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Taiwan World Cup fans likely listed as Chinese

18 Jun 2022 | 08:24 | Football


People attend an event marking "200 days to go" ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar May 6, 2022. REUTERS / Imad Creidi

People attend an event marking the “200 days to go” ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Doha, Qatar May 6, 2022. REUTERS / Imad Creidi

DOHA/TAIPEI — An identity card that doubles as an entry visa for the World Cup in Qatar is likely to list Taiwanese fans from China, a senior Qatari official said Tuesday, after the island complained that its citizens could not register as Taiwanese.

The issue is extremely sensitive for democratically administered Taiwan, which has emerged in the face of China’s claims to it, and especially the giant neighbor’s efforts to claim sovereignty over it. Taiwanese citizens are Chinese citizens.

Qatar World Cup officials have repeatedly said all nationalities are welcome during the tournament. All ticket holders must apply for a Hayya fan identification card, which also serves as their entry visa to Qatar.

But the app’s drop-down menu doesn’t mention Taiwan, or even the term “Chinese Taipei,” under which Taiwan competes in most international sporting events to avoid problems. political topic.

The contact form for inquiries also does not allow the entry of international dialing codes for Taiwan.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said Taiwan’s representative office in Saudi Arabia, which oversees Qatar, was trying to figure out what was going on.

“At the moment, we are still waiting for a response from the relevant authority in Qatar,” she added.

Saeed Al-Kuwari, Hayya program director for the Qatar World Cup organizing committee, told reporters he “believes” the card system’s ability to list “China” as the nationality of Taiwanese passport holders. Loan.

“Or maybe we’ll give them something special,” he added later without elaborating.

Taiwanese passport holders should upload a copy of the document to the system without choosing a nationality from the drop-down menu, he said.

Organizers programmed the optical character recognition system to collect the right data, he added.

“So it will say whatever nationality, whatever. It will be approved and he will enter based on this information. ”

Taiwan has no diplomatic relations with Qatar, which, like most countries, only recognizes the government of China.

China, seeking to assert its claims, has been pressuring foreign countries and companies to consider Taiwan part of China in official documents and on the Internet. websites.

Taiwan has never made it to the World Cup finals and was eliminated in the second qualifying round of the Asian nations for the 2022 tournament last year after losing all eight matches.

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