Taiwan Nixes China Move to Change Olympic Name

New tensions are cropping up between Taipei and the mainland over China’s preferred choice of a name for the island to use during the Olympics. From AP:

Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun of the Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei on Thursday said “Zhongguo Taipei” — a name in the Chinese language that strongly suggests that Taiwan is part of China — “is not acceptable to us.”

A month from the Aug. 8 Olympic opening ceremonies, spokesman Yang Yi of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that “Zhongguo Taipei” is just as valid as an Olympic designator as the previously used “Zhonghua Taipei.”

“Zhongguo Taipei” means “Taipei China” and uses “Zhongguo,” the name China calls itself, implying Taipei is a part of China. “Zhonghua Taipei” uses “Zhonghua” — a more ambiguous word that applies to a deliberately undefined Chinese nation.

The dispute — arcane to many outsiders — goes right to the heart of the battle over Taiwan’s identity, which has been fought over by the sides since they split amid civil war in 1949. It also casts a shadow over recently improved economic ties, in the form of the first direct flights between the old foes in nearly six decades.

Read also a report from Taipei Times.

July 10, 2008 2:20 PM
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