Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 8 News List

IOC's rules don't apply to public at any events

By Kao Chi-ming 高啟明

During the recent Straits Cup basketball tournament in Hualien on Sept. 6, some spectators waved the national flag to express their support for the Taiwanese teams. Unfortunately, this was stopped by Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) staffers, who got into a heated argument with the crowd.

I feel sad for the CTBA. After the flag flap, CTBA officials said the tournament must follow the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and that they prevented spectators from waving the national flag to avoid unnecessary problems.

Not only did this incident reveal how ignorant they are of IOC regulations, but it also humiliated Taiwan and insulted its status as an independent nation.

Putting aside the populist aspects and sticking only to regulations, I will begin by clarifying the IOC formula.

After Taiwan withdrew from the UN in 1971, Taiwan's Olympic Committee and other Taiwanese sports organizations were excluded from the IOC and other international sports organizations as a result of Chinese pressure.

Later, after all-out efforts by Taiwan's Olympic Committee and Taiwanese IOC member Henry Hsu (徐亨), Taiwan was finally once again recognized by the IOC after signing an agreement accepting the name "Chinese Taipei" and agreeing to use the Olympic flag and anthem when taking part in international sporting events.

Since then, our athletes have been able to participate in many international sports events and to compete with athletes from other countries and win honors both for individual athletes and for the nation.

On March 23, 1981, the IOC and Taiwan's Olympic Committee signed an agreement in Lausanne, Switzerland, guaranteeing the rights and duties of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) in the IOC. Apart from stipulating that Taiwan has to use the Olympic flag and anthem, the agreement also stated that Taiwanese athletes may enter the Olympic Games as part of the "T" group, "T" standing for Taiwan.

Taiwan has been abused by China many times over in various contexts.

The nation's individual sports associations are unable to reason with China and the Olympic committee formula is extended to all sporting events.

Generally speaking, if the Olympic formula is to be applied to a competition, it extends to the tournament's competition venues, training facilities, meetings, ceremonies, athletes' villages, accommodation for other participants and VIPs, competition documentation, booklets and information as well as media broadcasting.

It must be understood that the Olympic formula does not extend to circumstances outside those mentioned above. In other words, the IOC regulations do not prevent spectators bringing flags to venues.

When the CTBA stopped members of the audience from waving the national flag, they distorted the intent of the Olympic formula, which is deeply regrettable. I hope that similar incidents will not happen again and that the CTBA will never again treat the audience in such an outrageous way.

Taiwan is our home. Regardless of whether we call it the "Republic of China" (ROC) or "Taiwan," we should be proud of its democratic and economic achievements.

We can further strengthen our national identity by paying our highest respects to the people who bravely waved the national flag in Hualien earlier this month.

Kao Chi-ming is a associate researcher at the National Applied Research Laboratories.

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