Mon, Nov 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

‘China Taipei’ appellation riles baseball fans

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Spanish edition of the media guide for the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 tournament, pictured on Saturday, refers to Taiwan as “China Taipei.”

Photo courtesy of a reader

Calling the national baseball team “China Taipei” is unacceptable, as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has done in the media guide for the Premier12 competition, protesting sports fans said over the weekend.

The use of the name “Chinese Taipei” at athletic events, under a 1981 agreement with the International Olympic Committee has long been contentious, but the debate heated up again on Saturday, when the Taiwan team, baseball officials and fans arrived in Japan for the Premier12 and discovered that Taiwan’s national squad is listed in Spanish as “China Taipei” in the guide.

Critics said it was outrageous for the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) to acquiesce to the designation, as it downgrades Taiwan as part of China.

“We understand that some fans are upset, but ‘China Taipei’ is the Spanish wording for ‘Chinese Taipei.’ That is how it is written and we cannot change it. We just have to accept it,” CTBA secretary-general Richard Lin (林宗成) said.

“It is true that we have faced difficulties internationally, that people thought we are from China. Foreigners have often been confused between Republic of China [ROC] and People’s Republic of China [PRC],” Lin said.

However, many sports fans and netizens drew a connection between the number of CTBA officials and previous chairpersons who are prominent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members or have close links to the party, accusing them of monopolizing the power, privilege and financial resources of baseball in the nation, the country’s most popular sport.

Some fans castigated Lin and other CTBA officials for going along with “China Taipei” without lodging a protest or raising objections, and without trying to have the name changed to “Taiwan” at WBSC meetings.

“Why not just use ‘Taiwan’ for our baseball team? It is simple and makes it very clear of where we come from. Using ‘Chinese Taipei’ and ‘China Taipei’ confuses foreigners. It re-enforces the notion that we are part of China and that people here have no qualms about being known as Chinese, or by the ludicrous name of ‘China Taipei,’ which is not the case for most Taiwanese,” Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Lau Yi-te said yesterday.

Taiwan Republic Campaign Taipei director Lai Fu-jung (賴富榮) said the CTBA should be abolished.

“The CTBA is tightly controlled by the KMT for its private profit, which has gone on for many decades. The sports community and officials, with the support of the public, should start a new official body for conducting baseball affairs with the WBSC and other countries, and call it the Taiwan Baseball Association,” Lai said.

Taiwan are one of the six squads advancing to the Premier12 Super Round in Japan. The first round was played last week in Taiwan.

Taiwan are to play Mexico at noon today in the Super Round opener at the Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, followed by Japan against Australia at 7pm, while South Korea and the US are to face off at the Tokyo Dome at 7pm.

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