Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Let's dump `Chinese Taipei'

Viewers around the world were wowed by the creative spectacle of Friday's opening ceremony for the Asian Games in Doha.

As the audience applauded the entrance of delegates from 45 Asian nations and regions into the stadium, many Taiwanese viewers couldn't help but feel frustrated when they saw the delegation from Taiwan marching under the absurd "Chinese Taipei" banner.

This is what Taiwanese athletes are faced with, unlike other participants who are able to compete in the name of their country with pride and honor.

While sportsmanship and fair play have always been promoted in the sporting world, time and time again the nation's athletes are not afforded the same respect and dignity other participants expect when they take part in international events.

"Chinese Taipei" is a meaningless moniker. Taiwan is a sovereign state with its own government, elections, currency and territory. Taiwan negotiates its own treaties and has its own president.

Canada does not compete in international athletic competitions as "Canadian Ottawa," just as the Japanese would find it ridiculous to compete as "Japanese Tokyo." Taiwan should be no different.

It is unfair to force the nation's 399 athletes -- the fourth-largest Asian Games delegation after China, Japan and South Korea -- to compete under such a meaningless name when they work just as hard as their counterparts from other countries.

It is disheartening to see the oblivious response of the international community to the obvious unfairness of this situation, especially when it has arisen just to placate the nation's lunatic neighbor across the Taiwan Strait.

It is even more frustrating to witness the government utter failure to make progress on this issue even though it has spent a fortune on public relations firms and commercials to back the nation's bids to participate in the UN and the WHO.

The bottom line is that the DPP has done very little to highlight the nation's plight on an international stage such as that provided by the Asian Games, in effect choosing to lamely accept the ridiculous convention of "Chinese Taipei."

It is true that Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding in 1991 to compete in the Olympic Games and other international sporting events as "Chinese Taipei." Nevertheless, despite China's bullying and the indifference of the hypocritical international community, Taiwan should not succumb to such an outrage without making its stance known.

For those who are logical and reasonable, this comes down to an issue of respect: Taiwan won't be respected by other nations if it doesn't respect itself.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Election Study Center at National Chengchi University, the percentage of respondents who considered themselves "Taiwanese" increased from 56 percent last year to 60 percent this year.

In view of this trend, the government needs to vigorously assert the nation's name -- Taiwan -- in every instance. Failing to do so only further diminishes the nation's international status and serves to give an air of legitimacy to China's disgusting pressure.

The government has the responsibility of increasing the nation's visibility on the international stage. This is why it is important for the government to use its voice to let the world know that the nation's athletes compete for Taiwan, not "Chinese Taipei."

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