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Torch flap not seen as hurting Taiwan

Torch flap not seen as hurting Taiwan

Taiwan's rejection of the Olympic torch relay route would not lead to having its membership in the International Olympic Committee revoked, the country's sports czar asserted yesterday.
National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Yang Jong-her also reiterated that Taiwan's authorities still maintained that as long as Taiwan's independence and sovereignty are not belittled, Taiwan will take part in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Yang made the statement during a question and answer session at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. Opposition lawmakers blasted Yang over the government's refusal to allow the torch to pass through Taiwan on its way to Beijing.
Taiwan's authorities rejected the proposed torch route, which had the flame arriving in Taiwan from Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and then continuing on to Hong Kong, after insisting that Taiwan's sovereignty would be downgraded if the torch traveled directly from Taiwan to China or one of its administrative regions.
Critical of Beijing Olympics
Yang was also critical of the Beijing Olympics for referring to Taiwan as "China, Taipei" instead of the official "Chinese Taipei" while selling tickets online. The reference, Yang said, implied that Taiwan was a part of China.
He also chastised China for blocking a visit to Beijing by Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Cheng Wen-lung in late April that was to coincide with the IOC meeting where the torch route was announced.
Chen was scheduled to deliver a briefing on the port city's preparations for the 2009 World Games.
Kuomintang lawmaker Lee Ching-hua argued, however, that the proposed route did not belittle Taiwan's sovereignty, citing the last time the torch came to Taiwan prior to the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo.
The flame arrived in Taiwan from Hong Kong, not the Philippines as President Chen Shui-bian incorrectly contended when the controversy erupted, Lee said.
"Officials on each side of the strait can have their own interpretation of political issues but the torch relay should be a purely sporting event," Lee insisted.
KMT lawmaker Huang Chih-hsiung, a silver medalist in taekwondo at the 2004 Athens Olympics disagreed with the government on the nature of the route.
"I interpret it as an international route instead of China's domestic relay," Huang said.
The former Olympian also announced his plan to launch a signature campaign this weekend to push for the torch to come to Taiwan, stressing that it was rejecting the torch that would belittle Taiwan.


Updated : 2021-05-15 21:44 GMT+08:00