Sat, May 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ko to discuss flags at Universiade

’CONTINGENCY’:Groups were incensed at a brochure by the Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee that equated ROC flag bearers to Islamic State militants

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, center, and Chunghwa Telecom chairman Cheng Yu, right, speak in a question-and-answer session after a news conference about the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Chien Jung-Fong, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would work out a solution “that everyone can accept” with the International University Sports Federation on whether spectators at the Taipei Summer Universiade in August can bring the Republic of China (ROC) flag to sports venues to cheer for the national team.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Thursday reported that a brochure printed by the Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee on maintaining order during the Games has listed “pro-localization or pro-independence group members” who bring ROC flags to the sporting events as a “contingency” that could arise during the Universiade alongside Islamic State militants.

“People who strongly support localization or independence might exploit the public’s ignorance about the Olympic model and look for trouble by brandishing the national flag,” the brochure said.

Pro-independence group 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign on Thursday staged a protest in front of Taipei City Hall to decry the city’s attachment of the “terrorist” label to pro-independence groups.

Group office director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) demanded that Ko apologize for equating Taiwanese independence advocates to Islamic State militants, saying the comparison was an insult and slander against them.

Pro-independence groups have never acted provocatively or caused any trouble, Chen said.

He said that pro-independence groups have thrown eggs during protests before, adding sarcastically that Ko could not even tell eggs from bombs.

The city government should scrap the brochures and ensure the new ones are free of such mistakes, or he would dog Ko wherever he goes, Chen said.

Ko yesterday said the president of the International University Sports Federation is to visit Taiwan soon, and that he would have the committee bring the issue to a meeting with the president.

Although Taipei’s bid to host the universiade was secured during former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) term, Ko was asked to sign a letter of agreement promising that the Universiade would be organized according to the Olympic model.

Despite saying last year that the Olympic model allows spectators to bring the national flag, Ko yesterday said the nation’s sovereignty is a complicated issue.

The committee would broach the topic in a meeting with federation delegates to learn about their views, he added.

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