By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter
The nation should be referred to as “Taiwan,” not “Chinese Taipei,” at international sporting events, a range of Taiwanese independence groups said yesterday, unfurling huge banners outside the Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） headquarters in Taipei in a bid to raise international awareness.
Hundreds of people affiliated with the Taiwan Radical Wings party, the People Rule Foundation, the World United Formosans for Independence and other groups opened massive banners reading “Taiwan is not Chinese Taipei” and “Let Taiwan be Taiwan” in English, while shouting “Go Team Taiwan” in English, Mandarin and Hoklo （commonly known as Taiwanese）.
“Last month, we realized that the Universiade was coming up, and Taiwan was going to be faced with using ‘Chinese Taipei’ again, which is extremely sad, because ‘Team Taiwan’ is what we really want to be cheering,” said Taiwan Radical Wings deputy head Joyce Lin （林春妙）, who served as the spokesperson for yesterday’s Taiwan Name Rectification Action Working Group.
Videos of the unfurling are to be published online in English, French, Spanish, Norwegian and other languages “to show the world that Taiwan does not want to use ‘Chinese Taipei,’” she said.
The Summer Universiade is scheduled to begin on Saturday, but has drawn controversy domestically over requirements that the nation be officially referred to as “Chinese Taipei” following a 1979 International Olympic Committee resolution allowing for the nation’s continued participation in international sporting events.
Additional controversy over the name erupted yesterday after the English version of an official Universiade brochure was found to have used the name to replace geographical references to Taiwan before being corrected by the Taipei City Government.
“The incident was extremely humiliating for Taiwan, because the city government should not have had to wait until being criticized to change this, but it definitely helps people see that there are forces trying to keep us from using ‘Taiwan,’ which underscores the importance of today’s action,” Lin said.
The group is to distribute a Taiwanese flag popular among independence groups outside of competition venues and collect signatures for a petition to rectify the name for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she said.
They had chosen not to protest outside event venues because they do not want to create a disturbance, instead organizing yesterday’s event as an alternative, said Alliance for Safeguarding Taiwan member Jimmy Chen （陳政德）, a key organizer in bringing the groups together.
“Taiwanese have spent NT$20 billion [US$658.8 million] to invite the world’s premier college athletes and international media to come to Taiwan. We hope that they feel at home and leave with a great impression, but what is tragic and what we are worried about is that under the rules, they might not even know their host’s real name,” he said.
While Lin and other key volunteers were all members of Taiwan Radical Wings, which aligned with the Taiwan Solidarity Union to compete against the DPP in the last legislative election, they were careful to define the event as an “action” rather than a “protest” directed at the DPP, despite its location.
“We want to speak to all Taiwanese and the entire world, not just the DPP,” Lin said, adding that the DPP had opened the upper floors of its headquarters to allow people to take overhead pictures.
Participant Lu Mei-ju （盧美如） said she came because she hoped Taiwanese could “hold their heads high” and walk out from under Chinese restrictions while participating in international society.
However, she also expressed regret over the lack of participation by young people in yesterday’s event.
“I did not think that the majority of participants would be older,” she said. “Taiwan’s future is in the hands of young people, but it seems that old people are helping them defend and preserve their future.”
Members of several pro-Taiwanese independence groups yesterday stage a protest in front of the Democratic Progressive Party’s headquarters in Taipei, demanding that Taiwan participate in international events as “Taiwan,” not “Chinese Taipei.” Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Members of several pro-Taiwanese independence groups yesterday hold huge banners during a protest in front of the Democratic Progressive Party’s headquarters in Taipei, demanding that Taiwan participate in international events as “Taiwan,” not “Chinese Taipei.” Photo courtesy of Taiwan Radical Wings