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London Olympic officials apologize over ROC flag seizure

2012/08/10 13:51:55

London, Aug. 9 (CNA) London Olympic officials have apologized over the rude seizure of a Republic of China national flag at the women's under 57-kilogram taekwondo event Thursday, Taiwan's representative to the United Kingdom said Friday.

The incident occurred at the end of the bronze-medal match between Taiwan's Tseng Lin-cheng and Suvi Mikkonen of Finland, in which Tseng eventually beat her rival to clinch bronze, Taiwan's second medal at the Summer Games.

To celebrate Tseng's victory, a Taiwanese man waved a large ROC flag, but it was snatched from his hands by a member of the venue's security staff.

Representative Shen Lyushun, who witnessed the scene, told CNA that he was very surprised at the way the security officer handled the matter, and he acted immediately to protest to Olympic officials at the venue.

The security officer should have told the man to stop waving the flag instead of seizing it directly, according to Shen.

After reviewing video taken at the scene, the Olympic officials agreed that the action was improper and offered an apology, Shen said.

He said although he accepted the oral apology, he insisted there should be a written apology from the Olympic organizers over the incident.

Due to Beijing's opposition, Taiwan competes in the Olympics and other international sporting events under the official moniker "Chinese Taipei," and uses the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag in place of its national flag.

The model was established based on an agreement signed in 1981 between Taiwan and the International Olympic Committee.

Taiwan recently reached an understanding with organizers of the London Olympics to allow spectators to bring small ROC flags into venues.

Many Taiwanese spectators, however, have ignored the restriction.

Wu Mei-ying, a Taiwan national who works in South Korea, came all the way to London to cheer on Taiwan with a large ROC flag.

"I don't care if I get kicked out," Wu said.

Liu Yi-ching, meanwhile, said she has waved a large national flag at almost every event in which a Taiwanese athlete has participated.

"It certainly is more exciting to wave a large national flag," she said.

According to Shen, the 1981 agreement does not include a ban on ROC flag displays by spectators, and rules should be set down for people to follow.

(By Jennifer Huang, Lung Po-an and Y.F. Low)