OPINION: Failure of Olympic Name Poll Shows Taiwanese Voters’ Pragmatism

The emphasis on the tangible costs of abandoning the ‘Chinese Taipei’ Olympic name appears to have won over voters unable to identify the benefits of trying to compete as ‘Taiwan’.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/11/26
By: Timothy S. Rich

Credit: Reuters / TPG

Much of the attention on Taiwan’s local elections has focused on the success of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the poor performance of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Although the claims of a “Blue wave” may be overstated once one moves beyond the high profile executive races (see here), the organization of conservative interests in regards to the five referendums regarding same-sex marriage is difficult to ignore.

However, less attention fell on another one of the referendums presented to Taiwanese voters on Saturday, a question about Taiwan’s name. While Taiwanese still have not had the opportunity to vote on whether the country should formally change its name from the Republic of China to something more Taiwan-centric, a vote that would surely inflame relations with China and likely lead to military conflict, Saturday’s election did allow for a public vote regarding the name Taiwan uses in the Olympics.

Changes in Taiwan’s referendum law in December 2017 not only made it easier to get referendums on the national ballot but also lowered the threshold for a referendum to be considered valid, now down to 25 percent of the electorate. As such, local elections witnessed 10 referendums on the ballot, compared to six previous ones since a referendum law passed in 2003.

Referendum Number 13 asked, “Do you agree to the use of “Taiwan” when participating in all international sport competitions, including the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics? (你是否同意,以「台灣」(Taiwan) 為全名申請參加所有國際運動賽事及2020年東京奧運?)    [FULL  STORY]


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