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"Taiwan Friends of Tibet" regrets IOC decision

December 14, 2007

Radio Taiwan International
12 December 2007

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is refusing to allow Tibet to
field its own athletes at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The IOC says that only countries recognized by the international
community and the IOC can compete in the games.

China considers Tibet as part of its territory, and strongly opposes any
perceived moves toward independence.

The head of the non-governmental organization Taiwan Friends of Tibet,
Chou Mei-li, says that the decision is understandable but regrettable.

"We feel that the real goal of the Olympics is to allow all peoples the
opportunity to peacefully participate in the games," said Chou.

Chou said that supporters of Tibet from around the world are preparing
to hold a Tibet human rights torch relay to coincide with the next
year's Olympic torch relay.

Meanwhile, Beijing Olympics officials have posted a message on their web
page to explain why Taiwan is allowed to field its own team, while Tibet
is not.
That’s because, the message says, Taiwan’s team -- called Chinese Taipei
-- was formulated prior to 1996, when the IOC began limiting
participation to internationally-recognized countries.
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