The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday said it was deeply disappointed that 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar changed Taiwan’s name on an online application form for the soccer tournament.
It accused China of forcing the change, which it said belittles Taiwan’s sovereignty.
It is “extremely regrettable” that Qatar had changed Taiwan’s name to “Chinese Taipei” on a dropdown menu on a Web site to apply for the Persian Gulf state’s hayya card, which is required of all World Cup spectators, the ministry said.
“We express deep regret over the Qatar World Cup organizers’ failure to resist improper interferences by political powers,” ministry deputy spokesman Tsuei Ching-lin (崔靜麟) told a news conference.
“The foreign ministry again condemns the Chinese government’s bullying ... and its political manipulation of international sports events,” Tsuei said.
“Chinese Taipei” is the name used by Taiwan in major international sports events, including FIFA, because it cannot use its official name, the Republic of China, due to opposition from Beijing.
The dropdown menu originally listed Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China,” which implied that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The name was last week changed to “Taiwan” following protests from the ministry, which thanked Qatar for safeguarding the rights of Taiwanese soccer fans.
However, the name was changed again, this time to “Chinese Taipei.”
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文彬) on Monday expressed his appreciation for the Qatari government’s “commitment to the ‘one China’ principle and its handling of the issue in line with the established practice of international sports events.”
The PRC sees itself as the sole legitimate government representing China on the world stage, with Taiwan being part of China, and not a legitimate state.
Like most countries in the world, Qatar has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan and instead recognizes the PRC.
The ministry criticized Beijing for repeatedly belittling Taiwan’s sovereignty based on the “fictional one China principle” to create the illusion that Taiwan is part of the PRC in the international arena.
The ministry in a press release condemned the Chinese government while reiterating that the PRC has never ruled Taiwan.
It pledged to continue to engage in talks with the nation’s soccer association and FIFA World Cup organizers to find alternatives that can both safeguard Taiwanese fans’ right to visit Qatar for the event while upholding the nation’s sovereignty.
The hayya fan identification card serves as an entry visa for ticket holders to the World Cup, which is to be held in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.
It would be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world, and the second in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.
Additional reporting by AFP
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