Pan-green camp lawmakers on Sunday accused a cross-strait baseball tournament of being part of China’s “united front” strategy after a banner that read “both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family” was hung on the field at the opening game of the finals of the first Cross-Strait Student Baseball League tournament hosted in Shenzhen on Friday.
Although the baseball tournament ended on Sunday, the Taiwanese teams were scheduled to visit Tencent Holdings Ltd, Dajiang Innovation Technology Co, Shenzhen Talent Park, Shenzhen Bay Sports Center and other places yesterday and today, the Web site of the Shenzhen People’s Government said, adding that the host organization also arranged a photography exhibition, welcoming party, forum, cross-strait school exchange and other activities.
New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that the baseball association should bear the brunt of the blame for letting Taiwanese players become political tools in China’s “united front” strategy and for giving Chinese media an opportunity to promote the “both sides of the Strait are one family” view without restraint.
China is not a top-tier nation in baseball and positive effects on Taiwanese baseball from the tournament would be limited, Hsu said.
The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association should not go along with China, he said, adding that the Sports Administration should investigate whether the association accepted financial aid and whether it reported issues to the government in advance.
“The government should clearly standardize the guidelines for cross-strait sports exchanges,” Hsu added.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the tournament was a fake exchange as part of China’s “united front” strategy.
Lin echoed Hsu’s criticism of the association, saying that it is incapable of maintaining the basic dignity of Taiwanese.
After Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was sentenced to five years in prison, “who would still want to be ‘one family’ with China?” Lin asked.
The tournament is considered a cross-strait technical exchange, Chinese Taipei Baseball Association secretary-general Kung Fu-hao said, adding that it aims to mutually improve skills and does not involve politics.
Taiwan and China held an exchange tournament eight years ago, Kung said.
Because the two sides speak the same language and Taiwan is more skilled in baseball, China hopes to use this tournament to improve, he said.
Because the US and Japan are more skilled, Taiwan often competes against the two nations to identify its weaknesses, Kung said, adding that the cross-strait tournament had a similar starting point.
According to Chinese media, the event was attended by 785 athletes, referees and government officials.
Apart from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) of the KMT also attended the opening ceremony, the reports said.
Zhang was quoted as saying that he hopes the tournament can be organized every year.
The 16 participating Taiwanese schools — consisting of colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools — included Chung Yuan Christian University, Shih Hsin University, National Taiwan University and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology.
Chinese media reported that the tournament was organized by the Cross-Straits Baseball Exchange and Cooperation Committee, which was coestablished by the Federation of University Sports of Beijing Baseball and Softball Branch and the “Chinese Taipei Baseball Association” (中華台北棒球協會).
The “Chinese Taipei Baseball Association” was also a cosponsor in name, Chinese media reports added.
Hsu added that the name Chinese media used to refer to Taiwan’s baseball association was not its official Chinese name, which literally reads “Baseball Association of the Republic of China” (中華民國棒球協會).
Kung said that the tournament followed the Olympic model.
Additional reporting by Lo Chih-ming
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