The Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games (BOCOG) on Friday called a news conference where BOCOG executive vice president and spokesperson Jiang Xiaoyu gave a statement on the unveiling of the Olympic torch passing Taipei.
The statement is as follows:
Last night BOCOG announced the planned route of the Beijing Olympic Games torch relay, which had been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the arrangement of the route strictly follows the Olympic Charter and the relevant rules and regulations of the IOC.
At present, BOCOG learned from media reports that Taiwan authorities and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee said that they could not accept the planned route of the 2008 Beijing Olympics torch relay and we are surprised.
The relay of the 2008 Olympic torch in Taipei has been keenly anticipated by our compatriots in Taiwan. They have expressed their wishes to BOCOG in different ways. During preparation for the Games, we deeply feel Taiwan compatriots are looking forward to the torch relay in Taipei as they support Olympic venue construction and participate in Olympic cultural activities.
In November 2006, BOCOG sent out invitations to Olympic committees, under whose jurisdiction the planned route will pass, including the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.
On December 28, 2006, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei, chairman of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, replied in a letter that they accepted the invitation. The letter said: "On behalf of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, I would like to confirm that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee is willing to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games torch relay and looking forward to close cooperation with BOCOG in the future to fulfill the sacred task of passing the Olympic flame in accordance with the Olympic spirit and Olympic principles."
In February this year, a four-member delegation including Mr. Tsai met with BOCOG in Beijing and reached four points of consensus.
The four points are as follows:
1. Both parties are committed to abiding by the regulations, resolutions and practice of the IOC and together preserving the purity and sanctity of the Olympic torch relay and Olympic flame.
2. Beijing Olympic Games torch relay is an important part of the Beijing Olympic Games. Just like the Games, the relay must follow the Olympic Charter.
3. Beijing Olympic Games torch relay passing Taipei is a sport and cultural activity carried out within the jurisdiction of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee. The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee will ensure that the torch relay is conducted smoothly under its jurisdiction.
4. When the torch relay is conducted under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, the use of relevant flags, emblems and songs should strictly follows the relevant regulations of the IOC. At the same time, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee is obliged to coordinate all concerned parties to ensure any flags, emblems and songs which are inconsistent with IOC regulations won't be used during the torch relay.
On March 27, 2007, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei, chairman of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, sent a letter to BOCOG to confirm the following arrangements: the Taipei leg of the Beijing Games torch relay will take place on April 30, 2008; the Olympic flame will fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Taipei and leave for Hong Kong on May 1 after the relay ends in Taipei.
In a signed confirmation letter addressed to BOCOG, Mr. Tsai said: "On behalf of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, I would like to confirm the reaching of consensus between BOCOG and us in our meeting, as well as to confirm the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay route concerning the Taipei leg (as shown on Page 3 in the 2008 Olympic Games torch relay documents). I believe that with further planning and consultation between the two parties, the torch relay will be conducted successfully in Taipei and it will leave a perfect record."
On April 12, BOCOG sent the invitation to Mr. Tsai to attend the launching ceremony of the route for the 2008 Olympic torch relay. On April 14, BOCOG executive vice president Liu Jingmin received a letter from Tsai in which he says, "We have received your invitation letter on April 12, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee is honored and delighted that Taipei is included on the 2008 Olympic torch relay route and that Taiwan compatriots will have opportunities to share the enthusiasm and joy of Olympic flame. It is the outcome of the joint efforts by both sides and is very much anticipated and cherished. I myself again extend sincere respect and gratitude to you, my brother, and to your colleagues in the organizing committee for your hard work and contributions. However, I would not be available for the event because it clashes with my schedule. I apologize for my absence and hope that I could visit Beijing at another date to meet with you and celebrate together such an inspiring and historical moment. Herey I wish the launching a complete success."
Hereafter, the IOC approved the planned route for the Beijing Olympic torch relay.
All of a sudden, Mr. Tsai wrote a letter to BOCOG on April 20, saying "The current evolution of many issues are out of our sports community's control. Taiwan's status as an independent sovereign state would be degraded if the Olympic flame travels to Hong Kong via Taipei, so my authorities request that the relay enter into Taipei and exit Taipei through third-party countries." This letter unilaterally breached the agreement reached by both side.
In the hope of satisfying Taiwan compatriots' wishes of participating in the Olympic torch relay, BOCOG wrote a letter to Mr. Tsai, which says "The launching of the torch relay route is imminent. The request by your authorities goes against the consensus reached by both sides as well as the route on which you have made a written confirmation, which we cannot understand."
Passing the Olympic flame in Taipei helps spread the Olympic spirit, and it is a great event beneficial to Taiwan compatriots and will create everlasting good. We still hope that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee will focus on the interests of our Taiwan compatriots, resist political interference and make good the consensus the two parties have reached.
BOCOG believes that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and its authorities have violated the Olympic Charter and the IOC's principle of separating sports from politics by rejecting the torch relay route. The Olympic flame is the symbol of Olympic spirit, and the Olympic torch relay is a grand celebration of mankind that represents peace and friendship.
Passing the Olympic flame in Taipei helps spread the Olympic spirit, and it is a great event beneficial to Taiwan compatriots and will create everlasting good. We still hope that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and its authorities will focus on the interests of our Taiwan compatriots and the Olympic Movement, and make good the consensus the two parties have reached and the route that has been confirmed. Therefore, the good wishes of our Taiwan compatriots to participate in the Olympic torch relay will come true.