Several civic organizations yesterday jointly called for the official title and flag of the nation’s Olympic team to be “corrected,” saying they hope that “Taiwan” will be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Taiwan participates in the Games under the name “Chinese Taipei,” with a flag depicting five rings and a plum blossom, the Republic of China’s national flower.
The flag raised during medal ceremonies at the Olympics does not represent the nation and cannot lead to the normalization of Taiwan’s national identity, the groups said, adding that it should be replaced before the Tokyo Olympics with a flag that represents Taiwan.
“At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Taiwan attended under the title of ‘Formosa,’ but athletes marched behind a self-made banner that read ‘under protest’ at the opening ceremony. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, the International Olympic Committee agreed to use the name ‘Taiwan,’ but Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) flagrantly refused to send athletes to the Games,” Taiwan People News chairman Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興), who launched the campaign, told a news conference in Taipei.
“This type of Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] behavior, according to which ‘gentlemen cannot coexist with thugs,’ should be corrected by the new government, it should push for the nation’s Olympic team to use the title ‘Taiwan,’” Chen said.
Chen said that seeing the five-ring flag reminded him of the refugee team at the Olympics and made him worry that people would mistake Taiwan for a nation of refugees.
“Was the old KMT government a refugee regime?” Chen asked.
“To use the name ‘Chinese Taipei’ is problematic in that it suppresses the dignity of Taiwanese.” New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said.
Even US media outlet CNN reported about Taiwan competing in the Olympics under a different name, Lim said, adding: “Taiwan must seize this opportunity to change its Olympic flag while it can and then raise it at the Olympics one day. The government cannot act like the KMT did in the past, receiving permission from the International Olympic Committee to use the name ‘Formosa’ or ‘Taiwan’ and then protesting and refusing the opportunity.”
“I thank the foreign media for speaking up on behalf of Taiwan and asking why our team is called ‘Chinese Taipei’ and not ‘Taiwan.’ Even foreigners recognize that ‘Chinese Taipei’ is not a nation. This kind of statement accords with universal values,” Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said.
“When we are standing on the podium at Olympic medal ceremonies with the world focused on us, we win cheers and acclaim, but at the same time we lose dignity and lose the nation. Our competitive pride is exchanged for loss of face. We have a medal in our hands, but no honor,” Ketagalan Institute president Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒) said. “Changing our Olympic flag means changing our vow to our athletes. It prepares Taiwan to go into the world.”
In related news, as Japan prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japanese Internet users have been taking to the Web in support of using “Taiwan” as the title of the nation’s Olympic team instead of “Chinese Taipei.”
As of press time last night, 48,903 people had signed a petition at www.change.org, calling for the International Olympic Committee to allow the name change.
The petition organizer’s Web site — www.taiwan2020tokyo.org — says that Taiwan is under pressure from China to use the title “Chinese Taipei” at international sporting events, adding that Taiwan is not a part of China.
The Web site’s founders said that their aim is to have the world become reacquainted with Taiwan and to have the nation take part at the 2020 Olympics under its own name.
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