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IOC refuses change in Taiwan’s name at Olympic Games

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has informed Taiwan that it would not approve any change to the name it uses to participate in the Olympic Games, Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) secretary-general Shen Yi-ting said, reported Taipei Times (Taiwan).

Shen made the announcement a day after IOC executive board member Wu Ching-kuo said the chances of the nation attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as “Taiwan” were low.

Taiwan competes in the Olympics and other major sports events under the name “Chinese Taipei,” but several groups in January called for it to use its own name at the 2020 Tokyo Games, and have advocated holding a referendum to decide the issue.

The IOC had previously voiced concern regarding the issue, but the CTOC responded by saying that referendums are a normal part of democracies and that it would be initiated by the public without the committee’s involvement, Shen said.

IOC president Thomas Bach has kept close tabs on the situation and on May 2 called a meeting of the committee’s executive board, during which it presumably decided that it would not approve any name change, Shen said.

After the CTOC on May 5 received a letter from the IOC informing it of the decision, it then forwarded the letter to the Sports Administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other agencies, Shen added.

The CTOC is not advocating the referendum, nor can it intervene in the process, she said, adding that the body decided to hand over the letter for government agencies to address.

The name rectification campaign in a statement released later on Saturday said that the gathering of signatures for a referendum has not been completed, a referendum has not been held and the CTOC has not submitted any such documents.

“Under these circumstances — in which a request had not been made — how could the IOC say it is not approving a change?” the campaign asked, urging the CTOC to disclose the full text of the IOC’s letter to clarify the situation.

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