Greenpeace apologizes for map error after Taiwan donations protest

Taipei--Greenpeace promised on Sunday to address requests for donation cancellations following a recent incident, in which Taiwan was mistakenly shown as part of China in a Greenpeace report about China's coal power plants and water resources.

Fay Lee (???), a senior communications officer for Greenpeace East Asia, said that because individual donations involve personal information, anyone wanting to cancel regular donation pledges should contact the organization by telephone or e-mail.

Lee acknowledged that after the incident last week, the group received several phone calls demanding cancellation of donation pledges. To those angered by the incident, Greenpeace has repeated its apology and promised to take the matter seriously, Lee said.

Lee Chih-an (???), a spokeswoman for Greenpeace Taiwan, said each telephone call is treated with the utmost importance. "The mistake has been corrected," she said, also "we listened carefully to each individual asking to have their donation pledges canceled."

The independent, nonprofit organization devoted to global environmental protection attracted the ire of Taiwanese people last week with data and a map included in its report on coal power capacity and water stress in China that showed Taiwan as part of China.

The report, published on the Greenpeace website on July 5, was excoriated by netizens in Taiwan who accused Greenpeace of failing to focus on local issues, despite receiving considerable support and donations from Taiwan.

"If you do not recognize Taiwan (as an independent sovereign nation), you should just withdraw from Taiwan and stop collecting Taiwan donations," the United Daily Newspaper quoted an online post as reporting last Friday.

The widely circulated daily also cited a post by Taiwan Association for Human Rights chairman Chiu Yu-Chiu Yu-bin (???) on his Facebook page accusing Greenpeace of ignoring local environmental problems despite collecting more than NT$100 million (US$3.27 million) in donations in Taiwan every year.

Despite all the support and donations Greenpeace gets in Taiwan it still includes Taiwan as part of Chinese territory, blasted Chiu, who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Social Development at National Pingtung University.

He urged Taiwanese people to transfer their donations from Greenpeace to local environmental protection groups.

In response, Greenpeace released a statement in Chinese last Friday, expressing deep regret for the mistake and explaining that the problematic data and map are part of a report that does not focus on Taiwan.

"No content in the report is about Taiwan, which was only mistakenly shown on the map," the statement said.

It said Taiwan plays an important role in the global environmental movement and notes that Greenpeace opened an office in Taiwan in 2010, devoted to improving pelagic fishery management locally.

Recently the organization launched campaigns on the island calling for a reduction in plastic waste in the sea and supporting the circular economy, the statement said.

It also underlined that all donations collected in Taiwan are spent on Taiwan-related environment programs.

"No funds from Taiwanese donors are currently used in any other global projects," the statement said, apologizing for causing such anger and promising that more caution will be taken in ensuring the accuracy of data used in the future.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel