Taipei is enraged by references to Taiwanese tourists after several name changes in World Cup visa application system.
Taiwanese authorities have allegedly accused neighbouring country China of ‘bullying’ after initially hailing Qatar’s decision to alter details for the World Cup’s visa application.
Those applying for the mandatory Hayya ID card to enter Qatar for the tournament found themselves unable to locate the island’s name on the online application, angering Taiwan’s government.
Initially, it was listed as “Taiwan, Province of China,” a title that enraged Taiwan’s government and many of its citizens. The country’s Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Joanne Ou described the listing as ‘unacceptable’ and belittling , calling on the World Cup organisers to amend the technicality on its official website.
In a bid to calm the storm, organisers renamed the listing again to just “Taiwan,” winning plaudits from Taipei’s authorities.
However, this soon changed to “Chinese Taipei,” – a name used by authorities when participating in most international sporting events to avoid political issues.
For that, Chinese authorities expressed “appreciation” to the Qatari government’s “adherence to the one-China principle and its handling of relevant matters in accordance with the usual practices of international sports events”.
Beijing’s claim to Taiwan as a province is publicly declared under the one-China concept. Many countries with formal connections to China have their own one-China policies that define the level of recognition given to Beijing’s principle.
Some countries recognize Taiwan’s claim, while others, such as the United States, only acknowledge Beijing’s side of history.
The action to re-amend the name was criticised by Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Monday, which accused Doha’s organisers of being “unable to rigorously refuse the intrusion of illegitimate political forces.”
“[China] has repeatedly and blatantly used its fictitious ‘one-China principle’ to continue to belittle Taiwan internationally and create the false impression that Taiwan that belongs to China”, it stated.
The controversy catalyses decades of tensions between both nations over Taiwan’s status, with the former vowing to “unify” the island with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
For years, China has been exerting pressure on countries, and even airlines, to refer to Taiwan as a province of China on its website.
Qatar, like most countries, only recognises China’s government and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Both countries are independent members of FIFA and Olympics, but neither teams have qualified for the World Cup this year in Qatar.