Groups urge changing name of Olympic team

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Groups urge changing name of Olympic team

‘TEAM TAIWAN’: Taiwanese athletes have performed admirably and raised the nation’s profile, but many abroad still think they are Chinese, an advocate said

By Jason Pan / Staff reporter

Advocacy groups have called for the national team to compete under the name “Taiwan” at the Tokyo Olympics, while former Olympian Chi Cheng (紀政) has launched another referendum petition on the issue.

Taiwanese athletes have performed outstandingly at the Olympics and have raised the nation’s profile on the world stage, Northern Taiwan Society chairman Lee Chuan-hsin (李川信) said on Friday.

“Many foreign news agencies, including Japan’s NHK, have called our delegation ‘Taiwan’ instead of ‘Chinese Taipei.’ Therefore our own people and politicians should also speak of ‘Team Taiwan’ and Taiwanese athletes,” he said.

Olympic bronze medalist and National Policy Adviser to the President Chi Cheng, third left, speaks at a public hearing discussing Taiwan’s bid to participate in international sports events under the name “Taiwan” in Taipei in 2018. Photo: CNA

“However, in Taiwan, most of the time the Taiwanese team is still referred to as Team Zhonghua (中華, Chinese). We see the medal-winning athletes returning home and holding media briefings at the airport without any wording, symbols or logos to represent Taiwan,” he added.

The advocates released a joint statement, expressing their gratitude to the international community for supporting the nation’s athletes, but added that “it shows the need to avoid a mix-up, as some have mistaken Taiwanese athletes as coming from China.”

“Therefore we are organizing the ‘Call Us Team Taiwan, Let’s Go Taiwan’ drive, and we urge people to join us,” the statement said.

The drive urges people to produce their own “Call Us Team Taiwan” posters, sign boards and adverts to show the world they feel proud to support Taiwanese athletes.

The groups also called on Taiwanese politicians and public figures to support “Team Taiwan,” and not to refer to it as “Chinese Taipei” anymore.

Among the groups promoting the drive are the Taiwan Society, the Asia-Pacific Liberal Women Association and the Taiwan Association of University Professors, as well overseas organizations, including the All Japan Taiwanese Union, the Friends of Taiwan Association Japan, the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations and the Taiwanese Association of America.

Meanwhile, Chi has this week announced that she would launch another referendum campaign next year to rectify the national team’s name by changing it to “Team Taiwan,” adding that she aims to have the proposed referendum ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Taiwanese do not want the athletes representing their nation to be called ‘Chinese Taipei’ when they are competing or walking to the podium to receive an Olympic medal,” said Chi, who competed in three Olympic Games: Rome in 1960, Tokyo in 1964 and Mexico in 1968.

Chi was among the leading advocates of a referendum in 2018 that called for changing the national team’s name to “Team Taiwan” for the Tokyo Olympics.

At the time, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee asked people to vote “no,” saying that the nation’s athletes cannot go abroad to compete under the name “Taiwan” and it would ruin their careers.

The 2018 referendum asked: “Do you agree that the nation should apply under the name of ‘Taiwan’ for all international sports events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?”

It garnered 5,774,556 “no” votes (52.3 percent) and 4,763,086 “yes” votes (43.1 percent).

Czech gold for future generations?

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Jilove u Prahy is a picturesque town with almost 5,000 inhabitants and a great many historical monuments. This region, along the River Sazava, a tributary of the Vltava near Prague, is a popular recreational area for citizens of the Czech capital.

In the 14th century, Jilove u Prahy was the third-most-important town in the kingdom of Bohemia, after Prague and Kutna Hora, and its population was more than double that of today. Back then, King Charles IV of Bohemia (1355-1378) was Holy Roman Emperor, and during his reign Jilove was the empire’s most important source of gold.

“A large part of the city of Prague was built from the proceeds of gold mining, including some of the buildings of Charles University that still stand today,” says Sarka Jurinova, director of the Regional Museum in Jilove u Prahy, which houses a large exhibition on gold mining.

“We’re probably the only museum where your admission ticket entitles you to take home gold you’ve panned yourself,” she quips, pointing to a pool of water in the courtyard. Visitors can prospect in the sand at the bottom, and whatever tiny pieces of gold they find belong to them.

“There are about 7 tons of gold under and around Jilove,” the museum’s geologist, Jan Vana, tells DW. Although mining ended in 1968, Vana says there were times when some of the shafts would yield as much as 4 grams of gold, or about 1/8 ounce, per metric ton of rock. This would make gold mining a profitable operation, despite the drastic drop in gold prices in 2013.

“The problem is that Jilove is in a recreational area,” Vana explains. “Without the use of toxic cyanide, the yield would be low.”

Nonetheless, many locals would like to return to the days when gold was mined in Jilove. “Then we could buy Czech gold instead of importing it from South Africa,” one elderly local woman says.

Nuggets the size of handballs

The mining tradition was kept alive in Jilove decades after the mines themselves had closed. “In 2018, when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of mining, the last few former miners came and gathered here,” says Sarka Jurinova, standing in front of a mining car, one of the exhibits in the museum. An inscription informs us that there is sufficient gold in the lumps of rock in the wagon to produce a wedding ring.

