Recognition of a nation on the international stage is a matter of pride for nationals of any country, especially when that particular person who is responsible for that task gets credited. Similarly, in the instances of the Olympics too, when we see a winner standing at the podium to take their gold medal to get recognised by their national flag and their national anthem.
But there is an instance too which has been practised in the Olympics for years, where a particular nation and its winners are always kept aloof from getting that due respect. The national anthem and the national flag stands to be the integral symbol of any nation on the global stage, be it at the Committees of the United Nations or the Olympics or any international sport.
But Taiwan or the Republic of China is a country whose Gold Medal winners don’t get that respect with the national anthem or the flag while being honoured. It is a sovereign nation with its authority led by a stable and democratically elected government, its diplomatic associations and its national coat of arms.
Every small country participating in the Olympics is represented by their national flag, or when their players win a gold medal, their flags are raised and anthems are played as well.
However, this time too, Taiwan won Gold Medals in two different games with Kuo Hsing-Chun in Women’s 59 kg Weightlifting and in Men’s Doubles Badminton by Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin. But when they stood at the podium for taking their medals, their honour was not recognised, which is unfortunate and immensely insulting.
Considering from the side of politics, as we know that the One China Policy is a matter of loggerhead between China and Taiwan, where one considers Taiwan as an integral part of it, whereas the other ignores this claim and logic behind the policy. Still, this is not a recent trend too, but there is a long timeline of history based on this incident.
In the 1952 Olympics, both China and Taiwan participated, but Taiwan withdrew from the game after 4 years as Taiwan was renamed China (Formosa) by the Olympic Committee.
In 1954 the IOC recognised the People’s Republic of China and invited it to participate in the game. But in the 1956 People’s Republic of China withdrew from the games as a mark of protest where the IOC listed two Chinese National Olympic Committees.
In 1960 the Republic of China Committee was renamed and recognised newly, and thereafter, since 1963, the IOC recognised the Committee by the name of Taiwan with printed “ROC” initials in their sports outfits and plays in the further Olympic Games that were held in 1968.
In 1972 Taiwan played for the last time as the “Republic of China”, but in 1976 the Olympic team of the Republic of China was not permitted to play with that name in the Montréal Games, as the Government of Canada recognised the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China.
However, in 1979 this current scenario began when the IOC recognised the People’s Republic of China’s Olympic Committee for the first time since the inception of the Communist rule in China in 1948.
Thus, after following a postal ballot amongst 89 countries, the IOC decided to rename the Republic of China’s Olympic Committee to the Chinese Taipei Olympics Committee and this prohibited Taiwanese players from representing their red-blue national flag and national anthem. They had to use only a white flag with their national emblem and the Olympic roundels in it.
However, this snatched decision of IOC snatched their right to claim themselves as a part of a Sovereign Nation-State in an international game.
However, who can be blamed for imposing such an insult? Is it Communist China, IOC or political history? But it is quite significant to understand this matter of pain and disrespect where you gain something for your nation and don’t get that due respect with the representation of your nation. Rather this feeling is more like being homeless even after having your home.