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Opinion

China's airline censorship over Taiwan must not fly

The ball is now in the West's court

| Taiwan

In May, Beijing sent letters to 44 international airlines, demanding that they update their websites to reflect Beijing's view that Taiwan is a part of China. Many buckled. For their part, the three major American fliers -- American, Delta, and United -- in late July performed a half-kowtow, removing references to Taiwan from their websites, but refusing to indicate that cities on the island are actually in China (which, of course, a quick look at a map shows that they are not). The Civil Aviation Administration of China was not amused, saying in a statement that the airlines' "rectification is still incomplete."

This is, apparently, a preferred Chinese response when others fail to concede to Beijing's demands regarding Taiwan. In her inaugural address in 2016, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen offered a significant olive branch to the Chinese Communist Party, promising to abide by past cross-strait agreements and committing to manage cross-strait relations in accordance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) constitution (which defines the Republic of China's borders as in accord with the "one China" approach). China's Taiwan Affairs Office, however, described Tsai's speech as an "incomplete test answer" -- that word again -- because she failed to explicitly embrace "one China."

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