Why isn’t Taiwan called that at the Olympics?

Olympic athletes are known under the name of "Chinese Taipei". In international competitions, the organizers avoid the appeal "Taiwan"much to the frustration of many Taiwanese.

These are the reasons:

private status

The manner in which Taiwan is represented at the Olympic Games has varied greatly over the years, due to its particular international status.

Despite the fact that the island of 23 million people is democratically governed, with its own borders and its own currency, Taiwan’s status finds no consensus.

Taiwan and the Mainland have been governed separately since the Communist takeover in Beijing in 1949 and the Nationalist government’s flight to Taiwan. The Chinese communist regime considers the island as one of its provinces, destined to return to its territory, albeit by force.

Beijing accuses Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of seeking formal independence for the island, something unacceptable to the communist leadership. Tsai refuses to recognize the Principle of the unique China (One china policy) by which the island and the Continent would form part of a single country.

Only fifteen states in the world recognize the government of Taiwan to the detriment of Beijing.

"Chinese Taipei"  

The use of the name "Chinese Taipei" by the local committee rests on a compromise concluded in 1981 with the IOC to allow Taiwan to participate on the international stage without presenting itself as a sovereign nation.

Instead of Taiwan’s red and blue flag, Taiwanese athletes must participate with the "plum blossom banner"a white flag bearing the Olympic rings.

The national anthem of the territory is prohibited, the athletes recover their medal to the sound of a traditional flag-raising song.

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Critics find this appeal humiliating, noting that other contested or unrecognized places, such as Palestine, can use their own name and flag at the Olympics.

distinct identity

More and more voices are raised for the Taiwan appeal to be authorized, although previous Taiwanese governments opposed it.

Since the 1990s, the island has gone from a dictatorship to one of the most progressive democracies in Asia.

A distinct Taiwanese identity has emerged, particularly among the younger generations.

A lost referendum on changing the name of "Chinese Taipei" was organized in 2018, prompting warnings from the IOC and Beijing.

Current President Tsai Ing-wen regards Taiwan as a sovereign nation and is pushing for the name "Taiwan" be used.

Four representatives in Beijing-2022

A small delegation of four Taiwanese athletes will take part in the 2022 Games, hosted by Beijing this year, at a time when relations between Taiwan and China are at their worst in many years.

At a press conference last week, a Chinese spokesman referred to the territory under the name of "zhongguo taipei"literally "Chinese, Taipei".

This minuscule semantic nuance made the Taiwanese Affairs Council, the island’s main decision-making body on Chinese policy, react strongly, exhorting the Continent not to cross certain limits.

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