Tue, Sep 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Over 520,000 join call for Olympic name change

‘TAIWAN’:The campaign nearly doubled the required number of signatures to qualify for the referendum to change the national sports team’s name in 2020

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Olympic bronze medalist and National Policy Adviser to the President Chi Cheng, back row seventh left, and civic groups yesterday hold a news conference outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei as they deliver 526,688 signatures for a referendum proposal to change the national Olympic team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan.”

Photo: CNA

Civic groups yesterday delivered to the Central Election Commission more than 520,000 signatures collected for a referendum proposal to change the national sports team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At a news conference in front of the commission headquarters, Olympic medalist and campaign spokeswoman Chi Cheng (紀政) thanked supporters for helping them reach the threshold of 281,745 signatures and urged people to vote on the referendum, which is to take place alongside the nine-in-one local elections in November.

The proposal, which garnered 526,688 signatures, is the seventh proposal to have reached the threshold this year. Nine referendums are expected to be held on Nov. 24, including two proposals on promoting gender equality that are expected to be submitted to the commission this week.

“Taiwan has great athletes, but we do not have a great brand. While the name ‘Taiwan’ is widely used, less than 1 percent use the name ‘Chinese Taipei.’ Great athletes deserve to represent a great name,” Control Yuan member Peter Chang (張武修) said, adding that the referendum would give Taiwanese the right to vote on their own “brand name.”

Despite having no support from the government, the proposal has garnered great momentum among the public, as many people support the idea of having the nation known as “Taiwan” in the international community, said former Tainan mayor George Chang (張燦鍙), who also took part in the grassroots campaign.

At the news conference, New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) praised the groups’ efforts to promote the campaign and their ability to gather “possibly the most signatures any proposal launched by a civil group has ever collected,” despite facing significant opposition.

Pro-unification groups and their supporters have criticized the proposal as an attempt to promote Taiwanese independence, saying that it could provoke China into further restricting Taiwan’s already limited international space.

The KMT has submitted three referendum proposals: phasing out fossil fuel power plants, halting the construction of a coal power plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳) and maintaining the ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures, which was imposed after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster.

The Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance has submitted three referendum proposals: maintaining the definition of marriage in the Civil Code as a union between a man and a woman, protecting the right of same-sex couples to live together without amending the Civil Code and banning education about homosexuality in elementary and junior-high schools.

For a referendum to pass, at least one-quarter of the nation’s eligible voters must cast an affirmative vote, with the “yes” votes outnumbering the “no” votes.

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