TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Italy's most-read newspaper is among a growing list of international news agencies that have "rectified" the name or flag of Taiwan in their Olympic coverage.
Despite attempts by China to use the Olympics to push its claim of ownership of Taiwan, Taiwanese living overseas have been heartened to observe that a number of international media outlets have "rectified" Taiwan's name in Olympic coverage instead of using Chinese Taipei, the name the country's athletes must compete under in Olympic and other global sporting events.
The latest example pointed out to Taiwan News, by an Italian reader, is La Gazzetta dello Sport, which is displaying both the name "Taiwan" and the country's official national flag in its online medal tally.
With a national record of six Olympic medals, including one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes, Taiwan is sitting in 21st place on the list. Unlike many media outlets, which post the International Olympic Committee-dictated label Chinese Taipei and white plum blossom banner, the Italian site shows the nation's red, white, and blue flag along with the name Taiwan.
Image sent by reader when Taiwan was just two places behind Italy in medal rankings. (La Gazzetta dello Sport screenshot)
Thus far, the only other major international news site reported to be displaying both the name Taiwan and the country's flag is France's L'Équipe. However, many other media outlets are deviating in one way or another from the official IOC canon.
Russia's state-run RIA Novosti (РИА Новости) and Canada's The Sports Network (TSN) are presenting Taiwan's flag but using the name Chinese Taipei. Meanwhile, Japan's NHK and The New York Times are showing the Olympic flag while calling the country Taiwan.
During its live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, South Korean TV channel Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) announced that "Taiwanese athletes" had entered the stadium, and an infographic on the screen displayed the Olympic flag accompanied by the name "Taiwan." Likewise, an anchor for Japan's NHK introduced the team as "Taiwan" during the opening ceremony, prompting Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) to criticize the move as an example of Taiwan "playing little tricks to seek independence."
The Republic of China (Taiwan) first competed in the Olympics in 1932, but in 1975, the People's Republic of China applied to participate in the games and insisted that the Republic of China be decertified in the process. After much controversy over whether the Republic of China could participate in the 1976 Montreal games, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau suggested that it compete as "Taiwan" as a compromise. The Republic of China government refused his terms at the time and boycotted the games.
Taiwan was not allowed back into the Olympics until the International Olympic Committee had passed the Nagoya Resolution in 1979, obliging Taiwan to use the name "Chinese Taipei" but barring its national flag and anthem.