Taiwanese touched to hear Japan's NHK announce 'Taiwan' instead of 'Chinese Taipei' at Tokyo Olympics

Mainland Chinese netizens, however, are fuming.

Kayla Wong | Jean Chien Tay | July 26, 2021, 07:24 PM

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In the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics held on Friday night (July 23), Japanese national broadcaster NHK introduced the Taiwanese delegation as "Taiwan" to its viewers, instead of its official name "Chinese Taipei".

Taiwanese touched to hear "Taiwan" being announced on national TV

Many Taiwanese were touched to hear "Taiwan" being publicly announced for the first time at such a global event, albeit it was during a livestream and not the actual event itself.

Several took to social media platforms such as Twitter to express their delight, as being a diplomatically isolated entity that is seen by China as part of its territory, they were not used to such recognition on such a magnitude.

Taiwanese legislator Claire Wang took to Facebook as well to express her joy, saying it was that it was "a very touching moment".

She also wrote, "I sincerely hope there comes a day when we can truly enter the stadium as Taiwan."

Taiwanese president thanks Japan without mentioning incident

Following the opening ceremony, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook to thank Japan for "making everything possible" as the host country.

"There is no challenge large enough that could shake off the power of sports and the value of the Olympic Game," she said.

She made no mention of the incident in her post.

Tsai also wrote, "No matter how tough the challenge might be, it will not stop Taiwan from being part of the international community.

She continued, "The moment when flag bearers Lu Yen-hsun and Kuo Hsing-chun entered the stadium was when Taiwan stood on the world stage, We are all proud of it."

At the time of writing, her post has been shared around 1,700 times, and garnered more than 165,000 likes.

Chinese media: Olympics no place for 'dirty political tricks'

Chinese state-run media Global Times (GT), known for its ultra-nationalistic views and belligerent outbursts, blasted Japan for pulling "dirty political tricks".

Besides criticising NHK for calling the Taiwanese team "Taiwan", which they said "undermines the one China principle", they criticised American media firm NBC News as well for displaying an "incomplete map of China".

In addition, the GT editorial slammed the NBC narrator for asking the audience "not to forget Hong Kong and Xinjiang".

China: "Incomplete map" hurt the "dignity and feelings" of the Chinese people

While GT didn't specify in what way the map NBC featured was "incomplete", the Chinese Consulate General in New York pointed out the supposed error on Twitter, and posted a version of a map they found satisfactory.

They appear to be suggesting that the map NBC used for China was incorrect for it has omitted the Taiwan island.

Twitter users uploaded screenshots of the broadcast as well that show the "incomplete map" China was referring to.

The Chinese Consulate in New York chimed in as well, saying the display “hurt the dignity and feelings of the Chinese people”.

Chinese netizens furious with NBC & NHK

Chinese Weibo users were upset by the use of the "incomplete map", with one of the most upvoted comments saying they support the independence of all 50 states in the U.S.

They appeared to be less bothered by the mention of "Taiwan" by NHK, however, and pointed out that the order in which Taiwanese athletes entered the stadium appeared to follow the first letter of "Taiwan" or "Taipei", and not "Chinese Taipei".

"The narrator sounded real odd and cryptic when our national team came out, and finished their introduction in just two lines," a commenter wrote.

Many other Chinese netizens added comments, such as "one China, no less", and "reunify Taiwan immediately".

Tencent cut broadcast when Taiwan team entered, ended up missing out on Chinese team's entrance

The allocation of Taiwan's entrance order according to the letter "ta" also resulted in a separate incident that caused many Chinese viewers much angst and displeasure.

In a bid to censor the Taiwan delegation's entrance from its livestream, Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent ended up cutting out the entrance of the Chinese delegation as well, which was just six places behind.

This led many enraged Chinese users to flood social media with their complaints.

Why Taiwan uses "Chinese Taipei"

For decades, China and Taiwan used to lock horns for the International Olympic Committee's recognition as the sole representative of Greater China.

Then in 1981, Taiwan begrudgingly agreed to compete under the official name of Chinese Taipei, and use a new emblem and flag, in accordance to the Nagoya Resolution, ABC News reported.

The name has since become a designated term for Taiwan in various international organisations, including the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

The name Chinese Taipei might have been seen as a humiliation at the time, but the self-governed island has accepted it as a compromise in order to participate in international organisations and events.

Currently, while some Taiwanese athletes are pushing for the name "Chinese Taipei" to be dropped at the Olympics as they want to be recognised as representing "Taiwan" instead, some others object to the move, saying they want to retain the chance to complete at international sporting events.

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Top image adapted via NHK & Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook page