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Use Olympic flap to highlight Taiwan's rights

Use Olympic flap to highlight Taiwan's rights

It is no secret that the People's Republic of China is using Beijing's right to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games next August to drive an international diplomatic campaign touting its "peaceful development" and its supposed goal of "building a harmonious global society."
The Chinese Communist Party-ruled PRC regime sees the Olympics as both a moment to mark the PRC's entry into the rank of "great powers" and an opportunity to reinforce in the world community the image of "a unified China," including Taiwan.
The PRC regime's determination to use the Olympics as a means to gain global recognition for its claim over Taiwan was finally openly displayed last Thursday when Beijing announced its plan for the Olympic torch to arrive in Taiwan from Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and then conveyed to the "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."
Beijing emphasized that the 137,000 kilometer route for the torch relay would include a trip to Mt. Everest and visits to 20 "international" cities on five continents over three months prior to the opening of the Games in August 2008 on its "Journey of Harmony."
Despite the demand by our "Chinese Taipei" delegation to the International Olympic Committee that the torch come to Taiwan from a "third" country and leave for a "fourth country," the route announced by Beijing clearly put Taiwan as the first stop of China's "domestic route," followed by Hong Kong and Macau, both of which are PRC "special administrative regions."
A transparent clue to Beijing's deliberate intent to negate Taiwan's sovereignty lies in the fact that the torch actually passes over or near Taiwan twice before its scheduled arrival.
After coming through Jakarta, Indonesia, the torch is slated to go to Canberra, Australia, and pass by Taiwan on its route to Nagano, Japan and then to Seoul in South Korea, and Pyongyang in North Korea before flying past Taiwan again on its way to Ho Chi Minh City.
If Beijing had truly wanted to show consideration towards "the feelings of the Taiwan people," a stopover for the torch could have been easily arranged with far less convolution either on the flight from Canberra to Nagano or from Pyongyang to Ho Chi Minh.
Given China's transparent political motivation to belittle our sovereignty, the arrangement was rejected by Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Chairman Tsai Chen-wei, Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Director-General Yang Jong-her and Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Chen Ming-tong.
Although the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party and some athletic associations have echoed Beijing's arrangement and called on the Democratic Progressive Party government to "separate Olympics from politics," we fully support the government's demand that the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Games redesign the torch relay route in line with our request that it enter and leave Taiwan through independent countries and to refrain from further attempts to denigrate Taiwan's sovereignty.
Human rights issue
We also urge the international community to understand the rationale underlying Taiwan's resolute stand.
In a nutshell, the issue at stake concerns the fundamental human right of the 23 million people of Taiwan to receive respect from the international community for our democratic sovereignty under the principle that "all people have the right of self-determination," as enshrined in Article One of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
With our rejection of this denigrating arrangement, Taiwan effectively joins with other noted members of the international community in alerting the international community to Beijing's attempt to distract world attention from its domestic abuses of human rights, environmental rights and religious freedoms and its external military ambitions and anti-humanitarian behavior.
Other examples have included the call by American actress Mia Farrow, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund, to label the event the "Genocide Olympics" due to the PRC's staunch support for Sudan's dictatorial President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, while French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal has pledged that, if elected, she will intensify pressure on Beijing to stop the Sudanese regime's genocide in Darfur.
Citing repression of journalists, bloggers and Internet users, repression of religious freedom and Tibetan autonomy and other systematic violations of human rights, the Paris-based Reporters without Borders has also launched a petition campaign to "Boycott Beijing 2008" (http://www.rsf.org) on the grounds that "given the massive human rights violations in China, it seems unacceptable to us that the Chinese government be allowed the right to host the world's most prestigious sporting event."
The question faced by the Taiwan government, its Olympic athletes and the rest of our people is not whether Beijing will continue its cutthroat strategy to strangle Taiwan's international space, but how we should respond.
Taiwan's governing and opposition parties should set aside partisan differences and develop a consensus on diplomatic strategies and use their unified forces to confront Beijing's international suppression of Taiwan's national sovereignty.
Ironically, the PRC's excessive ambition has provided a precious opportunity since the very fact that Taiwan has the capacity and power to reject this arrangement displays our sovereignty and proves that our status is not the same as the Hong Kong or Macau "Special Administrative Regions," who have no choice but to accept whatever Beijing wants.
We believe that it is absolutely essential for Taiwan to mobilize official and civic resources to take the offensive with a worldwide educational campaign to debunk Beijing's propaganda and to proactively highlight in the world community the fact that Taiwan is not part of China.
Moreover, by working together with influential international non-governmental organizations and media, Taiwan can also help reveal "inconvenient truths about China" as a means to compel Beijing to address its human rights abuses, liberalize its undemocratic political system, acknowledge the sovereignty of Taiwan and our democratically elected government and respect the rights of self-determination of the people of Tibet.


Updated : 2021-05-07 16:35 GMT+08:00