Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday urged the public to treat Chinese athletes attending the upcoming World Games with friendship and demonstrate the maturity of Taiwan’s democracy.
“I believe Taiwanese are mature enough,” the mayor of the city hosting the Games said in an interview with SET-TV yesterday. “This is very important because the world will be watching us [during the Games].”
That being said, she would respect freedom of expression of different political opinions because Taiwan is a democracy, Chen said.
The World Games will be held in Kaohsiung from July 16 to July 26. The eighth World Games, expected to attract participants from 105 countries and areas, with 4,000 athletes representing 90 nationalities, is seen as an event that can increase the nation’s international visibility.
Chen also vowed to ensure the safety of all athletes during the event, adding the city government and the National Police Agency had been exchanging anti-terrorism information with other nations.
Meanwhile, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) has agreed to Kaohsiung’s request for the central government to provide 600 military police to maintain security during the Games.
Chen said she hoped President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be able to attend and preside over the opening ceremony of the Games because the president symbolizes the nation’s sovereignty, but that the city government needed to discuss it with the International World Games Association (IWGA).
Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang (莊啟旺) said in May that the city government had invited Ma to preside over the opening ceremony, but that the organizers had received a letter on April 1 from IWGA president Ron Froehlich saying that no head of state of any country had presided over the opening of the Games in its history.
The letter stated that all seven previous Games were opened by the president of the IWGA or his proxy. At the time, the IWGA said it would invite Ma as a “special guest.”