BOCOG spokesperson explains why the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay can not pass through Taipei(09/24/07)
2007/09/24

 

On September 21, BOCOG spokesman made the following remarks on why the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay can not pass through Taipei:

Yesterday, that is September 20, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC), sent us a letter indicating that he would not have negotiations with BOCOG on the Torch Relay in Taipei, unilaterally ending the talks and closing the door on the negotiations.

On the same night, the International Olympic Committee informed BOCOG that the Torch Relay of the Beijing Olympic Games would have to go ahead without a stop in Taipei.

BOCOG expresses deep regrets that the Beijing Olympic Torch cannot go to Taipei and that the good wishes of the Taiwan compatriots passionately expecting the Olympic Flame cannot be satisfied.

The responsibility of causing this situation totally lies with the Taiwan authorities. In order to make the torch relay happen in Taipei, since November last year, BOCOG has always followed the Olympic Charter and the recommendations of the IOC, with an active and a pragmatic attitude of equal consultations, having negotiations with CTOC on several occasions through direct talks and exchange of letters. And it fully shows our sincerity, trying our utmost to make the torch relay go to Taipei and to have the Taiwan compatriots share the joy and passion of the Olympic Torch Relay.

However, the Taiwan authorities violated the stipulations of the Olympic Charter, flagrantly making the torch relay in Taipei a political issue, denying the consensus reached through negotiations between BOCOG and CTOC and the planned torch relay route and constantly created all kinds of obstacles so that the torch relay cannot go through Taipei, creating a very bad precedence by refusing to have the Olympic flame go to its jurisdiction.

Now I would like to introduce the process of the negotiations between BOCOG and CTOC.

Since preparations for the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay were launched in November last year, BOCOG has been working to make the torch relay to go to Taipei.

In November 2006, BOCOG sent invitations to the NOCs of the planned relay cities, including CTOC, to take part in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay. On December 28, 2006, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei, president of CTOC, replied in his letter to accept the invitation.

In his letter he said, "On behalf of CTOC, I would like to confirm that CTOC would like to take part in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay and look forward to working closely with BOCOG, following Olympic spirits and principles and jointly undertaking the sacred task of completing the Olympic torch relay.

On February 12, CTOC had talks with BOCOG in Beijing. The two parties signed four points of consensus.

Namely, first, the two parties promised that they will abide by the relevant resolutions, regulations and practices of the IOC and maintain the purity and sanctity of the Olympic Torch Relay and Olympic Flame.

Second, the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay is an important part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Just like the Beijing Olympic Games, the Olympic Charter has to be followed.

Third, the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay in Taiwan is an Olympic sports and cultural activity conducted within the jurisdiction of CTOC. CTOC ensures that the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay will proceed smoothly within the jurisdiction of CTOC.

Fourth, while the Olympic Torch Relay takes place within the jurisdiction of CTOC, the use of flag, emblem and song should strictly follow the relevant regulations of the executive board meeting of IOC. At the same time, CTOC has the responsibility to coordinate with all the relevant authorities to promise that any flag, emblem or song not conforming to the above-mentioned regulations will not be used in the process of the Olympic torch relay.

On March 27, on behalf of CTOC and Taiwan authorities, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei sent a letter to BOCOG confirming the four points of consensus signed by the two sides and the route of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay in and out of Taipei.

In his letter he said, "With regard to the consensus reached by our two sides during the talks in Beijing on February 12, 2007, after communications and discussions between myself and our relevant authorities, I have received specific response and support. Here on behalf of CTOC, I would like to confirm to BOCOG the consensus reached in the talks and the route of the Beijing 2008 Torch Relay in Taipei, as shown on the fourth page of the attached materials for the Beijing 2008 Torch Relay. I believe that with further planning and consultation between our two sides, the Olympic Torch Relay will be successfully held in Taiwan, leaving a perfect record."

Afterwards, BOCOG reported to IOC on the torch relay routes of the relay on the Mainland of China and the relay outside the Chinese Mainland and received approval from the executive board of IOC.

On April 26, BOCOG, according to plans, officially announced the planned route of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay.

However, the Taiwan authorities, under the pretext of "being belittled" , raised the unreasonable request that the torch relay should go in and outside of Taipei through a "third country," unilaterally changing the route of the torch relay in and out of Taipei, refusing to accept the torch relay route approved by IOC.

Afterwards BOCOG, with the utmost sincerity and patience, exchanged letters with CTOC and had talks several times.

