Taiwan will not send any government official to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, its Mainland Affairs Council said on Tuesday, making it the latest country to withhold officials’ attendance at the Games.
“Considering the limited number of participants and the previous precedent that our side’s officials were often absent, no official representatives will be sent,” the council said in a statement.
Taiwan will instead send a representative from its Olympic committee to the Games, it stated.
The move will not affect Taiwanese athletes’ participation in the Olympics as they will continue to compete as planned, with at least four athletes being qualified so far.
While the council made no mention of Taiwan’s stance in the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, it urged Beijing not to tamper with the tournament through “political factors.”
“We call on this year’s organizers to abide by the ‘Olympic Charter’ and not use political factors to interfere with the competition and suppress and belittle our side. Relevant government units will also be prepared to respond to various emergencies,” it said, without elaborating.
A senior Taiwan official claimed that authorities in Taipei raised concern that Beijing could “downgrade” Taiwan’s status by putting its athletes alongside those from the Chinese “special administrative region” of Hong Kong at the opening ceremony.
Taiwan’s decision came just days after its defense ministry reported that 39 Chinese aircraft, including a bomber, had crossed its air defense zone on Jan. 23.
According to a map posted by the ministry on Twitter, the aircraft flew in an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas island. The latest incursion involved 34 J-16 and J-10 fighter jets, one H-6 bomber, and four aircraft with electronic warfare capabilities.
In response, Taiwan scrambled combat aircraft, aired radio warnings, and deployed missile systems to monitor the Chinese aircraft, the ministry said.
Tensions between the self-ruled island of Taiwan and China have been escalating, with China increasing pressure on Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as part of its sovereignty and has vowed to conquer the island by force if necessary.
Taiwan competes in most sporting events, including the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei” at the insistence of Beijing, which sees democratically governed Taiwan as part of “one China” and inviolable Chinese territory.
No Taiwanese officials attended the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, though three senior politicians did. Digital Minister Audrey Tang was due to go to last year’s Tokyo Games, but her trip was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Several western countries, including the United States, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of the Chinese regime’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”
All the countries taking part in the diplomatic boycott will allow their athletes to compete.
Frank Fang and Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times