Despite series of attempts to undermine its sovereignty, Taiwan ranked as the world’s eight-most-democratic country in 2021.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers have altered the ticketing system that had classified Taiwan as a province of China to a solid “Taiwan” option after an official complaint from authorities.
The official World Cup website to apply for the Hayya identification card, which also doubles as an entry visa application, had initially drew ire from Taiwan officials on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Joanne Ou dismissed the listing decision, saying: “Unacceptable to belittle” her country, calling on the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy on Wednesday to immediately amend the technicality on its official website.
Commenting on the categorisation, the Taiwanese official demanded that World Cup organisers not enable “improper political factors” to coincide with sporting events.
Shortly after, World Cup organisers removed the reference to China for Taiwanese fans applying for the Hayya card online, prompting a statement of thanks from Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday.
The Hayya card, or FIFA ID, is mandatory for individuals wishing to attend the World Cup games in Qatar, which will in turn facilitate entry visas for international visitors.
The card will also enable entry to stadiums and provide a variety of privileges, including free public transportation during match days.
Taipei had asked the organisers to address the issue immediately and “respect the rights and dignity of Taiwanese fans who plan to go and watch the games,” Joanne Ou said.
“This unfriendly move by the organisers against Taiwan not only shifts the focus away from the game, but will also face international judgment and blame, which negatively affects the development of international competitions,” she added.
Like most countries, Doha has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognises the Chinese government.
The controversy has catalysed decades of mounting dispute between China and Taiwan over the latter’s status, with the former pledging to “unify” the island with the People’s Republic of China.
While China claims the island as part of its territory, democratically ruled Taiwan rejects being a part of the People’s Republic of China. Home to approximately 23 million people, Taipei asserts it is a de facto sovereign country awaiting further international recognition outreach.
The East Asian territories of the world are marked by escalating efforts of the Chinese government rejecting Taiwan status in the international sphere. Beijing incessantly condemns any diplomatic contact between Taiwan and other countries as well as any move that implies sovereignty for the island.
China has also exerted pressure on global companies, including airlines, hotels and clothing companies, to “refer to Taiwan as a province of China on their websites and packaging,” Bloomberg reported.
Both China and Taiwan are independent members of FIFA and Olympics, with Taiwan partaking in international competitions under the name “Chinese Taipei,” in an effort to avoid issues with Beijing.
Neither of the teams, however, have qualified for the World Cup this year in Qatar.