When it comes to the Olympics, why is Taiwan not called Taiwan?
On Tuesday, Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, yet there was no national flag or national anthem to meet her as she ascended the podium to claim her medal.
Taiwan is not allowed to use the word “Taiwan” during the Games. Instead, it must refer to itself as “Chinese Taipei,” a source of annoyance for many Taiwanese.
This is why:
Because of its unique international prominence, Taiwan has been granted a variety of nicknames during the Olympics over the years.
Taiwan’s status is controversial, despite the fact that it is a self-governing democracy with its own borders, currency, and government.
The losing Nationalists and their Republic of China government retreated to Taiwan after the Chinese civil war concluded in 1949.
On the mainland, Mao’s communist armies established the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of Beijing’s communist leadership. It still sees the island as part of a “one China” and has threatened to take it by force if necessary.
It aims to keep Taipei off the international scene by refusing to use the phrase Taiwan.
Back in 1981, the International Olympic Committee chose this moniker for Taipei (IOC).
It was a compromise that allowed Taiwan to compete in sports without having to depict itself as a sovereign country.
Taiwanese athletes must compete under the “Plum Blossom Banner,” a white banner with the Olympic rings, rather than Taiwan’s red and blue flag.
When athletes reach the top of the podium, a traditional flag-raising song — not Taiwan’s national anthem – is performed.
Other contested or unrecognized places, such as Palestine, are allowed to use their own name and flag at the Olympics, according to critics.
Taiwan and China were both invited to the 1952 Olympics. Both countries claimed to represent China, but Taiwan eventually withdrew.
Taiwan was admitted to the Olympics four years later as “Formosa-China” – Formosa (beautiful) was the moniker given to Taiwan by Portuguese sailors in the sixteenth century.
Beijing boycotted the games and later left the International Olympic Committee.
Taiwan competed in the 1960 Olympics under the name Taiwan at the request of the International Olympic Committee.
However, Taiwan’s authoritarian leadership opposed to that designation, preferring to be known as the Republic of China.
In the 1960s, Taiwan competed in two additional Olympics, including the 1964 Tokyo Games.
More countries began to recognize Beijing diplomatically over Taiwan in the 1970s.
Taiwan competed in the 1972 Olympics as a member of the Asian team. Brief News from Washington Newsday.