Kuo Hsing-Chun of Taiwan won gold in the women’s 59kg weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Tuesday. But when she arrived on the podium to receive the medal, her success seemed incomplete, with neither her national flag nor the national anthem played.
Taiwan cannot call itself Taiwan in the Olympic Games. Instead, they have to play in the name of ‘Chinese Taipei’. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person.
Due to the lack of an independent nation, Taiwan has been deprived of playing in the name of its nation in the Olympics. With a population of 23 million and the use of its own government, borders and currency, Taiwan’s status as an independent nation is still unclear.
Even after the end of China’s civil war in 1949, the Chinese government continues to define Taiwan as one of its provinces. China has been misleading even Taipei from the world community. They don’t even want to hear the word Taiwan.
It was renamed Taipei in 1991 by consensus of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). According to the agreement, Taiwan has been barred from competing in major international competitions as an independent nation.
Taiwanese athletes are forced to compete under the white flag emblazoned with the Olympic ring instead of their national flag, which is a mixture of red and blue. When a Taiwanese player wins a gold medal, the traditional anthem is played instead of the national anthem.
Critics say the move is a clear sign that the IOC is under pressure from China. Both China and Taiwan were invited to participate in the 1952 Olympics. Although the governments of both countries claimed membership in the name of China, Taiwan eventually withdrew.
Four years later, Taiwan became an Olympic member in the name of ‘Formos China’. China withdrew from the competition. Two years later, China withdrew from the IOC.
In 1960, the IOC instructed Taiwan to compete in its own name. But the Taiwanese government was not satisfied with the name and demanded to compete in the name of the Republic of China. Taiwan played in the 1960 and 1962 Olympics under Taiwan’s name. Taiwan last competed for the Republic of China in 1972.
At the 1976 Olympics, Canada boycotted the Games after hosts asked Taiwan to compete in the name of Taiwan, not the Republic of China. In 1979, the IOC suspended Taiwan’s membership. Since then, they have not been able to participate in the Olympics as an independent nation. The IOC allowed Taiwan to compete in the name of Chinese Taipei two years later.