Taiwan Rejects China’s Torch Relay Plans

April 26, 2007 at 6:42 pm | Posted in China, 體育, News, Olympics, Politics, Sports, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 奥运, 奧運, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國, 体育 | 4 Comments

olympictorch

Stephen Wade in Beijing, April 26 2007 Yahoo! News/AP

China’s grandiose plans for the torch relay, the high-profile prelude to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, have been engulfed in conflict by an old political rival — Taiwan.

Within hours of Beijing’s announcement Thursday of what would be the longest torch relay in Olympic history — an 85,000-mile, 130-day route that would cross five continents and scale Mount Everest — Taiwan rejected its inclusion.

“It is something that the government and people cannot accept,” Tsai Chen-wei, the head of Taiwan’s Olympic Committee, said in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

The episode underscores the deep mistrust between Beijing and Taipei, antagonists in an unresolved civil war, and how entwined the Olympics become with politics…

“The Beijing 2008 torch relay will, as its theme says, be a journey of harmony, bringing friendship and respect to people of different nationalities, races and creeds,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said at the ceremony. Nevertheless, both Beijing and Taiwan hoped to use the torch relay to bolster political agendas: for Beijing, that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, and for Taiwan that it is independent.

To that end, Taiwan wanted to participate as part of the international route — with the torch entering and departing the island via nations other than China. China would like the island run to be part of the domestic route…

This didn’t come as a surprise to me. On the other hand, I was actually surprised by Taiwan’s original compromise of allowing the torch to leave for Hong Kong or Macao, both of which are PRC held territories. For those who think Taiwan is making a big deal out of nothing and complicating the spirit of the Olympics with politics, think again. With the amount of publicity that comes from hosting the Olympics, it’s obvious which side stands to benefit the most from such an arrangement.

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4 Comments »

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  1. The executive vice-president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Jiang Xiaoyu, said Taiwan’s decision “breached the principle of separating sport from politics as enshrined in the Olympic charter”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6602299.stm#map

    Now look who’s talking…

  2. The dispute over Taiwan’s sovereignty has also spilled over into sports, with China forcing Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China, to change its name in the IOC to Chinese-Taipei and attend international sports events under that name.

    Taiwan finds the name insulting because it implies Taiwan is part of China. But in recent years, China has been seeking to replace Chinese-Taipei with China-Taipei, a play on words with little meaning to foreigners that carries deep meaning for Beijing. While “Chinese” refers to China, Chinese people and everything Chinese, “China” means China as a country. http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=118403

  3. Analysts said Chen might have taken the step to appeal to pro-independence supporters. Beijing says it wants to take the torch through every part of the country, and keeping it out of Taiwan could suggest the island is not part of China.
    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/04/28/ap3664483.html

  4. Taiwan……Bitch! SB


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