Fri, Aug 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet respects Chinese athletes skipping opening

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung yesterday speaks at a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times

The Cabinet yesterday said it would respect the rights of Chinese athletes if they decide not to attend the opening ceremony of the Taipei Universiade.

The Cabinet added that spectators would be allowed to carry national flags into sporting venues.

The Games are to start on Aug. 19, but Chinese athletes will reportedly abstain from participating in the opening ceremony, which is to be presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Such a decision would be fully respected and organizers cannot force anyone to join the ceremony, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

There are to be 113 Chinese athletes and 82 support staff participating in the Universiade, Sports Administration Director Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.

Spectators would be allowed to enter venues with flags and posters, as long as they do not exceed 1m by 2m, Lin said.

The Taipei Universiade is to be the largest sporting event the nation has ever held, with a total of 131 national teams, 7,639 athletes and 3,758 support staff, making it the third-largest Universiade in history in terms of the number of contestants, the Ministry of Education said, adding that events are to be held at 60 venues in five cities and counties.

More than 7,000 law enforcement officers and police trainees are to be deployed for security, with firefighters and volunteer police and firefighters expected to boost the total number of security personnel mobilized to more than 10,000, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chiu Chang-yueh (邱昌嶽) said.

The ministry is to launch a security center on Saturday next week, when the Universiade athletes’ village is to open, to prevent and deal with potential terrorist threat, attacks or protests, he added.

“The two things we are most concerned about are protests and terrorist activity, but we have made full preparations,” Chiu said.

Extra security is to be in place at accommodations for Chinese athletes to prevent conflicts, he said.

While Chinese athletes are to be accommodated in the safety of the athletes’ village, their personal activities outside of sports venues and the housing might create difficulties for security officers, he said.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) has ordered increased security and typhoon response measures during the Universiade to ensure it runs free of interruptions.

The government is to broadcast live the opening and closing ceremonies in 4K ultra-high-definition, provide Wi-Fi services on high-speed trains and exempt customs duties on sponsored sporting equipment during the Universiade, the premier has said.

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