Update (11 August): After much reporting by Taiwanese media, the media guide published by the organizing committee has changed all geographical reference of the island in the kit to Taiwan. FISU’s page about the 2017 Universiade retains odd language using Chinese Taipei.
The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, will be held in Taipei, Taiwan during 19-30 August, 2017. Touted as a great opportunity to showcase Taiwan on the international stage after Kaohsiung hosted the World Games and Taipei hosted the Deaflympics, both in 2009, Taipei is busy preparing for games and the opening ceremony, which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to attend.
Despite all the fanfare and being the hosting country, Taiwan is not called Taiwan during the games. The English media guide introduces Taiwan under the title “Introduction of Our Island-Chinese Taipei” and continues with “Chinese Taipei is long and narrow[.]”
A Taipei city official said that the original press kit used Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei, but the International University Sports Federation (FISU), based in Switzerland and organizes the university games, insisted on changing the country name to Chinese Taipei, citing a 1981 agreement signed between Taiwan and the International Olympic Committee that enables Taiwan’s participation in international sporting events, under the name, flag, and anthem of Chinese Taipei. Failing to use the name means Taiwan risks being kicked out of international games.
As if not being able to call ourselves Taiwan outside of Taiwan isn’t bad enough, we are forced to use a ridiculous name and flag within the country as well. If that’s not humiliating, I don’t know what is. But such is the plight of being Taiwan – we want the international recognition, but we can’t get it without being called something else. If you happen to be attending the games and would like to cheer for the hosting country, please call us Team Taiwan. Best of luck to all athletes.