Taipei Times: Tuesday, May 01, 2007, Page 8 - Beijing's announcement on Friday that the Olympic torch would arrive in Taipei from Vietnam before traveling on to Hong Kong was nothing more than a politically motivated scheme to sabotage Taiwan's sovereignty.
The route announced by Beijing implied that Taiwan was part of a Chinese "domestic route" largely because the next stop after Taipei was to be Hong Kong, which is officially known as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
The Taiwanese government's immediate rejection of the route as politically motivated was understandable.
However, the administration of President Chen Shui-bian must come up with more effective measures and strategies in order to counteract Beijing's so-called "Olympic diplomacy."
Beijing's scheme to use next year's Summer Olympics to push forward its international campaign of "peaceful development" and "building a harmonious global society" has both international and domestic implications.
The Chinese leaders are using the Olympics to distract international attention from growing domestic problems such as the public unrest that has accompanied the country's rapid economic growth, the corruption of public officials and the unequal distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) is also relying on the Olympics to stir more Chinese nationalism in order to further consolidate his position as president.
Chinese leaders hope that the Summer Olympics will affirm that the country is well on its way to recovering its past glory and rebuilding its status as a great power.
As for Taiwan, China will use the Olympics as an opportunity to attempt to propagate its fantasy of "a unified China."
Taiwan must work diligently and continuously to counteract China's misleading Olympic propaganda.
The Chinese government has already attempted to fault Taiwan for rejecting the torch route by claiming that Taipei had politicized what should be a purely sporting event.
Taiwan needs to make its side of the issue known to avoid being labeled by the international community as a troublemaker, even in the athletic arena.
Furthermore, Taiwan should utilize all resources available to remind the world of Beijing's military ambitions, abuses of religious freedom and human rights violations.
Others have already sounded warning's about Chinese abuses.
US actress Mia Farrow has called for Beijing to take responsibility for doing nothing to oppose the Sudanese government's ethnic cleansing campaign in Darfur.
French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou publicly pledged that if elected, he would place more pressure on Beijing to stop the genocide in Darfur.
Members of Falun Gong work tirelessly to remind the world of China's attempts to crush the organization.
Taiwan needs to join these voices to ensure that China truly becomes the "responsible stakeholder" it claims to be.
While millions of eyes are focused on the Summer Olympics' sporting events, Beijing will seize the opportunity to convince the world that it has evolved in a democratic and civilized manner.
Taiwan needs to mobilize all available resources to debunk this fallacy. It needs to show the international community that behind the glossy facade of the Olympics, China's many faults remain.
Liu Kuan-teh is a Taipei-based political commentator.