China will not attend the opening ceremony of the Summer Deaflympics in Taipei, the organizer said yesterday, hinting that it had something to do with the visit of the Dalai Lama.
Emile Sheng (盛治仁), chief executive of the Taipei Deaflympics Organizing Committee, said that as the Chinese team would not arrive until 9:40pm on Saturday, they would not be able to attend the opening ceremony, which is scheduled for 7:30pm.
The Deaflympics will be held from Saturday through Sept. 15. This will be the first time the event is held in Asia.
Asked whether Beijing’s decision had anything to do with the Dalai Lama’s visit, Sheng said he was not sure, but that he had “admiration for Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu [陳菊]” because Chen went to China to promote the World Games in Kaohsiung before the event was held in July.
“Now Chen even remembered to invite the Dalai Lama over before the Deaflympics begin,” he said.
Sheng said he was notified of the flight schedule of the 100-member Chinese team three days ago. Although the Chinese team will not attend the opening ceremony, China will nevertheless send a dance troupe of hearing-impaired individuals to perform the Thousand-hand Guanyin (千手觀音).
Despite the devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot and growing threat of swine flu, Sheng said everything would proceed as planned in the spirit of the Deaflympics.
AND THE CLOSING?
On whether the Chinese team would attend the closing ceremony, Sheng said he did not know, but he was certain there would still be some members in Taiwan when it takes place, as the team is scheduled to leave the country on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16.
As for the name the country’s team will use, Sheng said it would be “Chinese Taipei,” the name the nation has used since 1991 when it was admitted into the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.
The country will also use the flag of the Chinese Taipei Sports Association of the Deaf at the Games.
On the teams’ order of appearance during the opening ceremony, Sheng said that France would lead the procession, in keeping with International Committee of Sports for the Deaf protocol.
France was the first country to sponsor the Deaflympics.
As the host, the Taiwanese team will appear last, Sheng said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday urged Chen to stop her “political calculations,” saying her plot was “evident” to some. Wu also called on the Democratic Progressive Party to stop creating problems for cross-strait relations.
Blaming the Dalai Lama for the Chinese team’s absence at the opening ceremony is ridiculous and the tactic of some politically biased media, the DPP said yesterday, rebutting the KMT’s reasoning for the boycott.
That Taipei City failed to reach an agreement with Beijing, which resulted in the boycott, is completely unrelated to the Dalai Lama’s visit, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.
Cheng said that during the World Games, the Chinese team also boycotted the opening and closing ceremonies.
The Chinese team’s boycott at the Deaflympics ceremony is a result of Taipei City’s inability to get Beijing to say yes, Cheng said.
The Deaflympics is one of four games regulated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Its events are similar to those of the Olympic Games and are governed by the same rules.
The 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei are expected to bring together about 4,000 athletes and sports officials from 101 countries.
The Games will feature 20 sports, namely athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, handball, orienteering, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo, freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, karate, judo and taekwondo.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
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