Organizer of Taiwan Olympic name referendum sues Olympic committee chief

Athletes will be allowed to take part in the Olympics no matter the outcome of the vote: Chen

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Chairman Lin Hong-dow.

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Chairman Lin Hong-dow. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - One of the organizers behind Saturday’s referendum about the use of the name “Taiwan” by the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics went to court Friday to sue the chairman of the country’s Olympic committee over the latter’s claim that the vote might endanger Taiwan’s participation in the games.

One of 10 referendums up for a vote Saturday asks whether Taiwan should dump the term “Chinese Taipei” under which it is forced to take part in international sports events due to pressure from China and just participate as “Taiwan” instead.

Earlier in the week, Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Chairman Lin Hong-dow (林鴻道) rallied a number of athletes to oppose the referendum, saying the change might lead to the complete exclusion of the Taiwanese team from the next Olympics.

One of the referendum organizers, former Health Minister Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興), went to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office Friday to sue Lin for a range of items such as forgery and breach of trust, accusing him of misleading the athletes and the public.

Chen said that whatever the result of the referendum, the athletes would be allowed to participate in the Olympics, cable station Sanlih E-Television reported. He added that a recent letter from the International Olympic Committee expressing concern about the referendum had not mentioned anything about barring Taiwanese athletes.

An estimated 19.7 million voters from the age of 18 will be eligible to cast a ballot in 10 referendums Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., with the final results expected by Sunday morning 2 a.m. at the latest.