Thu, Apr 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Sports head under pressure to take a stance on rights

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Legislators yesterday pressured Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu (林德福) to take a tougher stance on speaking up for Taiwanese rights, freedom of expression and for fans’ enthusiasm cheering of the nation’s athletes at this year’s Taipei Summer Universiade.

Lin, appearing at the Education and Culture Committee, said that 49 of the planned 53 Taipei Universiade competition sites have been completed.

He praised Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) for doing a good job of drumming up publicity for the Games, which are to be held from Aug. 19 to 30.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) asked Lin to stand up for Taiwanese rights and freedom of expression, and to allow fans to wave national flags, write slogans and display other items to create a lively atmosphere at the event.

“We understand the need to balance freedom of expression and following regulations,” Wu said, “but, as the Universiade Games are being held here in our nation, I do not see how officials can stop our fans from using our national flag at venues to cheer on competitors.”

Lin said he had spoken with International University Sports Federation officials, who are in charge of Universiade events, and they said that general political slogans are prohibited.

“We have to follow the ‘Olympic model’ for international competitions,” he added.

However, Wu said that regulations for Univsersiade events and most international tournaments do not apply to ticket-holding spectators.

She said that many fans attending the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung displayed the national flag and wore clothing and headwear with patriotic symbols and that event went ahead without major problems.

“Spectators will be permitted to display the national flag at Univsersiade events,” Lin said.

Wu showed the committee a Bravo Bear (熊讚) official Taipei Universiade mascot wearing a national flag and the slogan “Taiwan is Taiwan” (台灣就是台灣).

“This is what some Taiwanese fans will bring to the Games to cheer for our nation’s athletes. Do you think this is political slogan,” Wu asked.

“Where do you draw the line? What if some people are concerned about human rights in China, and they put on Bravo Bear with the slogan ‘Release Lee Ming-che (李明哲),’ can they do that?” he asked.

Other DPP legislators said Lin should designate protest zones outside Games venues, as a number of activist groups plan to hold demonstrations to demand “Taiwan” is used at domestic and international sporting events instead of “Chinese Taipei.”

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