Taiwan has accused China of bullying after organisers of the World Cup in Qatar listed the nationality of Taiwanese visitors applying for an identification card as “Chinese Taipei”.
All World Cup ticket holders must apply for the Hayya card used to identify fans, which also serves as their Qatar visa, but Taiwan’s government originally expressed concern after discovering the online application system made no mention of the island.
It was subsequently listed as “Taiwan, Province of China”, terminology that angers Taiwan’s government and many of its people, and then changed again to just “Taiwan”, earning praise from the government in Taipei.
However, the listing has changed again, to “Chinese Taipei”, the name Taiwan uses to compete in most international sporting events like the Olympics to avoid political problems.
China’s foreign ministry expressed its “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”.
The one-China principle formally declares Beijing’s claim over Taiwan as a province. Among nations which have formal ties with China, many have their own one-China policy which dictates the level of recognition afforded to Beijing’s principle. Some recognise the Taiwan claim, while others, like the US, only acknowledge that Beijing holds it.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned the move on Monday, saying organisers were “unable to strictly reject the intervention of improper political forces”.
China engaged in “bullying”, and “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 added.
There was no immediate response to requests for comment from the World Cup organisers or Qatar’s government communications office.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only that the island’s people can decide their own future.
China, seeking to assert its sovereignty claims, has stepped up pressure for countries and foreign companies to refer to Taiwan as part of China in official documents and on websites, with phrasing such as “Taiwan, Province of China”, or “Taiwan, China”.
Taiwan has never played at the World Cup finals and crashed out in the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 tournament last year after losing all eight matches.
Taiwan has no diplomatic relations with Qatar, which, like most countries, only recognises China’s government.