Members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday collected signatures on the streets of Taipei to petition for changing the name of the nation’s sports team from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan,” joining a Japanese-launched initiative calling for Taiwan’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 under the name “Taiwan.”
The Tokyo-based Taiwan 2020 Campaign Council has collected nearly 100,000 signatures to petition the Japanese parliament to allow the nation’s national team to join the Tokyo Olympics under the name, the TSU said.
“Taiwanese should be ashamed that such a name rectification campaign was launched by Japanese, while Taiwanese have done little to promote the cause,” TSU Deputy Secretary-General Wang Ming-yuan (王銘源) said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Japanese have organized the campaign, as they realized the need for a Taiwan-Japan alliance as both nations are under threat from China and North Korea, Wang said.
However, the majority of Taiwanese are ignorant of the perilous geopolitics that shape East Asian relations, he added.
The TSU staged a protest in April calling for the name change, but Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu (林德福) said it would be impossible to change the name of national sports teams in the near-term and hardly anything had been done by the government, Wang said.
The TSU decided to join the Japanese initiative with civic campaigns and by collecting signatures from Taiwanese to send to the Japanese parliament, he said.
Following a similar campaign in Tokyo on Aug. 6 organized by the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, the TSU’s campaign was the second rally in a week to urge authorities to drop the name “Chinese Taipei.”
“Chinese Taipei,” a deliberately ambiguous term adopted in 1981, was a wrong decision made by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Wang said.
“The term confuses Taiwan with China, just like the confusion caused by the ‘Republic of China’ and the ‘People’s Republic of China,’” Wang said.
“Taiwan participates in the Olympics with an Olympics-styled flag instead of the national flag. Taiwan is not a second-rate nation and we should campaign for changing the title of national teams in the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
Wang called on ultramarathon runner Kevin Lin (林義傑), who had condemned the critics of “Chinese Taipei” as ignorant of the realpolitik in the realm of international sports, to use his renown to urge the government to push for the name change to boost Taiwan’s international presence.
TSU executive member Huang Shu-chun (黃淑純) said Taiwanese are not Chinese and it is unacceptable for Taiwan’s national teams to carry a flag with the five-ring Olympics logo like the Refugee team.
Council director Nagayama Hideki is to visit Taiwan at the end of this month, during which the TSU is to give him the petitions to be delivered to the Japanese parliament and Japanese Olympic Committee, the TSU said.
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