Mon, Nov 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 Referendums: Advocates vow to continue Olympic name change fight

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee secretary-general Shen Yi-ting stands by the Chinese Taipei Olympic logo in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Chuo Kui-ping, Taipei Times

Leaders of the campaign to change the name of the nation’s teams at international sports events from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” yesterday said they were disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s vote, but blamed fake news for misleading the public and vowed to continue their fight.

Referendum #13, which asked: “Do you agree that the nation should apply under the name of ‘Taiwan’ for all international sports events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?” garnered 5,774,556 “no” votes (52.3 percent), and 4,763,086 “yes” votes (43.1 percent), while 505,153 ballots (4.6 percent), were declared invalid, Central Election Commission data showed.

Former Sports Administration minister Yang Jong-her (楊忠和), who organized the campaign, said he was upset by the outcome.

“We will continue to fight for this issue, and will undertake the effort with more effective organization in the future,” he said.

Yang blamed Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) for sabotaging the referendum with “fake news” to manipulate the public and pressuring athletes to declare that they did not support the name change.

“Certain media outlets reported that the central government would continue to use ‘Chinese Taipei’ for international competitions, even if we won the vote. It was fake news, but although the Presidential Office issued a clarification to say that no such decision had been made, 90 percent of the public did not see it and were misled by the fake news,” Yang said.

“We had 4.76 million people who voted yes, and this proved that our nation’s citizens take the issue very seriously, so we will keep on pushing for the ‘Taiwan’ name change,” Yang said.

Political pundit Yu Mei-mei (余莓莓) said she felt let down by the result, and believed the CTOC had undermined the campaign.

“It is unfortunate that the outside world will see the outcome as people rejecting the name ‘Taiwan,’ and opting to use ‘Chinese Taipei,’ which does not reflect the public’s true sentiment. Our government was also lukewarm... I think they could have done more for the campaign,” she said.

“It is good this vote did not pass, so it will not complicate the situation for athletes,” said track and field star Yang Chun-han (楊俊瀚), who did not support the name change. “Whether or not it passed, we have to train and perform well to qualify for major international events.”

He said he was grateful for the result.

Two retired Taiwanese taekwondo athletes, Olympic gold medalist Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎) and Olympian Ann Chen (陳怡安), who are attending the Olympic Council of Asia meeting in Tokyo, informed International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach of the result, Lin said.

Bach extended an IOC invitation for Chinese Taipei to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in response, Lin said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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