Calls to rename Taiwan’s national airline raised again after BBC uses picture to illustrate China cabin crew diaper story

Taiwanese citizens were once again left red-faced after the BBC used a picture of Taiwan’s national carrier “China Airlines” to illustrate a news report about Chinese cabin crew being advised to wear diapers during flights as an epidemic prevention measure.

At the same time, it was acknowledged that the fault did not lay with the BBC.

The BBC reported that the Civil Aviation Administration of the People’s Republic of China had issued advice that cabin crew flying to and from areas where COVID-19 infections exceeded 500 per million people should wear diapers, and avoid using toilets during the flight.

“It is recommended that cabin crew wear disposable nappies to avoid special circumstances,” China’s CAA recommended.

screenshot of BBC news report using Taiwan's China Airlines as illustration to story about Chinese airlines

The BBC has since removed the picture, but has not made a statement about the issue.

Taiwanese citizens said that it was no surprise that foreigners would make such a mistake. “If we don’t change the name, I can only say that we deserve it,” one person commented.

The problem of the name “China Airlines” came to the fore earlier this year when flights repatriating Taiwanese citizens, or carrying medical supplies on humanitarian missions during the COVID-19 pandemic were often mistakenly identified as belonging to the People’s Republic of China.

Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang voiced support for a name change earlier this year, but said it may come at the cost of the nation’s civil aviation rights.

China has continuously used its clout in United Nations organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to stifle Taiwan’s rights on the international stage.

ICAO is headed by Chinese-national Liu Fang, serving as Secretary General, with Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau Director Huang Jiefang in support, and social media accounts managed by Qining Guang, also Chinese nationals.

See previous story: ICAO misrepresents Taiwan as “province of China” in press release on economic impact of coronavirus

The BBC was not the only media outlet to use a picture of Taiwan’s China Airlines to illustrate the story of Chinese cabin crews being advised by their government to wear nappies on the job. used a picture of a Taiwan China Airlines plane to illustrate their coverage, as did Live Hindustan.

Cover Picture: modified from Green Party image published on Facebook.

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