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Tue, Nov 27, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Athletes will be permitted to go to China


Basketball players hoping to become the next Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese athlete to play in the NBA, will soon be allowed to pursue their careers in China.

So, too, will other sports professionals. The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) lifted a ban yesterday that prevented Taiwanese athletes from developing their careers across the Strait.

"Considering Taiwan doesn't have many professional sports leagues, we have decided to allow Taiwanese athletes to develop their careers in China," Chen Min-tong (陳明通), MAC vice chairman, said yesterday.

The new measure was put forth by the the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and approved by the MAC.

Under the plan, athletes, coaches and referees will be permitted to develop their professional careers in China -- though sports teams will remain banned.

In the initial stage, Chen said, only selected individual athletes, coaches, referees and other officially specified sports personnel will be allowed to travel to China to seek new careers.

Those who have previously played for Chinese sports teams must wait until six months after the new rules have been put into effect by the Cabinet.

In October, a Taiwan-based ba-sketball team moved to Suzhou, sending shockwaves through the sports community. The MAC had attempted to prevent the team's departure.

Under the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, Taiwanese organizations, institutions and individuals are not allowed to participate in Chinese organizations without government permission.

Meanwhile, the MAC yesterday also decided to draw up new guidelines to help improve the operation of schools for the children of Taiwanese businessmen that live in China.

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