The League of Historical Cities announced July 25 that the southern Taiwan municipality of Tainan has been approved as a new member.
“Membership in the nonprofit intercity organization will raise Tainan’s visibility in the world and help foster the country’s ties with international society,” Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said.
“Tainan is the first city in Taiwan to join the league,” he noted.
Other new members this year are Palestine’s Hebron and Georgia’s Kutaisi. The LHC was established in Kyoto, Japan, in 1994 and now has a membership of 95 cities from 59 countries and regions.
Approval for Tainan came in April at the league’s 13th world conference in Hue, Vietnam, but the announcement was delayed due to mainland Chinese pressure regarding country affiliation, according to a news release from the Tainan City Government.
“We regret that the league’s board has resolved to refer to Tainan as being located in the region ‘Chinese Taipei,’ rather than ‘Taiwan,’ following the practice of the International Olympic Committee,” the statement said.
The reference is confusing as Taipei refers to another Taiwan city, an official said, adding that the municipal government has pointed out to the board that Japan has revised its immigration law to recognize Taiwan as a residency designation, replacing the former “China” or “China (Taiwan).”
He said Tainan had sought membership for more than 10 years, and emphasized that the belated announcement and confusing reference would not affect the city’s continued efforts to preserve its heritage, promote cultural tourism and engage in exchanges on all fronts with cities around the world.