Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Taipei schools express concern over Chinese flags

By Mo Yan-chih and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Two municipal schools in Taipei City assigned to cheer for the Chinese team in the Deaflympics expressed concerns yesterday about hanging China’s national flag in their schools and having students wave the flags.

A total of 36,000 students from 88 junior high and elementary schools in Taipei City have been assigned to welcome and cheer for teams taking part in the Deaflympics. Taipei’s Hongdao Junior High School and Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired were chosen to cheer for the Chinese team.

Chen Ching-jen (陳金珍), principal of Hongdao Junior High School, said the school decided not to hang the flags in front of the school to prevent controversy.

“I was kind of surprised when I learned that our school was assigned to cheer for the Chinese team,” she said.

Lee Rong-hui (李榮輝), principal of Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired, said he refused to take the Chinese flags to the school. Students would use sign language to welcome the Chinese athletes instead, he said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday declined to comment on the flag issue, while saying that he would not visit the Chinese team after the athletes arrives in Taipei tomorrow night.

The Chinese will arrive in Taiwan at about 9:30pm tomorrow, skipping the opening ceremony.

Hau also declined to comment on China’s boycott of the opening ceremony, only saying the Chinese would not be the last team to arrive in Taipei for the Games.

Hau said the Deaflympics’ security measures are divided into three categories: A, B and C, with A being the strictest security measures.

Teams from countries with “special backgrounds,” such as China, Israel and the US, will be protected with A-level security measures, he said.

Meanwhile, Emile Sheng (盛治仁), chief executive officer of the Taipei Organizing Committee of the Deaflympics, said yesterday that the Chinese delegation should have enough time to attend the closing ceremony, but the decision was up to them.

The opening ceremony will also most likely be held on schedule even if it rains, he added. A rehearsal on Wednesday had to be suspended because of heavy rain.

Tomorrow night’s opening ceremony will welcome more than 5,000 athletes and staffers from 91 countries.

Sheng said the Chinese team will leave Taiwan one day after the closing ceremony.

“I cannot speak for the Chinese team,” said Sheng, when asked if they would also boycott the closing ceremony on Sept 15.

On Monday while speaking at a press conference, Sheng insinuated that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan had deterred the Chinese team from attending the opening ceremony to be presided over by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

All Deaflympic participants are required to have their temperature taken daily and anyone who develops a fever or displays flu symptoms will receive medical attention, Sheng added.

In related news, organizers misspelled Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) name in the media handbook passed out by the committee. Instead of “Lung,” the second character was spelled “Laung.”

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