Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Wu to skip Games if team name changed

TITLE A top KMT official said that Wu Poh-hsiung would not attend the Olympics opening ceremony if China insisted on belittling Taiwan by changing its name to ‘Zhongguo Taibei’

By Mo Yan-Chih  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) will boycott the Beijing Olympics should the title of the Taiwanese Olympic team be changed to Zhongguo Taibei (中國台北, or Taipei, China), which implies that Taiwan is part of China, a high-ranking KMT official said yesterday.

KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said Wu Poh-hsiung would travel to Beijing to attend the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games on Aug. 8 and the Taiwanese baseball team’s first match against the Netherlands on Aug. 13 if the Chinese authorities respect Olympic protocol and refer to the Taiwanese team as Zhonghua Taibei (中華台北, Chinese Taipei) rather than Zhongguo Taibei.

“We will boycott the Olympics if Beijing maneuvers to belittle Taiwan by playing word games,” Wu Den-yih said.

TEAM

He made the remarks after China’s Chinese Central Television and Xinhua news agency referred to Taiwan’s Olympic delegation on Wednesday as Zhongguo Taibei when reporting that Taiwan had selected its Olympic team.

Because of pressure from China, Taiwan has been forced to participate in international sports events under the English title Chinese Taipei since 1981, based on a protocol signed with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

An agreement signed between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in Hong Kong in 1989 states that all sports teams or organizations representing Taiwan will follow IOC regulations when participating in sports events in China.

The two sides also agreed that Taiwan should be referred to as Zhonghua Taibei in Chinese characters in any of the Games’ publications or public information, including brochures, invitation letters, athletic badges and media broadcasts.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said on Thursday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met the Cabinet recently to discuss the issue and reached a consensus that Chinese Taipei — the name used by Taiwan’s Olympic Committee at international sports events — must be translated as Zhonghua Taibei.

STANCE

Noting the president’s firm stance on the issue, Wang expressed hope that Beijing would stop “using their old tricks” to avoid unnecessary disputes in the run-up to the Olympics.

KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said that Wu Poh-hsiung had accepted Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) invitation to attend the Olympics’ opening ceremony during his meeting with Hu in May.

However, the KMT had informed Beijing that Wu would cancel his trip to the Olympics if China insisted on changing the name of the Taiwanese Olympic team.

“The KMT insists that Chinese Taipei should only be translated as Zhonghua Taibei… hopefully Beijing would cherish recent positive developments in cross-strait relations and respect our stance,” Lee said.

Lee dismissed a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday saying Wu Poh-hsiung would take the occasion to have a second “Wu-Hu meeting” during the Olympics. Lee said the party had no plans to arrange such a meeting.

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