan from a country to a province of China.
Asked by The Star when the change occurred, Royal Bank of Canada did not respond, instead saying that it “has been leveraging the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for country descriptions.”
“As part of our commitment to responding to the needs of our clients we will be making updates to our system to change how Taiwan is listed,” the bank said in a statement.
Taiwan is still listed as a country on several of the bank’s webpages, but it seems that these will soon be changing to match the new description.
A spokesman for Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry told the national news agency that it was aware of the matter and the ministry had asked Taiwan’s office in Canada to express its concern to the bank and Canada’s government, and for the bank’s position to be reversed.
Beijing considers democratic Taiwan to be a province of China, and frequently seeks to assert its claim to Taiwan on the global stage.
So far this year, China has warned numerous foreign companies about changing websites that list Taiwan as a country. Marriott, Zara, and Gap have all faced action by Chinese authorities, while dozens of airlines received a letter in April demanding similar action.
At least 18 have acquiesced, including Air Canada. Air Canada’s booking page previously listed Taipei’s airport as being in “TW” but after the letter replaced it with “CN,” the abbreviation of China with no mention of Taiwan.
After complaints, Air Canada appears to have settled on “Taiwan, CN.”