How Does a Loser Win?

Taiwan and global sport

Authored by: Tzu-hsuan Chen

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679


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This chapter examines Taiwan, or the Republic of China, a political entity not recognised by the UN since 1971, and the appropriation of sport in the pursuit of global visibility. Not only isolated from the political world (only 22 entities have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan) but also a fringe member of the sport world, participating since 1981 under the compromised and bizarre name of ‘Chinese Taipei’, Taiwan’s main obstacle to the world lies just across the Taiwan Strait. The People’s Republic of China (henceforth, China) and Taiwan have a very complex relationship. To put it in an extremely concise fashion, they are, on the one hand, linguistically, racially and culturally intimate, and economically interdependent, yet politically opposite and militarily hostile to each other. Taiwan, a political loser, appropriated sport as a means by which to contrast itself with China, along with Japan and the US, its significant others, for the construction of a national identity.

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