TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Olympic team will not be joining in the opening or closing ceremonies of Beijing’s Winter Olympics, per a statement released by the government on Friday (Jan. 28).
The official reasons given for the team’s absence included air travel delays and health precautions amid the current COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Nikkei report.
Earlier this week Taiwan announced it will also not be sending officials to join the ceremonies. The decision comes as several countries including the the U.S., Australia, Canada, and U.K. stage a diplomatic boycott of the event to protest ongoing human rights violations within China.
Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesperson from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office caused a stir when she called the Taiwanese team “Zhongguo Taibei” (“中國臺北”) or "Taipei, China," instead of the usual “Chunghua Taibei” (“中華臺北”) or “Chinese Taipei.” The inaccurate implication here is that Taiwan is part of China, instead of a sovereign nation.
Taiwanese officials hit back on Thursday, saying this intentional mislabeling of the Taiwanese team by the Chinese side will “heighten the resentment of the Taiwanese people,” per Nikkei. The two countries made an agreement in 1989 that stipulated the use of “Chinese Taipei” for Taiwan during the Olympics.