Taiwan gratified by China's use of "Chinese-Taipei" Olympic title

Society Materials 25 July 2008 16:57 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwanese officials expressed satisfaction Friday over China's latest decision to standardize the designation Chinese-Taipei for the Taiwan team participating in the Beijing Olympics, seeing it advantageous to further improvement of cross-strait relations, reported dpa.

"As long as the mainland can show its goodwill, I believe it is advantageous to development of long-term cross-strait relations in the future," said Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in a meeting with a group of local artists at his office in Taipei.

His comment came after Beijing clarified Thursday night that in addition to official reference of the island's Olympic designation, Chinese media would also address the island as "Zhonghua Taibei" in their Chinese language translation for the island's officially registered title - Chinese-Taipei" - at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, noted that to extend goodwill to Taiwan, the authorities would ask Chinese media to adhere to the official term in addressing the island.

Chinese media has been referring to Taiwan as "Zhongguo Taibei" or "China's Taipei," in a bid to suggest that the island falls under China, despite the fact that the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

After Li's clarification, major Chinese news media, including China News Service and Xinhua news agency, described Taiwan as "Zhonghua Taibei" or "Chinese-Taipei," instead of "Zhongguo Taibei" or "China's Taipei."

The dropping of the controversial name - China's Taipei - for the Taiwan team has removed an obstacle to the island taking part in the August 8-24 games.

The compromise came after Taipei early Thursday threatened to boycott the Olympics if the term China's Taipei is used.

Although the two names look similar to foreigners, it is very sensitive to Taiwan because China's Taipei means Taiwan is part of China, while Chinese-Taipei means Taiwan is part of the Chinese ethnic group.