'Chinese Taipei' team name change denied for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games

International Olympic Committe will not approve name change for Taiwan

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The Chinese Taipei Olympic flag. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)— Taiwan's Olympic team will continue to compete under their current name "Chinese Taipei", and not change it to “Team Taiwan,” at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games; name change will not be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) said on May 19 that the IOC has decided to "not approve name change” during the IOC Executive Committee meeting at the beginning of May.

According to Central News Agency, the IOC Executive Committee discussed the issue at a meeting on May 2, and was believed to have veto the proposal during the meeting. A formal letter from the IOC arrived in the CTOC office on the fifth with the resolution. 

After receiving the letter from the IOC, the CTOC forwarded the letter to the Sports Administration of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cabinet and its departments. 

"The referendum to support name change for Taiwan at the games was not led by the CTOC, so we cannot intervene. We can only relay the messages and forward the letter to the responsible organizations, and there will be someone more suitable to explain the situation," said the CTOC Secretary-general Shen Yi-ting.

Many Taiwanese non-governmental organizations were promoting the "2020 Tokyo Olympics Taiwan Renaming Referendum,” which brought great attention to the naming issue. The objective of the referendum was to formally change the name that Taiwanese athletes compete under for international competitions, changing it from  “Chinese Taipei” (中華台北隊) and to "Team Taiwan” (台灣隊), beginning with the 2020 Summer Olympics.

"The referendum was a normal part of a democratic society,” Shen said. She added that Thomas Bach, IOC President, was aware of and concerned about the referendum situation. 

Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), an IOC representative since 1988, believes that they must respect the signed Lausanne agreement, which protects athletes’ opportunity to compete in the international game.

Wu also recognizes that the development of sports based on the Lausanne agreement and the ability to participate in international sports are most important. He says that when an athlete performs well, people will say we come from Taiwan. It is a recognition of our natural origin; the name of “Chinese Taipei” was originally signed on the agreement and we must respect it.”

For more information about this topic, check the 'Taiwan 2020' and the "Civil groups call for referendum" articles.