The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday lauded Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and her team for successfully hosting the World Games, but lamented the absence of pan-blue politicians who flocked to the Beijing Olympic Games but ignored an important international sporting held in Taiwan.
Chen and her team, including three former mayors, had invested a lot of time and energy to secure the bid to host the games and prepare for them, the party said. Despite the lack of financial support from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, the team managed to pull off a “near perfect” event that won accolades from around the world, DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.
Chen said that in addition to the spectacular 11-day event, Chen should be credited for her painstaking efforts that resulted in President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) being able to open the games in his capacity as president of the Republic of China.
“What Chen did not only fully demonstrated the DPP's leadership ability, it also presented the best side of democracy. Most important, the world saw that Taiwan is a sovereign country and [has] a unique culture,” he said.
Cheng criticized the Chinese delegation for skipping the opening and closing ceremonies. This proved that Beijing's so-called “goodwill” toward Taiwan was far below Ma's expectation, he said.
“The most regrettable part was that Ma credited China — not Chen — for his opportunity to open the games. It is clear that he was completely oblivious to the fact that it was made possible by Chen and her team and not because of China's goodwill. If that was the case, the Chinese delegation would not have boycotted the opening and closing ceremonies,” he said.
Cheng added that the enthusiasm pan-blue politicians showed toward the Beijing Olympics far surpassed that for the World Games.
“Why was there such a disparity? Was it because Kaohsiung City is led by the DPP, so the pan-blues refused to support the World Games? We can't help but ask if these politicians love China more than they love Taiwan,” he said.
Ma yesterday again thanked Beijing for supporting the World Games.
Ma said it was the first time in 60 years that the head of the country had attended an international event and that it had a lot to do with Beijing's goodwill.
“Although they were absent at the opening and closing ceremonies, they supported the event,” he said. “I would like to point this out and thank them.”
Ma made the remarks while meeting members of the national team at the Presidential Office yesterday morning. It was the first time Ma had addressed the issue of China's boycott.
Local media speculated that the Chinese delegation boycotted the opening ceremony to avoid giving the impression that Beijing recognized Ma's status as president or Taiwan's status as a sovereign state.
Ma has hailed his opening of the games as a “breakthrough.”
Ma yesterday also thanked the International World Games Association for extending its goodwill, saying he was glad it agreed to let him attend the opening in his capacity as president.
The Taiwanese team won 34 medals at the World Games, including official and invitational events.
Attributing the success of the games to many factors, Ma said the efforts of the organizer, Chen and her predecessors, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) made him proud of Kaohsiung.
The NT$10 billion (US$312 million) funding from the Sports Affairs Council was also unprecedented in World Games history, Ma said.
Ma also acknowledged the 5,000 volunteers, law enforcement and security officers and National Police Administration staffers for maintaining order and security.
He encouraged local athletes to participate in international events and promised government support. To promote sports and exercises nationwide, Ma said his administration plans to build 70 sports centers and parks in three years, starting next year.
While Ma has been criticized for paying too much attention to such details as soldiers' physical condition, he said yesterday that his objective was simply to “build a healthy country.”
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