Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Foreign media pick up mayor’s protest over Games

By Chang Ching-ya and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung speaks to reporters in Taichung on Monday, saying he would file a petition to the East Asian Olympic Committee to restore the city’s right to host the East Asian Youth Games next year.

Photo: Huang Chung-shan, Taipei Times

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) international news conference on Monday condemning China for maneuvering to revoke the city’s right to host the first East Asian Youth Games has been picked up by foreign media outlets in the UK, Japan and Singapore.

Vowing to defend the rights of Asian nations that Chinese meddling has affected, Lin on Tuesday morning filed a petition with the East Asian Olympic Committee to restore the city’s right to host the Games in August next year.

The world needs to hear about the incident lest Taiwan’s silence be interpreted as acquiescence and damage international norms, thereby allowing Beijing to repeat its action against other Taiwanese cities or even other nations, he said.

In an article entitled “Beijing Halts Taiwanese Youth Games,” the Times of London quoted Lin as saying the decision “not only hurt the city of Taichung [and] the Taiwanese people, but also all the athletes.”

“China ... has used financial incentives to persuade several of the island’s allies to abandon it,” the report said.

Beijing also “pressured the World Peace Choral Festival to ban a Taiwanese choir from singing at the UN headquarters” on Saturday, it said.

China’s actions elicited strong protest from Taiwan and drew the attention of the international press, NHK reported.

The Games would have been the first time for Taiwan to host an Olympics-related sports event and Beijing moved to cancel the event as retaliation for a proposed referendum in Taiwan to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name “Taiwan,” instead of “Chinese Taipei,” it said.

Beijing’s aim is to prevent the international community from seeing Taiwan as a sovereign nation, similar to its recent action forcing international airlines to change references to Taiwan on their Web sites, NHK said.

Taiwan is well aware of China’s political agenda, it said.

Japan’s Sankei Shimbum said the incident has sparked growing Taiwanese criticism of China, while Kyodo News reported about Taichung protesting the cancelation.

Singaporean newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported that Lin is not abandoning Taichung’s right to host the Games, saying he is “willing to visit Beijing” to press his case and has petitioned the committee to restore the city’s right to host the event.

The decision to revoke Taichung’s right to host the Games runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic Games, Lin said in a letter to the committee.

The committee also failed to cite any contractual contravention by the city and provided no rationale for its decision, Lin wrote.

Article 24 of the host city contract stipulates that disputes should be solved amicably through negotiations, the paper quoted Lin as saying.

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