More often than not, it is China who is singled out as the bully when Taiwan and its people encounter injustice and ill-treatment on the international stage and at international events.
It therefore came as no surprise when Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) on Tuesday said Chinese pressure was behind taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun’s (楊淑君) decision to drop her appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport over her controversial disqualification from the Asian Games in China last year.
Some Taiwanese are quick to direct their fury at China, but now consider the case closed. However, simply blaming China should not mean it is the end of the story.
Indeed, from clandestine sabotage and blatant assaults to Chinese competitors verbally attacking Taiwanese competitors and ripping national flags from the hands of Taiwanese medalists, the list describing China’s alleged harassment of Taiwanese athletes is long. Considering its long-standing ambition to annex Taiwan and its attempts to belittle Taiwan at every juncture, China clearly is the usual suspect, and rightly so.
It is easy to pin the blame on China and to point the finger at international organizations and members of the international community who are so cowardly that they yield to China’s bullying and choose to comply with China’s schemes and trickery in degrading Taiwan. However, it is even more despicable when the ones allegedly toeing Beijing’s line are those who Taiwan calls its own.
Sadly, this appears to be what lies behind Yang’s surprise announcement last week.
According to the letter Gao publicized on Tuesday, which he said was written by Chinese sports official Wei Jizhong (魏紀中) and addressed to former Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee chairman Chang Feng-shu (張豐緒), Taiwan was advised to “weigh its options” in the appeal and give consideration to what chance it had of winning the case.
In all fairness, Wei’s letter, dated Dec. 22, could very well be read as simply stating China’s view on the issue, including the view that Taiwan may be blaming the wrong parties — namely, the Olympic Council of Asia and the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee.
Some are determined to link the Chinese official’s letter to the reasons behind Yang’s decision, but China cannot truly threaten or force Yang into making such a decision unless there is an organization or people who serve as China’s agents in Taiwan that coerced her into it. Yang would have been more likely to drop the appeal if the Sports Affairs Council pulled its support for her.
As former president of the Chinese Taipei Taekwondo Association, Chen Chien-ping (陳建平) disclosed that Yang has several times told him in tears that she feared for the safety of her family if she did not drop the appeal. If this is true, it is reasonable to believe that she made her decision under duress.
It is one thing to be bullied by others; it is another to be let down by the ones you consider your own. There is nothing more disheartening and demoralizing than knowing the people who are supposed to be standing by you are giving up the fight.
It is little wonder that Yang, after saying that she was withdrawing the appeal in order to focus on her training for the 2012 London Olympic Games, is reportedly now considering dropping out of the London Games altogether.