The Olympics omitted Taiwan’s national flag icon on its tweet celebrating the medal winners in Judo on its official 2020 Tokyo Olympics Twitter account Saturday.
Taiwan’s Yang Yung-Wei won Silver in the men’s 60kg Judo, aced out only by Japan’s Takato Naoshia, who finally brought home the Gold after several years of disappointing finishes. It was the first time Taiwan ever medaled in Judo.
The tweet also noted that Yeldos Semetov of Kazakhstan and France’s Luka Mkheidze both earned a bronze beating Tornike Tsjakadoea of the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea’s Kim Won-Jin, respectively.
However, one thing missing from the tweet was the flag icon for Taiwan’s Yung-Wei. All three of the other medalist names were followed by their country flag icon except Taiwan. The flag for Chinese Taipei (the name under which Taiwan is competing) was mysteriously absent.
24 July – #Judo / Men's -60kg
YANG Yung Wei
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 24, 2021
The story the tweet links to, though, does mention that Yung-Wei was competing for Chinese Taipei.
The issue of Taiwan competing at the Olympics remains tricky since China has steadfastly refused to recognize Taiwan as an autonomous country and has always claimed the island nation as its own property. As a result, Olympics officials often try to walk a fine line between fully recognizing and celebrating Taiwan’s participation and mollifying the power-hungry Chinese who always protest whenever Taiwan is allowed any recognition.
Indeed, the reason the country’s Olympic team is competing as “Chinese Taipei,” instead of Taiwan, is to mollify China. Thus, any time a Taiwanese athlete wins a medal, or any time one of their athletes is introduced, the Games play a specially written “flag anthem” instead of the actual national anthem of Taiwan.
With the Tokyo Games starting soon, here's the "Chinese Taipei" Olympic team. Taiwan, with 24 million people, cannot compete under its own flag 🇹🇼. Palestine, by the way, can and does. Any gold winners would not hear the national anthem, but a "flag" anthem. Why? Because Beijing. pic.twitter.com/pW35FfFRTO
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) July 21, 2021
The IOC denies Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, the right to use its own name or emblem. Instead, Taiwan – a self-governed nation – appears at the #Olympics as Chinese Taipei and is represented by a special flag, @nvanderklippe writes. #Tokyo2020https://t.co/v62Z9ODq5t pic.twitter.com/1q3dHewMgK
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) July 24, 2021
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