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Last Updated: Friday, 6 August, 2004, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Taiwan-China row reaches Olympics
Olympics flag
Taiwan's flag is banned from the games
Taiwan has accused China of mixing politics with sport ahead of the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

Taiwan's government says it has been told to remove adverts for the island from hundreds of airport baggage carts and buses in Athens.

A spokesman said he suspected the order was a result of China lobbying the Athens organising committee.

China sees Taiwan as its territory, and tries to block the island from taking part in international events.

According to a BBC correspondent in Taiwan, Caroline Gluck, Taiwanese officials say the publicity campaign was aimed at attracting world attention to the island's existence as a vibrant and prosperous democracy.

It had spent around $300,000 on the campaign, which it called "Taiwan On the Starting Line", with adverts placed on luggage carts at Athens international airport and posters on buses and outdoor billboards.

But our correspondent says the authorities are now seeking legal advice after being told, through an advertising contractor in Greece, that the International Olympic Committee had called for the adverts to be removed.

Taiwanese officials said the publicity campaign was non-political and within the regulations laid down by the International Olympic Committee.

Government spokesman Lin Chia-lung said officials were seeking further clarification, but he told a news conference that he suspected China was trying to pressurise Taiwan.

Under pressure from China, Taiwan participates in the Olympics under the name of Chinese Taipei, and its national flag and anthem cannot be used when its athletes win medals.


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