Taiwan rejects Olympic name change by China

July 10th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Taipei, July 10 (DPA) Taiwan Thursday rejected as “unacceptable” China’s use of a controversial Olympic title for Taipei that suggests the island is a Chinese territory. “It is highly unacceptable and improper for the mainland to make that reference. Chinese-Taipei is Chinese-Taipei and it is never China’s Taipei,” said Henry Chen, spokesman of Taiwan’s foreign ministry.

His comment came after Beijing said Wednesday it is a common practice within the mainland for Taiwan to be referred as “China’s Taipei,” and it does not necessarily mean belittling the island.

In their reference of Taiwan’s official Olympic title, Chinese news media and civic groups have identified the island as “China’s Taipei,” rather than the official “Chinese-Taipei” registered by Taiwan as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Taiwan was allowed to use the name “Chinese-Taipei” to join the global sports body after it withdrew from the United Nations in 1971. For the island, the word “Chinese” means Chinese ethnicity rather than China.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949. Beijing, however, has considered Taiwan an integral part of China, and the two sides improved ties only recently following Ma Ying-jeou of China-friendly Nationalist Party or Kuomintang was elected president in March.

Yang Yi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China’s State Council, explained that the press centre of Beijing Olympics has followed the IOC’s rule in addressing the island as “Chinese-Taipei,” but it has no power to forbid Chinese media from using the designation “China’s Taipei” in referring to Taiwan as it has been their common practice in calling the island for years.

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