After NBC Sports’ broadcast showed a map of China without Taiwan and the South China Sea – both disputed territories of China – the Chinese Consulate General in New York took to social media to protest the decision.
“Using a wrong map of China is a real lack of common sense,” wrote the Consulate General on Twitter and Instagram. “Politicizing sports and violating the Olympics Charter spirits will only do harm to the Olympic Games and the relationship between the Chinese and the US people.”
In an official Chinese statement, the Consulate General went one step further, accusing NBC of hurting “the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people.”
“We urge the NBC to recognize the serious nature of this problem and take measures to correct the error,” the statement declared, warning that “attempts to use the Olympic Games to play political ‘tricks’ and [for] self-promotion to achieve ulterior goals will never succeed.”
The Chinese Global Times newspaper also condemned NBC’s map display in an editorial on Saturday, claiming that, “for a long time, NBC has been vicious to China,” and pointing out other instances of what it alleged to be anti-Chinese bias, including Japanese broadcaster NHK referring to the “Chinese Taipei” Olympic team as “Taiwan.”
“In general, we need to keep our eyes open. We hope experts on Olympic issues can actively join in to assess the various suspicious acts pointed out by netizens in a timely manner,” the newspaper concluded, accusing “Japanese forces” of “attempting to take advantage of the Olympics to engage in political conspiracies” and play “dirty tricks.”
NBC, the official US broadcaster of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters on the matter.
Though Taiwan has sought a level of independence and self-governance from mainland China, Beijing maintains that the island is still Chinese territory.
The US has not formally recognized Taiwan as an independent country, but has also not hidden its apparent support for Taiwanese independence. President Joe Biden’s administration has ramped up its diplomacy with Taiwan – further straining Washington’s relationship with Beijing – with an unofficial delegation of US diplomats visiting the island in April despite the US’ official policy of working with Taiwan only through mainland China.
In late June, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “the complete reunification of the motherland” and “solving the Taiwan question,” expressing his support for “resolutely smashing any ‘Taiwan independence’ plots.” Xi also warned foreign countries against trying to “bully, oppress, or subjugate” China, claiming that the time of his nation being bullied by foreign powers was “gone forever.”
Tensions between the US and China have also been high due to disputes over the South China Sea, which was absent from NBC’s map of China, too.
After Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared this month that the US stands with China’s opponents in the South China Sea territory dispute, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called it “extremely irresponsible of the US to deliberately provoke controversy over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea” and to “sow discord among China and ASEAN countries.”
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