Taiwan outcry over flag row with China

Taiwan outcry over flag row with China

Taiwan today expressed anger after Olympics organisers said the island's national flag had been taken down from a London display at the request of the Chinese embassy.

The flag was removed from a row hanging over Regent Street, one of London's busiest shopping areas, and replaced on Wednesday with that of Taiwan's Olympic committee.
Games organiser LOCOG said they had advised the Regent Street Association, which represents retailers and is in charge of the display, to remove the Taiwan flag after receiving the embassy complaint.

Lo Shu-lei, a lawmaker of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang party, said: "China should not suppress Taiwan if it wants to peacefully co-exist with Taiwan. This will only make Taiwanese people angry."

A number of Taiwanese people left protest messages on online forums and chatrooms, while one woman caused a stir on the web by posting a near nude photo of herself covered by two small national flags.

"I am really angry that our flag was removed so I took this photo," Huang Shih-ting told reporters.

Taiwan's opposition party said the incident showed the futility of President Ma Ying-jeou's Beijing-friendly policies, including a tacit agreement between Taipei and the mainland not to lure diplomatic allies away from each other.

"We are not surprised by China's move. Ma owes the public an apology as his diplomatic truce causes our flag to be removed," said opposition lawmaker Chen Ting-fei.
Titles and flags are sensitive issues between Taiwan and China, as Beijing still claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory despite their split in 1949 after a civil war. Taiwan cannot display its national flag at international sporting events and other events as most countries formally recognise Beijing over Taipei.

Taiwan's Olympic committee flag has been used at Games since the 1980s when the International Olympic Committee ruled that the island could not compete under its formal name, the Republic of China.

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