Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Respect public will on name issue: Cabinet

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee chairman Lin Hong-dow holds a news conference in Taipei yesterday to express concern about the potential negative consequences of a referendum calling on the country to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei.”

Photo: CNA

The Executive Yuan yesterday urged domestic and foreign bodies to respect the will of Taiwanese regardless of the results of a referendum calling for a change to the national sports team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka made the remarks at a media briefing in Taipei, following Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) president Lin Hong-dow’s (林鴻道) comment on Monday that the referendum could cause the national sports team’s membership to be suspended or revoked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its executive board meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 30.

“Taiwan is a democratic country where it is the right of the people to vote in referendums, which are an expression of public opinion,” Kolas said.

The government’s role is to accept and hold referendums on proposals that have passed legal thresholds, she said, adding that the Executive Yuan’s position has always been that regardless of the referendum results, they should be respected by all parties, at home or overseas.

The government has always abided by international rules, but it also needs to endeavor to safeguard national dignity and the rights of its athletes to participate in international competitions, Kolas said.

As the CTOC is a private organization, the Executive Yuan respects its positions and remarks, she added.

The Taiwanese team has been competing under the name “Chinese Taipei” at Olympic events since the nation and the International Olympic Committee reached an agreement in 1989, under which only the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag can be used at Olympic events.

Unhappy with the arrangement, the Tokyo Olympic referendum, initiated by Taiwanese Olympic medalist Chi Cheng (紀政), seeks have the national team to compete under its national title.

It received the support of more than 420,000 people in the second stage.

For a referendum to pass, 25 percent of the nation’s eligible voters must vote “yes,” which would be about 4.7 million votes.

Asked how the government would react if the referendum passes, Kolas said it would expect the CTOC to relay the results to the IOC.

“But of course, whatever decisions the IOC make as a result, Taiwan should also respect them,” she said.

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