IOC reaffirms stance on Taiwan's name change proposal

11/18/2018 09:28 PM
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Kao Chin-hsung (高俊雄, left), head of the Sports Administration / CNA file photo
Kao Chin-hsung (高俊雄, left), head of the Sports Administration / CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 18 (CNA) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) reiterated its position on the possibility of Taiwan changing its name from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, indicating that any external interference could be considered a violation of the Olympic Charter rules and result in Taiwan losing its Olympic membership.

In a letter sent to the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) and Kao Chin-hsung (高俊雄), head of the Sports Administration, on Friday, the IOC said that it does not interfere with local referendum procedures and fully respects freedom of expression.

However, to avoid any unnecessary expectations or speculation, the IOC wishes to reiterate that this matter falls under its jurisdiction in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

The IOC letter came as a national referendum on whether Taiwan should apply to participate in all international sporting events, including the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, using the name "Taiwan?."

The referendum will be held alongside the Nov. 24 local government elections.

The name of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) is currently determined by the agreement signed between the CTOC and the IOC in 1981. Any change to the name of the CTOC/delegation is subject to the approval of the IOC Executive Board in accordance with the Olympic Charter, according to the IOC letter.

The IOC Executive Board has already examined this situation at its meeting on May 2-3 meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland and decided to reconfirm the IOC's position and not approve any change to the name of the CTOC.

The IOC said that any attempt to exercise undue pressure on the CTOC to breach the 1981 agreement and/or act against the decision of the ICC Executive Board would be considered an external interference, which could expose CTOC to the protective measures set out in the Olympic Charter in these circumstances (Rule 27.9 in particular).

Rule 27.9 of the Olympic Charter allows the IOC's ruling Executive Board to "take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic Movement in the country of a National Olympic Committee (NOC), including suspension of or withdrawal of recognition" from such a NOC.

Therefore, the IOC is hoping that the interests of the Olympic Movement in Chinese Taipei will prevail over political considerations, so as not to disrupt the CTOC delegation and the athletes in their preparation for upcoming international sporting events, and to avoid any unnecessary complication.

This was the third letter on the issue sent by the IOC to the CTOC since May.

In a May 4 letter, the IOC said that the name "Chinese Taipei" cannot be changed, because it was determined by an agreement between the two committees in Lausanne in 1981.

The IOC wrote a letter Oct. 16 to the CTOC seeking information about the country's referendum procedure on the name change proposal.

In response, the CTOC said Sunday it will abide by relevant rules of the Olympic Charter.

(By Lung Po-an and Evelyn Kao)


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