Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Mystery over ROC flag’s disappearance in London

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Hu Hui-ning  /  Staff reporters, in Taipei and London

The national flag of the Republic of China (ROC) that was hung along with flags of other countries between two buildings on a street near Piccadilly Circus in central London was removed four days later, an incident which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei has pledged to look into.

The appearance of the ROC flag delighted Taiwanese students studying in London, with photographs of the flag flying in the air uploaded to the Facebook page of the Taiwanese Student Association in the UK.

According to Taiwanese students in the UK, a total of 206 national flags were placed in alphabetical order down the street. The ROC flag was hung with flags of Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Thailand.

However, the ROC national flag disappeared yesterday. A student named Kenneth Wong posted a photo on Facebook lamenting the disappearance of the flag.

“The Olympics are a place to demonstrate patriotism, but if your country regrettably does not participate in the Games, don’t bother taking your national flag inside the stadium. If you feel that the national flag of South Sudan is enjoyable, leave it at home. The Taiwanese audience is most pathetic because they can’t cheer for Taiwanese athletes by flying their national flag, but only the Chinese Taipei Olympic Flag,” Wong said.

Some netizens responding to his message blamed China for the removal of the flag. “How come?” one said.

“Because of pressure from China?” another said.

Some netizens condemned China, while others said that “it was outrageous.”

Ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) last night said the ministry has instructed the country’s representative in the UK to look into the matter.

The ministry’s initial understanding was that the flags were hung by the Regent Street Association, a civic group, and had nothing to do with the London Olympic Committee, he said.

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