New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Taiwan on Thursday strongly condemned Beijing's demand made on multinational companies to refer to the East Asian island nation as a part of China.
In a statement, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that Taiwan "strongly condemns the Chinese authorities for their recent outrageous demand on 66 multinational companies to change their designation for Taiwan to 'Taiwan, China'."
"These firms - which were among the world's top 500 companies in 2017 including Apple, Nike, Amazon and Siemens - were named in The Blue Book on the Cyber Rule of Law in China 2018 as having identified Taiwan as such rather than by 'Taiwan, China', and were threatened with penalty in accordance with the law," the strongly-worded statement said.
A total of 66 international firms were singled out for "misidentifying" Taiwan on their websites, in an annual report on cyber rule of law in China published this week by the Social Science Academic Press in Beijing.
The report, which covered 500 top transnational companies based in 32 countries, including the US, Japan and Germany, also named 53 firms for "misidentifying" Hong Kong, the city's South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
China's 2018 Annual Report on Cyber Rule of Law called for the relevant authorities to punish the companies by either removing their licences or suspending their operations on the mainland if they refused to correct their mistakes.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry statement said that Beijing's move comes "following its coercion on airlines and multinational companies in early 2018".
"MOFA strongly condemns China for its outrageous demands and urges China to refrain from further actions to avoid harming the feelings of the Taiwanese people and the amicable development of cross-strait relations," it stated.
It said China's moves to impose its executive and judicial jurisdiction as well as political ideology on foreign companies "not only expose its malicious intent in using political tactics to interfere with private enterprises, but also violate the spirit of free international commerce".
"MOFA once again calls on the international community not to remain silent and accommodating in order to prevent the Chinese government from intensifying its intimidations," the statement said.
"MOFA also calls on related countries to take stock of China's bullying measures and take necessary steps to assist these companies refuse China's unreasonable demands."
Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with most countries in the world because of big power China's claims over it.
The island nation has the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) here in India in the form of an embassy.
China's Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895 after the Sino-Japanese War.
While Taiwan was under Japanese rule, the Republic of China (RoC) was established on mainland China in 1912 after the fall of the dynasty.
Following the Japanese surrender to the Allies in 1945, the RoC took control of Taiwan.
However, the resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the RoC's loss of the mainland to the Communists, and the flight of the RoC government to Taiwan in 1949.
Although the RoC continued to claim to be the legitimate government of China, its effective jurisdiction had, since the loss of Hainan in 1950, been limited to Taiwan and several small islands, with the main island making up 99 per cent of its territory.
As a founding member of the UN, the RoC represented China at the world body until 1971, when it lost its seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry's statement comes weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement that Taiwan should reject independence by terming it a "dead end" and embrace "peaceful reunification" with China.
Xi made the remarks at a gathering in Beijing at the beginning of this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the issuing of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" - which seeks peaceful reunification under the principle of "one country, two systems".
While Taiwan is self-governed and de-facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
Beijing considers the island to be a breakaway province and Xi's comments were in line with China's long-standing policy towards reunification.
Calling both sides a part of the same Chinese family, Xi said: "Reunification is the historical trend and the right path, Taiwan independence is ... a dead end."
Thursday's statement by the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry further reiterated that "the Chinese government should face the fact of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and that Taiwan is absolutely not a province of the People's Republic of China, nor is it subject to the jurisdiction of the Chinese government".
"Any attempts to suppress and belittle Taiwan will only cause antipathy among Taiwanese people and undermine cross-strait relations as well as regional peace and stability," it said.