China Slams US Olympic Games Broadcaster for Removing Taiwan From Country's Map
© REUTERS / Stephen LamA demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, 14 January 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
© REUTERS / Stephen Lam
This is the second incident related to the depiction of disputed territories during this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. Last time, the Olympic Committee had to redraw a map, where it showed post-2014 Crimea after the peninsula voted to join Russia – a move not recognised internationally.
The New York-based Chinese consulate has strongly condemned NBC, the sole Olympics broadcaster in the US, for showing a map of China which doesn't feature Taiwan or South China Sea when it covered the opening ceremony. Beijing considers Taiwan, a self-ruling island, and most of the South China Sea inalienable parts of its territory and territorial waters.
The consulate stated on its Weibo social media account that the "incomplete map" had "hurt the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people".
"We urge NBC to recognise the serious nature of this problem and take measures to correct the error," the consulate said.
During the broadcast, the NBC commentator Savannah Guthrie also put an emphasis on the fact that the Western countries and some international watchdogs are pressuring China over alleged human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as the Chinese athletes were walking out during the opening ceremony. Beijing strongly rejects these accusations and has censured Western countries over what it sees as attempts to meddle in the country's domestic affairs.
The US neither rejected nor accepted China's claims regarding Taiwan, only signing a pact of understanding with Beijing in regards to its one-China policy. Washington does not have official diplomatic relations with the island, but it still supplies it with aid, equipment and even weaponry directly, disregarding Beijing's objections. Due to the one-China policy and Beijing's demands, the athletes from Taiwan are competing in this year's games under a neutral flag and as the team of "Chinese Taipei".
This is not the first 2020 Tokyo Olympics scandal related to internationally-disputed territories. Earlier organisers of the game released an online interactive map of this year's participants, which drew a border line between Ukraine and Crimea, sparking criticism from Kiev. While the residents of the peninsula voted overwhelmingly in favour of the idea of rejoining Russia in the 2014 referendum, the majority of the international community does not respect their choice and considers Crimea "occupied Ukrainian territory". The Tokyo Olympic games organisers apologised and altered the map, removing the border line between Ukraine and the peninsula.