One thing we don’t understand is why the Olympic torch relay through Taiwan should be an issue.<> The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the Olympics organizing committee in Beijing were agreed that the torch would enter from a third country and then leave for Hong Kong.<> That should have settled once and for all a stupid political entanglement vis-à-vis the passage through Taiwan of the torch, to which all our athletes and sport enthusiasts look forward.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party is calling halt at the last minute.<> It insists that the torch has to depart for a third country, not Hong Kong or Macao which is part of Chinese territory.<> The rationale is that Taiwan is relegated to the status of a province of China, if the torch enters China from Taiwan through the former British or Portuguese colony.<> That means the government has to ban the torch relay through Taiwan, if the International Olympic Committee decides on the route as was agreed upon between the Taipei committee and the organizers of the 2008 summer games.<> The IOC will have to make a decision in a few days.
DPP leaders want Taiwan to boycott the Beijing Olympics, if and when we are required to send the torch to Hong Kong.<> They are politicizing sports, just like Chinese leaders in Beijing.<>
So far as the IOC is concerned, Taiwan does not take part in the Olympiad as a country.<> Taiwan is participating as the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.<> That was decided in 1981 with the Republic of China Olympic Committee signing an agreement with the IOC.<> We have taken part in the Olympic Games since 1984 under that very strange name.<> But what is called the Olympic formula for the “rectification of names” has worked to solve the name issues involving our participation in the World Trade Organization, the Asian Development Bank, and a number of other international bodies.<>
To put it simply, no dignity of Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state is sullied by whatever route the IOC may decide.<> To think it does is verging on paranoia.<> No one in Taiwan – except, of course, those paranoiac politicians and their supporters – thinks the DPP government is defending the dignity of the country by banning the Olympic torch relay.<> The whole world simply doesn’t care if Taiwan boycotts the Being Olympics. A boycott will serve only to deprive Taiwan of a very good chance to show the world what its athletes can do in international competition.