Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Push to change team name for Olympics

PLEBISCITE BACKED:Bronze medalist Chi Cheng wants other Taiwanese athletes to be able to compete under the name ‘Taiwan’ as she did at the 1968 Mexico Games

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Olympic bronze medalist Chi Cheng yesterday speaks next to a framed display of her medals at a news conference at the National Taiwan University Alumni Hall in Taipei to promote the renaming of the nation’s sports team to “Taiwan.”

Photo: CNA

Pro-independence groups yesterday renewed their call for a referendum to rename the national sports team from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” when participating in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

A coalition that includes the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), the Social Democratic Party, World United Formosans for Independence, some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and the Lee Teng-hui Association for Democracy urged the public to join the referendum initiative as part of a name rectification movement.

The nation’s athletes have participated in the Olympics under the names “Taiwan,” “Formosa” and “Republic of China (ROC),” but delegations also withdrew from some Games due to controversies over their titles until the term “Chinese Taipei” was adopted in 1981.

Taiwan is the only member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that is prohibited from using its name and national flag when participating in the Games, which is an insult to Taiwanese athletes, track and field Olympic medalist Chi Cheng (紀政) said.

Displaying the bronze medal she won at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, which the nation participated in under the name “Taiwan” after the IOC changed the name from “ROC” to avoid confusion with the Chinese delegation, Chi said the government was wrong when it decided not to participate under the name “Taiwan” in subsequent Games.

“The wrong decision has made us suffer this long and we are still fighting today to rectify Taiwan’s name,” she said.

Taiwan People News founder Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興) criticized the DPP administration, saying a referendum proposal would be unnecessary if the government took the initiative to rename the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) as the “Taiwan Olympic Committee” and launch a renaming process with the IOC.

“The Taiwanese government is the one that has kept obstructing Taiwan. From [former president] Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) to the DPP, all of them have obstructed Taiwan,” Chen said.

New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said during last year’s revision of the National Sports Act (國民體育法), his party had proposed renaming the CTOC something more neutral — the “National Olympic Committee” — but was rebuffed.

This suggested that the DPP administration is imposing limitations or restrictions on itself, Lim said.

DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said he felt “ashamed” as “external disruption and political realities have forced us [the DPP] to put aside our political ideals.”

Yao called on the public to join the referendum drive and then pass a plebiscite with a record-setting approval level.

The TSU has collected 3,400 signatures for the proposal since February last year to give to the Central Election Commission.

Campaigners hope a referendum could be held in conjunction with the nine-in-one local elections at the end of this year, TSU Chairman Liu Yi-te (劉一德) said.

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