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Taiwan's flag banned at FIBA World Cup qualifier in Australia

But Chinese flags allowed to fly at Taiwan vs China World Cup qualifier in Melbourne

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Andrew Farrugia and his banned Taiwan flag at a game between China and Taiwan in Australia's Melbourne. (SBS News screenshot)

Andrew Farrugia and his banned Taiwan flag at a game between China and Taiwan in Australia's Melbourne. (SBS News screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s flag was banned at a basketball game against China in Australia’s Melbourne.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers group game at John Cain Arena on Friday (July 1) saw China beat Taiwan 94-58. Even so, the story of the night was Taiwan flags being confiscated by International Basketball Federation (FIBA) officials.

One Taiwan fan at the game, quoted by SBS News on Saturday (July 2) was Andrew Farrugia, who said his Taiwan flag was confiscated by security when entering the arena. Chinese flags, however, were allowed.

“He produced a document claiming Taiwanese flags aren't permitted in the arena, and that the flag had to be put in the cloakroom before I could enter," Farrugia said. "I was a bit confused because this hasn't really happened before.”

SBS News followed up with FIBA by asking why China’s flag was allowed but Taiwan’s was not. FIBA responded by saying:

"As per FIBA regulations and venue rules, during competitions and draws, only flags and anthems of the countries or affiliated National Member Federations approved and recognized by FIBA may be used.”

FIBA mandates that Taiwan must compete as Chinese Taipei and only the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag can be displayed at games.

Part of the reason for the sensitivity of officials was trouble on a previous night between protesters and Chinese ultras at another game. According to a tweet from Drew Pavlou in Melbourne, he was “punched” and dragged” out of the stadium for holding up a “Stop the Uyghur Genocide” sign during the Australia versus China matchup.