Fri, Aug 03, 2012 - Page 1 News List

London 2012 Olympics: ROC flag warning sparks outrage

‘SELF-CASTRATION’:A warning to not wave the flag at the Olympics was issued by officials and was labeled by many netizens as an insult to Taiwanese sovereignty

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Netizens slammed the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) and the Tourism Bureau over their “friendly reminders” to Taiwanese travelers planning to attend the Olympic Games in London not to bring Republic of China (ROC) flags with them, saying the move was “self-degrading” to Taiwanese sovereignty.

Last week, the Taipei Association of Travel Agents (TATA) posted an announcement on its Web site, informing its members that if they are taking tour groups to attend the Olympic Games in London to be aware of the “Olympic model.”

The “Olympic model” refers to an agreement reached between Taiwan and the International Olympic Committee that only the name “Chinese Taipei” — not “Taiwan” or “ROC” — can be used at Olympic venues and that only the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag — not the ROC flag — can be used at Olympic events.

“According to regulations, items prohibited in the venues include flags of non-competing countries (our Olympic team uses the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag),” the announcement said.

“In order to prevent unnecessary disputes because travelers are not aware of the regulations, please contact the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee to send a representative to explain the Olympic model to those taking part in Olympic Games tour groups,” it added.

The announcement was delivered to the organization from the SAC through the Tourism Bureau.

“I guess this is what people would call ‘self-castration,’” netizen Alain Chen said about the announcement on his Facebook page.

“If you look down on yourself, how do you expect others to respect you?” asked Jennifer Lin, another Facebook user.

Mimiko (米果), a writer, posted a photo that she took during a World Baseball Classic (WBC) games in 2009 in Tokyo, in which a group of Taiwanese baseball fans held up a giant ROC flag in the audience on Facebook.

“I don’t know what the announcement is supposed to mean, but I know that in the WBC preliminary games of the Asia region, the organizers also applied the Olympic model. The Taiwanese national team competed under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’ and used the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag, but this was what happened in the audience when the Hymn to the National Flag was sung,” she wrote. “The tour guides who took the fans to the game didn’t do anything, the security of the Tokyo Dome didn’t do anything and neither did the organizers — why is the Tourism Bureau so afraid?”

Responding to the criticism, SAC Deputy Minister Chen Yun-lien (陳雲蓮) said it was routine for the council to forward regulations on Olympic Games to the Tourism Bureau, and that it was only a friendly reminder, denying that the act was “self-degrading.”

The announcement was removed from the TATA Web site yesterday afternoon.

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