Earlier this year, the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada suffered a huge diplomatic embarrassment at the inauguration of a US$40 million China-financed stadium built as a gift from Beijing when its police band decided it would perform the Taiwan anthem instead of the March of the Volunteers.
This time, Japan has repeated the gaffe by playing the Taiwanese anthem at the ongoing Asia men’s basketball championship in Tokushima. From the IHT:
A Japanese diplomat in Beijing was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Friday and received a “stern representation” over the incident, Xinhua said.
“China expresses strong protest and demands the Japanese side to immediately take effective measures to remove this vile influence and avoid similar events from happening again,” the report said.
No prizes for guessing which anthem is going to be played next year at the Beijing Olympics if and when a Taiwanese athlete gets the gold medal! At the Athens Olympics in 2004, “Chinese Taipei” managed to bring home two golds, two silvers and a bronze and there is a good chance of them repeating the feat again.
At international sports meets, however, it is not the Three Principles of the People (三民主义), which is the official Taiwanese anthem that is played but rather the National Banner Song (国旗歌), which according to Wikipedia at least, is much “less controversial than the national anthem, in part because it is less partisan in nature (since the national anthem was also first the Kuomintang party song)”.
One wonders if the status quo will be maintained at the Olympics next year or if China will decide to play the March of the Volunteers instead. We have a feeling next year is going to be a very interesting year!
Shanghaiist: Grenada thanks China for new stadium with a rendition of Taiwan anthem
IHT: China protests to Japan over playing of Taiwanese national anthem
The Hindu: China protests Japan over playing national anthem of Taiwan
Photo from mamapop_maiko.