Sat, Jul 22, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Standing up to a `united front' for the Games

By Tsai Cheng-chung 蔡政忠

With the 2006 FIFA World Cup having come to a close, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing will be the next global event to take center stage.

When dealing with international athletic competitions, the Cabinet must establish a rapid response unit spanning the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council.

I have a number of observations to make about how China is going to take advantage of its hosting of the Olympics to prevent Taiwan from asserting its sovereignty.

First, since Hong Kong's reversion to China in 1997, Beijing has strengthened its "united front" strategy against Taiwan.

Take Chinese television for example: China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has ordered that "Taiwan, China" be displayed when the names of Taiwanese actors or actresses are displayed on Taiwanese TV shows broadcast in China.

In addition, in 2003, China's Ministry of Public Security also started granting Taiwanese citizens Chinese identification cards and passports in an attempt to negate the legitimacy of documents issued by the Taiwanese government.

NEGATIVE COVERAGE

Second, the Chinese media present only very negative coverage of the democratization of Taiwan, branding demonstrations aimed at protecting Taiwan's democracy as a beast endangering social stability and the nation's prosperity.

In this regard, Beijing is not selective about the targets of its mockery, lashing out at both the pan-green and pan-blue camps, the president and borough chiefs, and using defamation and satire to mislead the Chinese people while ignoring their aspirations to democracy and human rights.

Taiwan's temporary economic slump following its economic transformation over the past few years is described as a sign that Taiwan's growing economic reliance on China is unavoidable, that blood is thicker than water and that any anti-China/pro-Taiwan sentiment is doomed.

Third, "Chinese Taipei" is the name that Taiwan has used in past olympic games. To speed up the annexation of Taiwan and unify the ideological education of its people, China has for many years used the epithet "the team from Taipei, China" in sports broadcasts and even included Taiwanese gold medals in the national total medal count for China.

When Taiwan's Olympic team enters the stadium during the 2008 Olympic Games, Chinese sports reporters will call Taiwan's Olympic delegation "the team from Taipei, China" or declare that Taiwan is part of China. How should Taiwan respond to a situation like this?

EVENTFUL

Fourth, 2008 will be an eventful year. In March, prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing in July, Taiwan will hold its next presidential election, and the new president will take office in May.

When the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in power, Taiwan's representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Shirley Kuo (郭婉容) took action to show China that Taiwan was not merely a local government of China.

If "Chinese Taipei" is described as the "team from Taipei, China" at the 2008 Olympic Games, I hope that Taiwanese people and the media will not equate "Taiwan, China" with "the Republic of China on Taiwan."

Tsai Cheng-chung is a political commentator in Taipei.

Translated by Daniel Cheng

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