The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday accused Chinese media of downgrading Taiwan’s status by referring to the Taiwan Olympic team as Zhongguo Taibei (中國台北) — which they said means “Taipei, China” and implies that Taiwan is part of China.
DPP Cultural and Publicity Department Director Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) told a press conference that Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and Xinhua news agency had referred to Taiwan’s athletic team as Zhongguo Taibei when reporting that it had selected its representative team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Under a protocol signed with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Taiwan’s Olympic team should be called “Chinese Taipei” or Zhonghua Taibei (中華台北), rather than Zhongguo Taibei or “Taipei, China,” Cheng said, adding that the Chinese media were up to their old tricks and ratcheting up the pressure on Taiwan in the run-up to the Olympics.
PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUN, TAIPEI TIMES
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) called for the KMT administration to lodge a serious protest with the Beijing authorities through proper channels to prevent a downgrading of Taiwan’s status during the Olympics.
Yang Yi (楊毅), spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said last week that “Chinese Taipei” could be translated as both Zhongguo Taibei as well as the originally agreed-upon Zhonghua Taibei.
In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Taiwan will never accept translating the name of its sports teams as Zhongguo Taibei.
Meanwhile, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday offered its response to Beijing’s attempt to change the Chinese-language version of Taiwan’s official Olympic title.
Deputy MAC Chairman Liu Teh-hsun (劉德勳) said the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee has made clear its stance that the official title of Chinese Taipei should be Zhonghua Taibei, and not Zhongguo Taibei in Chinese as stipulated in a 1981 agreement.
The agreement specified that Taiwan would 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.
The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee also reached a similar consensus in 1989, Liu said.
“It is important that both sides respect the consensus, regardless of where the games are held,” Liu said. “The host country should also abide by the regulations set by the International Olympic Committee and request all media reports about the Chinese Taipei Olympic team correspond to such a spirit.”
When asked whether the council would lodge a protest, Liu reiterated that both sides should “understand” and “respect” the consensus and “abide by the Olympic regulations and spirit.”
He emphasized that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee would continue to “fully express its stern position based on the spirit.” The council will also “continue to observe the situation” and he hoped the host country will “act in line with the Olympic spirit.”
The government has set up an emergency response mechanism to handle any situation in case China makes a fuss of the issue, Liu said yesterday. However, he offered few details of the inter-ministerial body, arguing that he was not a member.
As for its composition, Liu said it included those government agencies “whose businesses are related to the Games.”
Despite the name change by the Chinese media, the government has decided to allow Chinese correspondents to be stationed in Taiwan. Liu declined to comment on whether the government’s move signified clemency toward the Chinese media’s reports and refused to predict whether they would produce fairer reports in the future.
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