An interdepartmental response team would be monitoring the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Saturday to see whether China tries to downgrade Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said.
“China’s United Front Work Department has not performed outstandingly in the past three years, so it would not come as a surprise to anyone if the agency makes a move this year when an the opportunity presents itself,” Chiu said in a recent interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).
Last year, China listed Taiwan as part of its territory in the Asian Games Sport Technical Handbook, he said.
“The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee then lodged a protest against China for saying that Taiwan is a Chinese island through the mechanism stipulated by the International Olympics Committee (IOC). Knowing that it could not win the argument, Beijing then removed the statement from Asian Games’ official Web site and handbook,” he said.
Before last year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, Taiwanese speed skater Huang Yu-ting (黃郁婷) sparked controversy by wearing the uniform of the Chinese speed skating team during practice, Chiu said.
“The Sports Administration and Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee have corresponding measures for situations that could occur before and during the international competition. The Sports Administration is to remind athletes that they represent Taiwan and should take heed of the country’s national image. Our national Olympic committee would also report any incident that contravenes IOC regulations,” Chiu said.
The government has communicated with countries that are friendly to Taiwan in the hope that they would side with Taiwan when China engages in actions that contradict the spirit of the Games, Chiu said.
On Saturday, an interdepartmental response team would closely watch the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, Chiu said, adding that the team would ensure that it can quickly contact the leaders of the Taiwanese delegation and give instructions instantly should any unexpected situation happen.
“We cannot know what China might do until the day of the opening ceremony. For example, the response team would decide if members should still participate in the opening ceremony if China announces the delegation’s name as ‘Taiwan, China,’” Chiu said.
The Sports Administration said that Taiwan participates in the Asian Games in the same way as it participates in the Olympic Games.
“To avoid our status as a nation from being downgraded, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee would engage in goodwill communications with its counterpart in China to ensure that our athletes have no problem competing in the Asian Games and return home safely,” the administration said.
The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were postponed last year due to COVID-19, are to be held from Saturday to Oct. 8, with 521 Taiwanese athletes competing in 33 of 40 sports categories.
The cumulative number of gold medals Taiwan has won at the Asian Games could reach 100 this year.
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