Canada’s TSN displays Taiwan flag on Olympic medal table

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Canada’s Taiwanese community has been heartened to see Canada’s largest sports channel displaying Taiwan’s national flag on its online medal count.

Canada’s The Sports Network (TSN) on its online medal table is currently displaying Taiwan’s official national flag next to its Olympic team name Chinese Taipei, rather than the white Olympic banner. Radio Free Asia cited Taiwanese-born Canadian citizen, Charlie Wu (吳權益), managing director of the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association (ASCEA), as observing that many international media outlets have “rectified” the name for Taiwan in Olympic coverage.

He noted that both Japan’s NHK and France’s L’Équipe refers to the Olympic team as Taiwan on their medal charts, with the latter also including Taiwan’s national banner. Wu asserted that the fact that these media outlets, along with others in South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland, are referring to the team as “Taiwan” demonstrates that the international community is less concerned about “giving China face” and are no longer willing to go along with communist country’s “falsehoods.”

Wu pointed out that many of Taiwan’s athletes do not live in Taipei at all. “Therefore, this Chinese Taipei name can’t represent this group of people who go to the competition, and it can’t represent all people on the island.” He then asked, “Why do you insist on putting this name on this group of people?”

The managing director said that in the past, other countries had their own concepts of Taiwan’s status but had not expressed them. “Now they only want to do what they think is right,” concluded Wu.

Canada’s clash with Taiwan over Montreal 1976 Olympics

The Republic of China (Taiwan) first competed in the Olympics in 1932, but in 1975, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) applied to participate in the games and insisted that the Republic of China be decertified in the process. Days before the start of the 1976 Montreal Games, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) initially refused to allow the Republic of China to participate because his country only recognized the PRC.

Trudeau later suggested that the Republic of China compete as “Taiwan” as a compromise. However, the Republic of China government refused his terms at the time and boycotted the games.

Taiwan was not allowed back into the Olympics until the International Olympic Committee passed the so-called Nagoya Resolution in Nagoya, Japan, in 1979, dictating that Taiwan use the ambiguous name “Chinese Taipei” but not its national flag or anthem.

Huang wins 1st Olympic boxing medal in Taiwan’s history

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Flyweight boxer Huang Hsiao-wen (黃筱雯) will bring home the bronze, the first in Taiwan’s history, but will not be able to contend for the gold after losing a hard-fought bout against her Turkish opponent Buse Naz Cakiroglu.

In the first round of the semifinals of the women’s flyweight boxing category of the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 4), 2nd-ranked Cakiroglu used her speed advantage to quickly score points and get out of harm’s way when Huang tried to counterattack. All five judges gave the first round to Cakiroglu with straight 10s, while Huang received 9s.

Huang lands punch on Cakiroglu. (Reuters photo)

Knowing she had to make up for lost ground, Huang came out swinging in the second round and managed to score more points. Although two judges gave her a 10 for her increased aggression, Cakiroglu still won the round.

In the third round, Huang continued to try to close the distance and land straight shots but was often met with counter punches from Cakiroglu. At one point, Huang was able to knock down her opponent with a solid right cross, but it was not enough to sway the judges.

Huang punches Cakiroglu with left hand as she parries with her right. (CNA photo)

Huang again lost the round and thus the match with a final score of 0:5. In order to reduce unnecessary injuries to competitors, the Olympic boxing competition does not require boxers to fight for the bronze medal and instead awards two of them.

Therefore, Huang has officially earned a bronze medal, a first for Taiwan. With Huang’s accomplishment, The country’s medal count now rises to 11, including two golds, four silvers, and five bronzes, more than doubling its previous medal tallies at the Sydney and Athens Olympics.

Huang lands solid right cross on Cakiroglu’s face. (CNA photo)

Taiwan’s medal haul spurs push to change Olympic name

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TAIPEI – Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin became household names in Taiwan on Sunday when they won the island’s first ever Olympic gold medal in badminton – a victory made sweeter as the male duo’s opponents were from China.

The historic victory was followed by another first when host Japan played the “national flag anthem” of the Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known, as the duo stood atop the podium. Lee then took to Facebook to ecstatically post, “I am Lee Yang. I am a proud Kinmen (islander). I am a proud Taiwanese” alongside a photo of his moment of victory.

While this was a taboo statement for many Taiwanese athletes and celebrities who hope to get lucrative endorsements from Chinese companies, Yang was airing feelings of national pride shared by many of his generation who see themselves as a unique nationality.

Taiwanese athletes have been forced to compete without the ROC flag or an anthem at the Olympics for the past 40 years, and under the name of “Chinese Taipei.”

“Internally, Taiwanese people are well aware of the difference between ‘Chinese Taipei’ (Zhonghua dui) and ‘China’ (Zhongguo dui), so I would not say the athletes think they are competing under another name,” said Daniel Yu-Kuei Sun, a lecturer at Towson University whose research includes transnationalism in Taiwanese athletes.

Zhongguo typically refers to China, while Zhonghua is more ambiguous term that refers to the “Chinese nation,” which exists as an ethnic identity beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China.

“That being said,” Sun added. “It is true there is a growing sense of Taiwanese consciousness in recent years as more and more people prefer to identify themselves as Taiwanese instead of Chinese, or both, especially among the younger generation.”

Kuo Hsing-Chun and Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan hold the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. © Reuters

Taiwan’s remarkable showing at the Tokyo Olympics, where it has so far doubled its previous record by landing 11 medals, as of Thursday, has brought the name compromise back into the limelight. Even Japanese broadcaster NHK referred to the island’s Olympic team as simply “Taiwan” in its commentary for the opening ceremony.

Whether this will herald any long term changes for Taiwan, however, is still a big question mark, said Lev Nachman, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard’s Fairbanks Center. A national referendum on Taiwan’s Olympic name narrowly failed in 2018, and if it were to win there are still questions as to whether Taiwan would rather be known as the Republic of China or simply “Taiwan.”

That has not stopped legendary Taiwanese Olympian Chi Cheng to announce she would launch another referendum this week to change Taiwan’s team name ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, according to local media.

The International Olympic Committee, however, has told Taiwan’s Olympic Committee that it could face consequences if it were to change its name. Past disagreements over Taiwan’s name led its team to boycott both the 1976 and 1980 Olympics before its then one-party state agreed on Chinese Taipei.

Taiwan would also have to contend with potential future pressure from China, whose government has been fairly restrained during the current Olympic Games and nods here and there to Taiwan’s identity, said Tai Wei Lim, an adjunct research fellow at the National University of Singapore.

“China wants a smooth transition from the Japanese hosts of the summer games to the winter games,” he said, which they will host in Beijing next year.

Beijing 2022 is already controversial as Western parliamentarians have called for a boycott due to China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and its ongoing crackdown on human rights in Hong Kong. Stirring up the Tokyo Olympics, however, could push Japan into that camp as well.

“Beijing does not want to add Japan to the list of what it considered as anti-Winter Olympics Western bloc,” he said. “[China] is the host next year and does not want to appear negative in legitimate sports achievements This is in the arena of soft cultural power projection. Any side that appears negative about legitimate sports achievement will lose out,” Lim said.

Beijing, however, is unlikely to stay so restrained should Taiwan change its name for the 2022 or 2024 Games.

China Inc. and the country’s netizens could also step in to take the place of the government, as well, to silence any support for Team Taiwan. During the Tokyo games, Taiwanese actress Dee Hsu has already lost four endorsement deals from Chinese companies for using the phrase “national athletes” to refer to the Chinese Taipei team in an Instagram post.

Suggesting that Taiwan is a nation or independent country is taboo for global celebrities, brands if they wish to remain in the Chinese market, as Beijing claims the 23-million-strong democracy as its own.