Taiwan to hold referendum to change contingent name in Olympics

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Taipei, Oct 9 (IANS) Taiwanese will vote in a referendum to decide if the country’s athletes should participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and other international competitions under the name Taiwan, instead of Chinese Taipei, the Central Election Committee announced on Tuesday.

The referendum, which will be held on November 24 simultaneously with local elections, was approved after it received nearly half a million signatures in support, surpassing the minimum 281,745 that were required to greenlight it, reports Efe.

The petition for the name change for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was led by Chi Cheng, a track and field athlete and a bronze medal-winner in the 1968 Olympics.

Owing to Beijing’s insistence on the “One China” principle, Taiwan has been forced to compete in international sporting events under the name Chinese Taipei.

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China had condemned the proposal of the name change as a pro-independence step, although the petitioners say they only want athletes to participate under the established name of their island.

During the referendum, people will be asked if they agreed the country should participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and other international sporting events under the name ‘Taiwan’.

The Sports Administration and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) have said they will respect the result of the referendum, although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had said in a letter in May that the name of the contingent was already agreed upon in 1981 and remained applicable.

–IANS

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