Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Politicizing The Olympics

Came across an article/top-ten-like-list on athletes who made "major political and social statements." Interestingly, Taiwan came up as one of the "athletes" who made a political statement during the Olympics. Of course we all know how today China blocks Taiwan from entering international organizations and sporting events under the name Taiwan or R.O.C. Taiwan is forced to represent themselves under the name of Chinese Taipei, because everyone in Taiwan is in Taipei or something like that.

Controversy erupted in the days before the 1960 Olympics.
At that point in history, the United States and most western countries, did not recognize the communist government in mainland China.  Instead the US and others viewed the leaders and people on the island of Taiwan as the deposed and rightful rulers of mainland China.
This was a problem for the International Olympic Committee.
In 1958, China withdrew from the 1960 Rome Olympics because they wanted Taiwan banned from participating.
In response the IOC, with the support of the Soviet Union but in opposition to US wishes, asked that Taiwan no longer march under the name  "The Republic of China," but use the name of Taiwan or Formosa.

At that time, the government on Taiwan was still insistent on the idea of unifying with "the mainland," or "taking back the mainland." Most importantly, the government on Taiwan still claimed sovereignty over all of China, essentially saying that government on Taiwan was the legitimate government of "China." The sad part is that when given the chance back in 1960, Taiwan could have been able to enter the Olympics under the name "Taiwan" or "Formosa." Instead they decided to participate in the games under protest:

When they marched into the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony the lead Taiwanesse athlete held a sign reading, "Under Protest."  IOC President Avery Brundage had to be talked out of banning the Taiwannese delegation from participating in the games. 

[Yes, the people at bleacher report need better copy editors -- note the misspellings of "Taiwanese" multiple times] From this we can see how China's comments during the 2008 Olympics telling others not to politicize the Olympics, is utterly a joke. One could say that China started the whole "politicizing" of Olympics, especially when it comes to Taiwan and "Chinese Taipei."

This other 9 athletes are a good read too. The most recent being a few baseball players participating in the "Restoring Honor" rally at the Mall in Washington DC this past weekend. 

Another more recent one? The Phoenix Suns protesting the immigration law that was passed in Arizona.

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