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Taiwan Sovereignty Conflict Block Huawei Phone Sales

In what is another strike in a longstanding soft conflict, Taiwan has suspended the sale of three Huawei smartphone models that identify Taiwan as part of China, continuing to increase tensions over the sovereignty of the island nation.

As reported by Bloomberg, phone carriers were ordered by the National Communications Commission (NCC) in Taipei to stop offering Huawei’s P30, P30 Pro and Nova 5T models starting Thursday because their displays included the words “Taiwan, China” for time zones and contacts.

According to Peter Niou, an NCC deputy director, the reference impairs Taiwan’s ‘national dignity’, and now Huawei joins Coach, Givenchy and JPMorgan as companies that have represented Taiwan as part of China, resulting in a ban.

Taipei-based Economic Daily News reported that the Huawei phones began displaying ‘Taiwan, China’ following a software update sparking the response from the NCC to ban the sale of the phones.

In an ironic twist, however, it appears the update may be a result of Huawei failing to refer to a number of locations as a part of mainland China, including Macau and Hong Kong, where citizens are protesting over their own sovereignty.

‘The labelling in Huawei’s smartphones are factually incorrect and has hurt the dignity of the Taiwanese people. We have taken strict measures to uphold Taiwan’s dignity” according to the NCC’s official statement,’ said Niou.

According to Niou, suspension of Huawei sales would continue until the reference to Taiwan is changed, however, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it would continue making chips for Huawei, despite the ban.

Those familiar with the Chinese-Taiwan conflict will know both sides are participating in a soft war over their sovereignty through representation not just within their country, but without.

Controlling the medium means to control the message, and as long as Taiwan can control its representation as an independent country it can maintain its image on the global stage.

In fact, current Taiwan president has pledged that as long as Tsai Ing-wen is president, she will never accept ‘one country, two systems’ China’s one government policy. 

However, as China becomes more aggressive in its efforts to maintain its One China policy and its own international image, as can be seen in its banning of NBA team the Houston Rockets on its digital streaming platform Tencent, more will need to be done by the likes of Taiwan and Hong Kong to stand up to the might that is the People’s Republic of China.

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