Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Team Pages: China  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather


Click on a name for more detailed team information:

Argentina
Belgium
Brazil
Cameroon
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Rep of Ireland
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Tunisia
Turkey
USA
Uruguay

Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Taiwan lends support to China
Chinese defender Sun Jihai (L) and midfielder Li Xiaopeng (R) train with an assistant coach
Two Chinas one goal: China's team prepares

separator
space
When players from China's football team run onto the pitch in the World Cup they will be guaranteed the backing of millions of dedicated fans watching back home.

But the team's performance will also be closely monitored in Taiwan, whose population is mostly made up of ethnic Chinese.

Open Quote
A song has been released in Taiwan to support China's first-ever appearance in the World Cup
Close Quote

Despite political disagreements between Beijing and Taipei, it seems many Taiwanese are prepared to put those differences to one side when it comes to sport.

China and Taiwan currently do not have diplomatic ties - they are not even talking to each other - because of a dispute over the island's status that stretches back to 1949 when the Communists won a civil war on the mainland.

But Jules Quartly, a sports journalist for the English-language Taipei Times, said people in Taiwan still often get behind China during sporting events.

"When it came to the vote for Beijing to get the Olympics, you wouldn't have thought Taiwan would support China, but actually on the Olympic Committee the Taiwan representative did support China, and a lot of the political leaders did as well," he said.

Travelling fans

"At that time, there were demonstrations or shows of support for China, and I can see the same happening for the World Cup. If China does succeed, as they did with the Olympic bid, then there will be sense of pride in Taiwan."

Open Quote
I think this ethnic pride is still there despite the differences in national identity
Close Quote
Tseng Yen-fen, sociologist

Some fans are going to great lengths to show their support for China, including a few who are even going to watch China's first-round matches in South Korea.

One of those is Wang Hsiang, from Taoyuan. He said: "The Chinese soccer team represents ethnic Chinese people. If you support them, it's because you identify with this aspect of the team."

A song has also been released in Taiwan by singer Gai An-le to support China's first-ever appearance in the World Cup.

In the song, entitled My Heart Is Your Good Friend (A song for China's World Cup fans), the singer claims the China team's happiness is his "eternal desire".

Sociologist Tseng Yen-fen of National Taiwan University said Taiwanese often supported China's sporting achievements because the islanders are also themselves ethnic Chinese.

Olympic pride

"Some Taiwanese don't identify politically with the People's Republic of China, but in a general sense they will say they are ethnic Chinese," she said, adding Taiwanese people today are mainly descendants of immigrants from the mainland.

Open Quote
I'm not that interested, but of course I'd be proud if China wins some matches
Close Quote
Taiwan resident

"I think that might serve as motivation for Taiwanese people to support China if they do well in the World Cup."

Tseng recalled how even some of her pro-Taiwan independence friends celebrated when athletes from China won gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

She said: "They jumped up and down, cheered and felt so happy about the achievement, so I think this ethnic pride is still there despite the differences in national identity."

Of course, on an island where baseball and basketball are the most popular sports, football generally takes a back seat and there is not much visible support for China.

And when asked who they will be supporting in the World Cup, many football fans will name more glamorous teams, such as Brazil, Argentina and Italy.

But those claiming to support other teams in the football tournament nevertheless admit they would feel proud if China did well, particularly if the team does better than expected.

One person summed up the mood when he said: "I don't really follow football so I'm not that interested, but of course I'd be proud if China wins some matches".

RELATED STORIES
INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
CHINA
 TEAMS
 CHINA
Full coverage:
News and
features
Lineker's verdict
Statistics pages
World Cup so far
Have Your Say
BBCChinese.com
 SQUAD PROFILES
 RESULTS/REPORTS

GROUP C
  P GD PTS
BRAZIL 3 +8 9
TURKEY 3 +2 4
COSTA RICA 3 -1 4
CHINA 3 -9 0

 WATCH/LISTEN
 BBC SPORT BULLETINS
 OUR BEST AUDIO
More Audio/Video




© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy