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August 23, 2017

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Olympic officials apologize over seizure of national flag

LONDON -- London Olympic officials have apologized over the rude seizure of a Republic of China national flag at the women's under 57-kilogram taekwondo event Thursday, Taiwan's representative to the United Kingdom said yesterday.

The incident occurred at the end of the bronze-medal match between Taiwan's Tseng Lin-cheng and Finland's Suvi Mikkonen, in which Tseng eventually beat her rival to clinch bronze, Taiwan's second medal at the games.

To celebrate Tseng's victory, a Taiwanese man waved a large R.O.C. flag, but it was snatched from his hands by a member of the venue's security staff.

Representative Shen Lyushun, who witnessed the incident, said that he was very surprised at the way the security officer handled the matter.

Shen said he acted immediately to protest to Olympic officials at the venue.

The security officer should have told the man to stop waving the flag instead of seizing it directly, according to Shen.

After reviewing video taken at the scene, the Olympic officials agreed that the action was improper and offered an apology, Shen said.

He said although he accepted the oral apology, he insisted there should be a written apology from the Olympic organizers over the incident.

Due to Beijing's opposition, Taiwan competes in the Olympics and other international sporting events under the official moniker "Chinese Taipei," and uses the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag in place of its national flag.

The model was established based on an agreement signed in 1981 between Taiwan and the International Olympic Committee.

Taiwan recently reached an understanding with organizers of the London Olympics to allow spectators to bring small R.O.C. flags into venues.

Many Taiwanese spectators, however, have ignored the restriction.

Wu Mei-ying, a Taiwan national who works in South Korea, came all the way to London to cheer on Taiwan, and brought with him a large R.O.C. flag.

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