By TNV Desk-
According to International Olympic Association’s(IOA’s) website, “ It is a proud moment for a player and his country to win a medal in Olympics. As Olympic carry with it the values as expressed in the Olympic Charter, these are to “encourage effort”, “preserve human dignity” and “develop harmony”.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sports practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Is it not against Olympic spirit of fair play that a Taiwan, as a country is not allowed to use its name, its flag and its anthem? Does Chinese hegemony controls IOA also. Even as other disputed places have their names, flags and representation mentioned in the games, why such humiliation is being met to Taiwanese sportspersons.
An AFP report which got tucked away in most of the global media and was ignored by the India media has raised this question again?
The AFP report titled “Why is Taiwan not called Taiwan at the Olympics?” says, “Taiwan’s star weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun won gold at the Tokyo Olympics…. but when she ascended the podium to receive her medal there was no national flag and no national anthem to greet her.”
It further added, “Taiwan cannot even call itself “Taiwan” at the Games. Instead, it must use the title “Chinese Taipei”, a source of considerable frustration to many Taiwanese.”
Further elaborating on why the name is not recognize the report said, “Taiwan has been given a host of names at the Olympics over the years because of its peculiar international status. Despite being a self-ruled democracy of 23 million people with its own borders, currency and government, Taiwan’s status remains disputed.”
On Taiwan’s history, it said, “After the 1949 Chinese civil war ended, the losing Nationalists and their Republic of China government fled to Taiwan. Mao’s winning communist forces founded the People’s Republic of China on the mainland. Beijing’s communist leadership has never controlled Taiwan. But it still views the island as part of a “one China” and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if it needs.”
“It tries to keep Taipei isolated on the world stage and balks at any use of the word Taiwan.”
On why Taiwan is called Chinese Taipei the report said, “That was the name Taipei settled on back in 1981 with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was a compromise that would allow Taiwan to compete in sports without presenting itself as a sovereign nation.”
Instead of Taiwan’s red and blue flag, Taiwanese athletes must compete under the “Plum Blossom Banner”, a white flag that carries the Olympic rings. A traditional flag-raising song — not Taiwan’s national anthem — is played when athletes are on the podium.”
The report added, “In 1952, both Taiwan and China were invited to the Olympics. Both governments claimed to represent China but, in the end, Taiwan dropped out. Four years later, Taiwan joined the Olympics as “Formosa-China” — Formosa (beautiful) was the name Portuguese sailors gave Taiwan in the sixteenth century.
Explaining the tug of war in names between China and Taiwan, the report said, “Beijing boycotted those games and quit the International Olympic Committee two years later. For the 1960 games, Taiwan performed under the name Taiwan at the behest of the IOC. But Taiwan’s then authoritarian government objected to that name — they wanted to be the Republic of China.”
It further said, “Taiwan participated in two more Olympics as Taiwan in the 1960s, including the 1964 Tokyo Games. By the 1970s, more countries were starting to diplomatically recognize Beijing over Taiwan. In 1972, Taiwan took part in the Olympics as the Republic of China for the last time. Taiwan boycotted the 1976 Olympics after host country Canada demanded it compete as Taiwan instead of ROC. It was then suspended in 1979 after the IOC recognized Beijing as the representative body for China.”
On why Taiwan name became popular again, the report said, “Though the previous governments disliked that name in the past, but much has changed in Taiwan since the 1970s. Since the 1990s, Taiwan has morphed from a dictatorship into one of Asia’s most progressive democracies. A distinct Taiwanese identity has emerged, especially among youngsters. A referendum on whether “Chinese Taipei” should be changed was held in 2018, sparking warnings from both the IOC and Beijing.”
On current happenings, the report said, “Current President Tsai Ing-wen — who won a landslide re-election last year — views Taiwan as a de facto sovereign nation and has pushed to use the name Taiwan more. She wrote a message of thanks to Japan online after a news anchor announced Chinese Taipei as Taiwan during the opening ceremony.”
In response, China’s state media tabloid the Global Times blasted Japan for “dirty political tricks”. And much to Chinese displeasure Comcast-owned NBC displayed a map upon the arrival of the Chinese delegation that did not include Taiwan.
According to a BBC report, “… in 2016, Taiwan’s current president Tsai Ing-wen was elected. She leads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which leans towards eventual official independence from China. Despite the lack of formal ties, the US has pledged to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons and has stressed any attack by China would cause “grave concern”.