Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Chi Cheng (紀政), an Olympic medalist and president of the Hope Cultural and Educational Foundation, led a call Monday by several groups for Taiwan to be allowed to compete under its own name at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and said a public referendum should be held on the issue.
Chi, an Olympic bronze medalist in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, raised the issue at a news conference in Taipei, saying that the public should be asked to decide whether the national team should compete under the name "Taiwan" at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other international games.
"As an athlete who has participated in the Olympic Games, I think I'm entitled to share my feelings in this regard," said Chi, who was backed at the press conference by representatives of several pro-independence groups and politicians.
"It's very aggravating, humiliating and depressing to not be able to use our own country's name and national anthem at the Olympic Games," she said, noting that Taiwan is the only one of International Olympic Committee's (IOC) 200-plus members not allowed to do so.
Taiwan's teams and delegations are required to use the name "Chinese Taipei" at international sport meetings, due to its special political status with regard to China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province.
At the press conference, Chang Tsan-hung (張燦鍙), standing director of the Lee Teng-hui Association for Democracy, said it is time to push for a change.
"Taiwan is Taiwan, and there is no country in the world called 'Chinese Taipei,'" said Chang, who is also a co-founder of Team Taiwan Campaign for 2020 Tokyo Olympics (2020東京奧運台灣正名行動聯盟).
"It's time to push the name change through a referendum, given the high degree of social consensus on the issue now and the fact that the threshold for launching a public referendum has been lowered with the passage of the revised Referendum Act," he said.
Shen Ching-kai (沈清楷), convener of the campaign, said that if things go well in the petition stage, the referendum could be initiated in mid-February and held alongside the local government elections at the end of the year.
Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also attended the press conference in support of the name-change proposal.