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Alt 28.09.2017, 10:20   #1
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A side Contest looms for the Beijing Olympics: Island vs. Mainland

From six table tennis tables in the Olympic training center here comes the rhythmic clack-clack-clack of chunk against paddle contrary to tabletop.
Outside, the tropical heat of southern Taiwan seems to wither even the palm trees, while inside, the players split into a sweat at the mere thought of this: trading serves with the team out of mainland China in the Olympic Games next month.

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"No matter how good China is, we expect to get a medal in the Olympics," a participant named Chang Yen-shu said after seeing his teammates practice 1 morning " They're hosting the competition and they understand everything nicely. They are the best players on the planet. Until today, no one has been able to beat them."

Call it Ping-Pong diplomacy across the Taiwan Strait: mainland China lobs balls instead of missiles in the islanders, and the Taiwanese get to battle back.

Mr. Chang, 29, along with the other four members of Taiwan's table tennis delegation intention to mad mainland China in its national obsession. On the Olympic competition schedule, Mr. Chang's team is not in precisely the exact same portion of the draw as China, so the Taiwanese have high hopes of confronting their nemesis from the finals.

China has won 33 Olympic medals in table tennis, 16 of these gold ; Taiwan has won only a silver and a bronze -- both made by Chen Jing, a girl who immigrated from the mainland.

A medal match between China and Taiwan would be one of the great underdog-versus-top-dog narratives of the Games, not only because of the dominance of China in the game, but also due to the exceptional connection between the mainland and the island. The Chinese Communist Party regards Taiwan, a thriving democracy of 23 million, as a rebel province that has to be brought back into the fold, by force if necessary.

Taiwanese athletes insist that the Olympics are about sports, not politics. Besides, relations between mainland China and Taiwan have been on the upswing following Ma Ying-Jeou, the conciliatory Taiwanese president, was inaugurated in May.

Yet the mainland and Taiwan have a lengthy history of political rivalry over the Olympics, such as a battle over the path of this season's torch relay, therefore Taiwan's participation at the initial Games on Chinese soil has the potential for volatility.

Taiwan's contingent includes 76 athletes competing in 14 sports, with medal favorites in tae kwon do, archery and weight lifting. Olympic pride has been growing in Taiwan ever since two tae kwon do athletes, a guy and a female, each brought back a gold medal in the 2004 Games in Athens -- the very first gold for Taiwan. (The island's athletes have won six silvers and seven bronzes.)

But some Taiwanese officials fear that Beijing could mar following month's Games by trying to fuse sports and politics by identifying the Taiwanese delegation in ways that suggest that the island belongs to the mainland.
"We're Somewhat concerned," said Tsai Ing-wen, the chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, which ruled that island for eight years before this May and has tried to distance Taiwan from the mainland. " What we fear is being treated such as Hong Kong or Macao, that are part of China."
In the Core of the stress is a political disagreement over the Chinese words for the name of this Olympic delegation from Taiwan, known in English as Chinese Taipei.

The Chinese word for the first part of the title is officially Zhonghua. That comes in Zhonghua Minguo, or Republic of China, the title that the dominant political group, the Kuomintang, favors for Taiwan.

Mainland China signed a deal with Taiwan in 1989 recognizing Zhonghua Taipei -- Chinese Taipei -- as the name for Taiwan's delegation. Years before, Taiwan had promised that the International Olympic Committee that it would make a gesture to the mainland by simply modifying its delegation's original name rather than using the official Taiwanese flag or the national anthem from the Olympics best ping pong tables.

But sports officials on the mainland frequently call the Taiwanese delegation Zhongguo Taipei. Zhongguo, meaning Middle Kingdom, is the Chinese name for China.

Referring to the Taiwanese delegation as Zhongguo Taipei implies the athletes and also the island that they represent are a part of China.
Sports announcers at China frequently use the name Zhongguo Taipei when talking about Taiwanese athletes, and signs at sports events on the mainland display that title.

"I've been to rivals in China in which a few referees say, 'You are Zhongguo Taipei,' " said Mr. Chang, the table tennis player. " We say, 'No, we are Zhonghua Taipei. They say, 'Why?' Sometimes the mainland athletes also joke about that."

Tsai Chen-wei, president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, said he would complain to the International Olympic Committee if mainland officials insisted on phoning the Taiwanese delegation from the Incorrect name " If They Wish to change our title, it is annoying," stated Mr. Tsai, a former baseball player using a gruff voice. " I might wind up putting myself in danger. I am the president, so I have to defend this title."

Telephone and written inquiries on the subject of Taiwan made to the Beijing organizing committee for the Summer Games went undercover.
Mr. Tsai said individuals may also see political importance in the repositioning of the Taiwanese delegation from the opening service.

Before Games, when delegations marched into the Olympic arena in alphabetical order by their English titles, the Taiwanese athletes entered with the T countries. In Beijing, delegations will march in according to their Chinese names. That eliminates any suggestion of the name of Taiwan, Mr. Tsai said, also places the delegation of Chinese Taipei alongside that of the Central African Republic. " We favor T," he explained.

As early as last year, political tensions between China and Taiwan made their mark about the forthcoming Games. The Taiwanese government led by Chen Shui-bian, the president, that tried to move Taiwan closer to formal independence, decided in April 2007 to not enable the torch to pass through the island since the fire would then go on to Hong Kong, signifying that Taiwan was a part of China.

That canceled an agreement Mr. Tsai had signed in Beijing in December 2006 allowing the torch to come through Taiwan. Mr. Tsai said in the interview he was frustrated with the government's conclusion.
"Finally, after more than 40 years, We'd have had the torch relay through Taiwan," he said. " The flashlight hasn't come because the Summer Games were held in Tokyo in 1964."

The modern Olympics have been a battlefield in the battle between Taiwan and southern China over political validity. From the 1950s, the Chinese Communists lobbied the International Olympic Committee to banish Taiwan from the Games. But in the cold-war era, Taiwan had strong backing from the USA, so in 1958 China withdrew from the committee in protest. That self-imposed exile didn't finish until 1979, after the United States recognized the Communist authorities.

Mainland China and Taiwan did not take part in a Summer Olympics jointly before the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

"Beijing's principal interest in the Olympic Games and Olympic motion was to look for legitimacy from the world arena, especially given the West's recognition of the Nationalist government in Taiwan," Xu Guoqi, a professor of East Asian history in Kalamazoo College, composed in "Olympic Dreams," a new publication on the history of China and the Olympics.
In the last few years, Taiwanese athletes visiting the mainland for various competitions -- over 100 each year -- have generally been welcomed rather than derided, Mr. Tsai said.

Sung Yu-chi, 27, a first time Olympian in tae kwon do, stated, "Sports and politics are divided."

He sat drenched in sweat after a morning workout. " In China, since we are the same ethnicity, it is easier to compete," he said. " They always show their hospitality to us"

But Taiwan has long existed in the shadow of China, as well as one of Mr. Sung's tae kwon do teammates stated she hoped to use the Olympics to declare the island's presence to the world.

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"We need to win gold medals individuals in the world know about Taiwan," said the teammate, '' Yang Shu-chun, 22. " Taiwan is quite near China, but it is only a little island. I fear people do not understand where Taiwan is. But if I win a gold trophy, folks will ask, 'Where is Taiwan?' And try to get to know us."

Geändert von firosiro (15.01.2018 um 09:43 Uhr)
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