Taiwan told to remove flag before Le Mans

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A Taiwanese team competing in the Le Mans 24-hour race was told to remove its national flag from its car and replace it with its Olympic version.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, team owner Morris Chen received a request from race organisers to replace Taiwan’s flag before the race started on yesterday.

The request came after Chinese tech giant Tencent chose not to live stream the event because a “racing team from Taiwan, China, used the non-Olympic flag on their car hood”, CNA quoted a message posted on Chinese social network Weibo as saying.

China regards Taiwan has long regarded Taiwan as its own territory and has previously made promises to seize it. Taiwan must often compete under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’ and is not allowed to use its own flag or national anthem at the Olympics and other major sporting events.

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The #23 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson of Paul di Resta, Alex Lynn, and Wayne Boyd in action at Le Mans. (Getty)

It means international bodies that don’t adhere to China’s preferred name for Taiwan risk angering the former and being blocked from its lucrative market.

Le Mans race organisers, The Automobile Club de l’Ouest said it “reserves the right to ask competitors to use the IOC (Olympic) banner in order not to open any political debate.”

“In perfect agreement with the team concerned, the IOC flag was on the car,” the club told AFP in a statement.

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