TOUR-DE-WORLD:A man planning a pedal-powered country-hopping trip with a photographer friend aims to raise worldwide awareness of Taiwan

A railway official stands by as “Taiwan Floatman” Teddy Liao, wearing a Republic of China flag shirt, poses as a “human flag” at Wurih Train Station in Greater Taichung last year. Photo Courtesy: Teddy Liao

A Taiwanese man has decided to set out on a six-month bicycle journey around the globe, not just to see the world, but to let people know how much he loves his country.

Teddy Liao (廖宏淋), who prefers to be known by his nickname “Taiwan Floatman,” plans to wear a T-shirt printed with the Republic of China’s (ROC) national flag and perform a “human flag” maneuver in which he positions his body parallel to the ground while holding on to a pole at famous sites in various countries.

Liao, 28, who has sold his bicycle shop in Greater Taichung, said he was motivated to quit his job and travel in this unusual way because he is patriotic and is concerned about Taiwan’s unique international status.

The nation of 23 million people is not recognized as a sovereign nation by the UN because China considers it a province to be reunified with the “mainland” one day.

As a result of Beijing’s objections to Taiwan being treated as a country, Taiwan is often barred from participating in international organizations that require statehood or from using its official name — the Republic of China (ROC) — at international events. The ROC moved its seat to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party.

Despite warming ties between Taiwan and China, Taiwan is still not allowed to show its flag at international events and thus many patriotic Taiwanese make a point of showing the country’s flag in the audience sections or on the stages of sports competitions and other events.

Continue reading on Taipei Times