MOFA blames China for conservation group's removal from partnership
Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday blamed and condemned China for interfering in the "completely apolitical" field of conservation after a Taiwan bird conservation group was stripped of an international partnership.
MOFA was referring to the case of the Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF), which said that day that it had been removed from its partnership with BirdLife International on Sept. 7.
Prior to the removal, BirdLife had requested the CWBF to change its Chinese name and to "sign a document formally committing to not promote or advocate the legitimacy of the Republic of China or the independence of Taiwan from China," the CWBF said.
Since the group's inception in 1988, it has changed its English name three times at the behest of BirdLife, according to the CWBF.
Although the CWBF did not directly state the reason behind BirdLife's move, MOFA said that it was due to China "inappropriately interfering with BirdLife's operations."
"The ministry strongly condemns the Chinese government for its interference and suppression in the completely apolitical field of conservation," MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement.
Ou also criticized BirdLife, saying that it has completely overlooked the contributions the CWBF has made in the field of bird conservation, and has instead cooperated with China to pressure the CWBF into taking a political stance.
As a renowned international conservation organization, BirdLife should be professional and remain neutral, but has instead bowed to pressure from China, Ou said.
"BirdLife will not easily gain the understanding of its other partners or the respect of the international community for its actions," Ou warned.
She said that MOFA has been in contact with the CWBF since July, when the conservation group first informed the ministry of the situation.
The ministry has continued to provide the group with strategic advice and will provide any necessary further assistance in the future, Ou said, adding that "the ministry highly affirms and admires the CWBF for defending its rights and the nation's dignity until the end."
As BirdLife is headquartered in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, MOFA has also instructed its office there to express its disapproval over the CWBF's removal, Ou said.
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