Qatar Caves to China, Changes Taiwan’s Name on FIFA Website

Taiwan midfielder Wu Chun-ching (L) runs with the ball during the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifying football match between Jordan and Chinese Taipei Amman International Stadium in the Jordanian capital on November 19, 2019. (Photo by Ahmad ALAMEEN / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD ALAMEEN/AFP …
AHMAD ALAMEEN/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Monday condemned a recent decision by FIFA World Cup organizers to change Taiwan to “Chinese Taipei” on an official Qatar government website granting spectators’ permits for the upcoming soccer tournament, the Taipei Times reported Wednesday.

“We express deep regret over the Qatar World Cup organizers’ failure to resist improper interferences by political powers,” Taiwan Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Tsuei Ching-lin told reporters at a news conference on June 20.

“The foreign ministry again condemns the Chinese government’s bullying … and its political manipulation of international sports events,” Tsuei added.

FIFA is a French acronym for the international governing body of association soccer. The organization is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18. The Taiwan name change in question concerned a “dropdown menu on a Web site to apply for the Persian Gulf state’s hayya card, which is required of all World Cup spectators,” the Taipei Times detailed on June 22.

“The dropdown menu originally listed Taiwan as ‘Taiwan, Province of China,’ which implied that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” according to the newspaper.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry protested the dropdown menu’s name for Taiwan last week, asking FIFA officials to alter the title to simply “Taiwan.” The organization complied with this request on June 16. The concession was short-lived, however, as FIFA later changed the country’s name again to read “Chinese Taipei” on June 20.

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: In this handout image provided by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee, Qatar inaugurates fourth FIFA World Cup 2022 venue, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 18th, 2020 in Doha, Qatar. Qatar inaugurates fourth FIFA World Cup 2022™ venue, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, in front of 50% capacity crowd. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven matches during Qatar 2022 up to the round-of-16 stage. Fans in attendance were required to show negative COVID-19 test results before entering the venue. (Photo by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee via Getty Images)

In this handout image provided by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee, Qatar inaugurates the fourth FIFA World Cup 2022 venue, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 18th, 2020, in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee via Getty Images)

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed gratitude to Qatar’s government on Monday for its apparent influence on FIFA’s decision to change Taiwan’s name to “Chinese Taipei” on its ticketing website.

“Taiwan is part of China,” Wang said at a regular press conference on June 20.

“The one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations and shared consensus of the international community. China appreciates [the] Qatari government’s commitment to the one-China principle and its handling of the issue in line with the established practice of international sports events,” he stated.

The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council defines the Chinese government’s one-China principle as “a core belief stating that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, with the PRC serving as the sole legitimate government of that China.”

“The U.S. acknowledges this position, but does not take a stance on its validity,” the non-profit trade association states on its website.

The U.S. government maintains formal diplomatic ties with Beijing in accordance with the one-China principle while unofficially supporting Taiwan.

“Though the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, we have a robust unofficial relationship,” the U.S. State Department writes on its website.

Qatar follows Washington’s model when conducting its relationship with China, eschewing formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Most countries worldwide, save for about two dozen, maintain formal diplomatic ties with Beijing and not Taipei in accordance with the one-China principle.

Taiwan is a sovereign island nation located off China’s southeastern coast between the East and South China Seas. The nation operates according to its own constitution, democratically-elected government, and military,  but it is claimed by Beijing as a province of China that should be “reunified” with “the mainland,” or China, one day.

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