Mon, Jul 28, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet trio to attend Olympics

STATUS SYMBOL The three officials will be issued National Olympic Committee cards like dignitaries from other countries, so there will be no question about their status

By Rich Chang and Loa Iok-Sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Three Cabinet officials will attend the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in their capacity as Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) advisers.

The Beijing-bound trio are Sports Affairs Council (SAC) Chairwoman Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡), Minister without Portfolio Ovid Tseng (曾志朗) and Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城), Sports Affairs Council Vice Chairman Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟) said yesterday.

The three will be issued National Olympic Committee (NOC) cards, just like dignitaries from other countries who have been invited to attend the Games, so there will be no disputes over the status of Taiwanese officials, Lin said.

As a result of Chinese intervention, in the past the IOC issued the less prestigious “Gt” cards to Taiwanese officials invited to attend the Olympics, whereas officials from other countries received “G” cards.

This time, all attending officials from participating countries will be issued NOC cards.

CTOC Chairman Tsai Chen-wei (蔡辰威) and CTOC Secretary-General Chen Kuo-yi (陳國儀) will also attend the Games with NOC cards, Lin said.

Lin said that Tai will head to Beijing on Aug. 7 with Taiwan’s Olympic team, while Tseng and Cheng are scheduled to leave on Aug. 8.

Tseng told reporters he has kept in touch with the SAC and that the council’s officials will brief him on the Olympics so that he can gain a better understanding of developments at the event.

Government Information Office Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平) yesterday said the Cabinet has formed a supra-ministerial task force to deal with various contingencies involving China’s possible downgrading of Taiwan’s status during the Olympics.

In related news, a 102-member Aboriginal performance group led by Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) is set to depart today for Beijing to perform at the opening night of the Games.

“We take great pride in the beautiful cultures of Taiwan’s Aboriginal tribes,” Chin told a press conference in Taipei yesterday. “We’re very excited that more than 4 billion television viewers will be able to see the beauty of Taiwanese Aboriginal culture on the opening night of the Beijing Olympics.”

The performance group includes members of the Bunun, Puyuma, Atayal, Rukai, Tao, Kavalan and Paiwan tribes.

“Although not all tribes are represented, we’ve actually blended elements from all 14 tribes into our dances,” Chin said.

To better present what true Aboriginal cultures are like, “we have decided not to have professional performers. Rather, we have searched out talented non-professionals from Aboriginal communities across the country,” she said.

Chin said that she received an invitation from organizers of the Olympics in January, asking her to organize a Taiwanese Aboriginal performance group.

Chin said she was not worried about the controversy over the name used by Taiwan’s delegation to the Beijing Games.

“We’ve talked to the Beijing organizers about it and we both agreed that we will be called Taiwanese Aborigines,” Chin said. “Taiwanese Aborigines are Taiwanese Aborigines, we’re not Han Chinese, and no other name is applicable to us.”

China claims Taiwanese Aborigines as one of China’s 56 minority ethnic groups under the name “Gaoshanzu” (高山族, “the mountain tribe”).

When asked how the group would react if China presented it as “Chinese Gaoshanzu,” Chin said that “this option does not exist.”

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