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IOC puts foot down on idea of changing Taiwan's Olympic name

2018/05/19 21:24:45

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has informed Taiwan that it will not approve any change to the name Taiwan uses to participate in the Olympic Games, a Taiwanese Olympic official said Saturday.

Jacqueline Yi-ting Shen (沈依婷), the secretary-general of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC), announced the news a day after IOC executive board member Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國) said the chances of the country attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as "Taiwan" were low.

Taiwan currently competes in the Olympics and other major sports events under the name "Chinese Taipei," but several groups in January called for it to use its own name at the 2020 Tokyo Games, and they have advocated that a referendum be held to decide the issue.

Shen said the IOC previously voiced its concern on the issue, but the CTOC responded that referendums are a normal part of democracies, and that a referendum on a name change would be initiated by the public and not involve the committee in any way.

According to Shen, IOC President Thomas Bach has kept close tabs on the situation, and called a meeting of its executive board on May 2, when it presumably decided that the IOC would not approve any name change.

Shen said that after the CTOC received a letter from the IOC on May 5 informing it of the decision, it then forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Education and the Sports Administration it oversees, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Cabinet agencies.

She underscored that the referendum is not something the CTOC is advocating or can intervene in, and the body decided to forward the letter for relevant government agencies to address.

Wu, who has been Taiwan's representative in the IOC since 1988, said Friday that the chances of competing under the name Taiwan were slim, and he argued that Taiwan should respect the Lausanne Agreement that allowed Taiwanese athletes back into the Olympic games under the name "Chinese Taipei."

Wu said the most important thing is to guarantee the country's athletes' right to compete, and when they do well, people will naturally acknowledge Taiwan.

(By Lee Chin-wei and Kuan-lin Liu)