Taiwan forced into Beijing U-turn
Taiwan will send a delegation to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games after being informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that all teams are required to participate.
Last week, Taiwanese officials were quoted as saying their representatives would be absent from the Games’ curtain-raiser, expressing fears that Beijing could “downgrade” Taiwan’s status by putting its athletes alongside delegates from the Chinese “special administrative region” of Hong Kong at the opening ceremony.
But Taiwan’s Olympic Committee changed its plans on Monday after receiving “several notices” from the IOC “requiring all delegations to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to cooperate in sending personnel to attend the opening and closing ceremonies.”
Taiwan, which is not recognized as an independent state by a majority of countries, competes in most sporting events, including the Olympics, as “Chinese Taipei” with Beijing identifying the island as part of China’s territory.
The Beijing Games are taking place amid deteriorated relations between China and Taiwan, with China ramping up political and military pressure on the island.
Subtropical Taiwan, where snow can be seen only on tops of the mountains, has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics. Its delegation at the 2022 Games includes four athletes, the same number that competed in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.