In talks on August 11 this year, BOCOG emphasized that the two sides should abide by the Olympic Charter and relevant resolutions, regulations, and practices of IOC and adhere to the four points of consensus reached in February and implement the consensus that has already been reached and the torch relay route that has been confirmed, jointly maintaining the purity and sanctity of the Olympic torch relay and the Olympic Flame.

BOCOG reaffirms that the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay planned route including the relay on the Chinese Mainland and the relay outside the Chinese Mainland. The planned route of the relay outside the Chinese Mainland covers 22 cities of countries and regions on the five continents. Taipei is one of the 22 cities around the planned route of the relay outside the Chinese Mainland. The expression fully considers the concerns of CTOC and fully expresses their sincerity and the pragmatic attitude of BOCOG.

On September 8, BOCOG and CTOC had another round of talks. Because the Taiwan authorities denied the torch relay route confirmed by the two sides on April 26, BOCOG pointed out that the two sides should reaffirm the four points of consensus in the new memo of the talks.

I would like to draw your attention to this: Mr. Tsai Chen-wei said that CTOC and relevant authorities have never denied the existence of the four points of consensus. However, the authorized text of the memo he had for his trip to Beijing did not include the four points of consensus. Therefore he could not sign the memo that would reaffirm the four points of consensus. He said he would have to go back to Taiwan to ask for instructions.

However, after Mr. Tsai Chen-wei returned to Taiwan, the Taiwan authorities created new hurdles, flagrantly denied the four points of consensus, and in particular, rampantly played up the fourth point of the consensus -- that is, the use of the flag, emblem, and song. On September 12, Mr. Tsai Chen-wei sent us a letter officially denying the existence of the four points of consensus.

Therefore, the main reason that the negotiations between the two sides failed is because CTOC and Taiwan authorities denied, in the last round of talks, the four-point consensus previously reached by the two sides.

BOCOG believes that the four points of consensus reached and signed by the two parties in February this year is not a new request raised by BOCOG. It is only reaffirming that for the torch relay to go to Taipei, the two sides should abide by relevant resolutions, regulations and practices of IOC, clarifying the nature of the Beijing Olympic torch relay in Taiwan and the obligations and responsibilities of the two sides.

Abiding by the Olympic Charter and the resolutions and regulations of IOC is the responsibility and obligation of every member of the IOC. So the regulations of the IOC have to be a basic condition for participating in the Olympic Torch Relay.

The Nagoya resolution passed by the IOC in 1978, the agreement reached between IOC and CTOC in Lausanne in 1981 and the agreement reached between the Chinese Olympic Committee and Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee in Hong Kong in 1989 have clear stipulations regarding the use of the title, flag, emblem and song for Taiwan to participate in the Olympic Movement. The planned route of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay in and out of Taipei is totally based on the four points of consensus in February and Mr. Tsai Chen-wei's letter of confirmation dated March 27, confirming the four points of consensus and confirming the planned routes in and out of Taipei. With regard to the allegations made by CTOC and Taiwan authorities at the beginning of September saying that BOCOG created hurdles, adding new requests and setting a new agenda, are totally groundless, and they are an excuse for creating political hurdles and destructing the torch relay in Taipei.

In order to satisfy the wishes of the people on the island to share the joy of the Olympic Flame, BOCOG, with utmost sincerity, making the utmost efforts, and having an attitude of being responsible to history, again sent a letter to CTOC on September 19 asking CTOC to confirm the four points of consensus reached on February 12 as soon as possible and to sign the memo on the torch relay in Taipei. On September 20, CTOC refused in its reply. On the same night IOC informed BOCOG that the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay will have to go ahead without a stop in Taipei.

Therefore, the plan of the torch relay in Taipei that had been confirmed by CTOC and approved by IOC cannot be implemented. CTOC broke its promises several times, and Taiwan authorities directly interfered in and obstructed the process. It is a serious violation of the spirit of the Olympic Charter and relevant regulations of IOC. Facts prove that the responsibility for why the Olympic torch relay cannot go to Taipei totally lies with the Taiwan authorities.

The Olympic Flame is the highest symbol of the Olympic spirit. The Olympic Torch Relay is a celebration of human peace and friendship. Under the guidance of IOC, BOCOG is working closely with the planned relay cities around the world, widely promoting the theme of "One World, One Dream," upholding the torch relay concept that is "a journey of harmony" to make the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay a complete success.

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