Asian Games 2023: Taiwanese Athletes Still Can’t Compete Under Their Flag
China claims Taiwan as its own and an agreement between Beijing and Taipei means Taiwanese athletes can only compete internationally if they don’t use the name of Taiwan.
At the Asian Games 2023 in China, Taiwan’s baseball team took the field Tuesday sporting jerseys not with ‘T’ for Taiwan but ‘CT’ for ‘Chinese Taipei’.
Opposing them was Hong Kong, representing what Beijing hopes is Taiwan’s future – a team playing under its regional flag but still very much a part of China.
Beijing’s Increasingly Large Military Drills Around Taiwan
China continues its aggressive external approach toward the democratic self-governing island, which is only about 600 km from Hangzhou, the primary host city for the Asian Games.
Beijing has been involved in increasingly large military drills around Taiwan, as tensions rise between the rivals and Taipei’s most important backer, the US.
In fact, Beijing sent 103 warplanes flying toward Taiwan a few days before the continental multi-sport event began, with Taiwanese officials calling it a new high for recent times.
Taiwan Offered A ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Framework
Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in China in 1949, with the rival Nationalists setting up their own government in Taipei.
Despite not ruling out force, China prefers to have Taiwan come under its control voluntarily and has offered a ‘one country, two systems’ framework similar to Hong Kong.
The ruling Communist Party, however, has cracked down on dissent in the former British colony which became a part of China in 1997.
Asian Games Allowing China To Put On A Welcoming Face
At the Asian Games, China has been pursuing a two-pronged strategy with a goal of taking over Taiwan, which involves both pleasing its people while threatening it militarily.
While Taiwan sent just four athletes to the Beijing Winter Olympics last year, there are more than 500 here for the Asian Games, providing China an opportunity to put on a welcoming face.
China has been going out of its way to be welcoming to the Taiwanese athletes, with the delegation getting one of the largest cheers from the crowd at the opening ceremony.