In the past, however, gold nuggets weighing several kilograms were found beneath Jilove. One specimen, the size of a handball, is on display in the Jilove Regional Museum.

The museum offers tours of several of the former shafts — although no one in Jilove is seeking to revive the mining industry today. “People do still try and prospect gold in the sand along the tributaries of the River Sazava,” Jurinova points out.

Czech Republic’s gold resources

There are recoverable gold deposits in several places of the Czech Republic. A conservative estimate suggests that it would be possible to mine around 400 metric tons of gold there. At current prices, that would yield about 500 billion Czech crowns — the equivalent of €20 billion, or almost $24 million.

Since 1990, there have been several attempts to resume gold mining, but all have failed due to lack of interest from the state along with resistance from residents in affected localities.

Last year, the state mining company Diamo launched a survey of closed gold mines in Zlate Hory in the north of the Czech Republic. “The geological survey will last three years, and the results will be used to determine the conditions under which the gold deposit near Zlate Hory can be exploited,” Ludvik Kaspar, the director of Diamo, told the Czech news agency CTK.

Mining yes, cyanide no

“The study should provide the government with up-to-date information on the possibility of exploiting gold reserves and their concomitants,” Stepanka Filipova, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the high-circulation daily MF Dnes. Here, too, several tons of gold are said to lie buried underground.

“I will make the case for the project to resume mining to go ahead,” Czech president Milos Zeman told CTK some years ago.

With the Zlate Hory mine, the assumption is that, if mining is resumed, the gold-bearing rock would be sent abroad for further processing, meaning that no extraction of gold involving highly toxic cyanide would be done in the Czech Republic.

Mining not yet profitable

In the Czech Republic, gold mining would be profitable with the use of cyanide, but without cyanide its profitability is questionable.

But for Richard Brabec, the current environment minister, renouncing cyanide is an essential requirement for the resumption of gold mining in the Czech Republic.

“For us, it is absolutely inconceivable and unacceptable that gold mining should in future be done by leaching — that is, by chemical processing,” Brabec said on Czech television. “The only other option is deep mining,” he continued, referring to mining involving shafts sunk 1.5 kilometers or nearly a mile below ground.

“But I hope that gold will remain hidden underground as the riches of our country for decades to come,” Brabec concluded.

However, Czech economist Lukas Kovanda, a member of the government’s National Economic Council in Prague, believes the lack of haste in the resumption of gold mining reflects mainly economic factors.

“Gold mining is not yet profitable again, so no one is in a hurry to resume it,” Kovanda told DW. “If things were different, they would have started mining gold again in the Czech Republic long ago.”

Czech Republic: lithium superpower?

The example of lithium, often referred to as “white gold,” is illuminating. In recent years, large lithium deposits were discovered near Cinovec in the Ore Mountains, close to the border with Saxony in Germany. It is estimated to be the largest lithium deposit in Europe, with about 60% on the Czech side of the border and about 40% on the German side.

In March, Karel Havlicek, Czech deputy prime minister and minister of industry and trade, announced that with the help of the partly state-owned energy company CEZ, he had succeeded in gaining control over mining in the majority of the Czech Republic’s deposits.

A CEZ spokesperson, Roman Gazdik, told the online portal of the MF Dnes newspaper that mining could start in 2025, after which it would be possible to mine 1.8 million metric tons of lithium ore per year.

An estimated 4% of the world’s lithium reserves are located in the earth beneath the Czech Republic — 140,000 million metric tons near Cinovec alone. Lithium is a strategic raw material with great potential — among other things, it is needed for the manufacture of batteries.

But lithium mining also presents pollution hazards, so environmental considerations could come into play there as well.

Taiwán sufre 15 terremotos en menos de una hora

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Los temblores son réplicas de movimientos de días anteriores, y dos de ellos han alcanzado los 4,7 grados de magnitud


Taiwán continuó hoy registrando una abundante actividad sísmica en su costa oriental, con 15 terremotos en menos de 50 minutos, informó la Oficina Central de Meteorología de Taiwán (OCMT). La nueva oleada de temblores -dos de los cuales alcanzaron 4,7 grados en la escala local, de 7- comenzó a las 07.05, hora local del viernes (23.05 hora GMT del jueves) y se prolongó durante los 49 minutos siguientes, según la información disponible en la página web del departamento sismológico de la OCMT. Por el momento, la prensa local no ha informado de víctimas a raíz de estos sismos, que se registraron en un radio de hasta 5,8 kilómetros en torno a la localidad de Hualien, en el este de la isla.

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Estas réplicas se han producido dos días después de que, este miércoles, el país asiático registrara una treintena de temblores -uno de hasta 5,2 grados en la escala local- en cinco horas en la misma ubicación. Estos a su vez fueron réplicas de los acontecidos los pasados días 7 y 8, según el subdirector del departamento sismológico de la OCMT, Wu Jianfu, quien alertó de que es posible que se sigan sucediendo temblores similares en las próximas semanas.

Taiwán se asienta en la confluencia de las placas filipina y eurasiática, por lo que los terremotos son frecuentes en la isla.