tirsdag 3. august 2021

Will Taiwan’s Olympic win over China herald the end of ‘Chinese Taipei’?

In the hours between Taiwan winning gold and silver in Olympic badminton on the weekend, local courts in Taipei were packed with enthusiastic young players. The nail-biting matches had lit a fire of sporting patriotism – not least because both were against China, Taiwan’s goliath neighbour, which claims Taiwan as a province it must retake.

The doubles win by Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin was Taiwan’s second gold medal, after Kuo Hsing-Chun won in weightlifting, and added to its biggest medal haul in Olympic history. Taiwan sits 18th in the table. Chinais first. Nevertheless, social media was awash with celebrations.

In a post on Facebook, Lee dedicated the win to “my country, Taiwan”. President Tsai Ing-wen congratulated the team for “winning the first badminton gold medal in our country”. Both phrases were deliberate, and fed into a reignited debate over a decades-old rule that has forced the island’s team to compete at the Olympics under “Chinese Taipei”, a name that exists on no map. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally recognised Beijing over Taiwan in the 1970s, and barred Taiwan from competing under its own name or as a country.