Wed, Nov 21, 2018 - Page 3 News List

China using the global stage to diminish Taiwan

By Yimou Lee  /  Reuters, TAIPEI

All Taiwan wanted to do was to host rugby teams from around the region for a series of matches. Instead, Chinese representatives challenged its proposal this summer, saying that China should take over.

After a month of negotiations, the two agreed to take turns hosting the games over the next six years.

Rugby is a minor sport in both places, but diplomats and officials say the spat illustrates China’s willingness to swipe at Taiwan over the pettiest of points.

“They want to entirely block our sporting events. If we are to host one, they will either try to kill it or try to take the hosting rights from you,” Chinese Taipei Rugby Football Union general secretary Jeremy Pai (白維文) said.

The Chinese Rugby Football Association said the challenge simply aimed to promote rugby in China and had no political motivation.

From a painted-over flag in Australia, to the revocation of an Olympics-related event and the sudden absence of two Chinese players in a golf competition, China is using the international stage to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan.

“China is willing to break international norms to pursue its narrow interests,” said a person with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named.

In May, a Republic of China flag students painted on a statue at an Australian festival was covered by authorities after Chinese diplomats in Brisbane reported a “problem.”

“The Australian government’s agreement with China is that Australia does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country,” Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow wrote in a statement after the incident.

Taiwanese officials said the Chinese pressure could be counterproductive, as public resentment toward Beijing runs high.

More than 80 percent of Taiwanese think China’s bid to squeeze Taiwan hurts cross-strait ties, a Mainland Affairs Council poll taken in August found.

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