The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday urged former NBA player Jeremy Lin (林書豪) to learn more about the diversity of Taiwanese after he secured a Republic of China (ROC) passport, while some sports commentators said that playing for Taiwan might not be what motivated him to apply for the passport.
The 31-year-old Taiwanese-American rose to fame in 2012 after helping guide the New York Knicks out of a slump. He led them on a seven-game winning streak and to the playoffs that season, prompting the term “Linsanity” after several clutch plays.
He has been playing for the Beijing Ducks since last year.
Photo taken from YouTube
The nation has watched Lin’s meteoric rise from a rookie in the NBA to star player, the NPP said, adding that Taiwan must mean something to him, as it was often the first stop of his Asian tours when NBA seasons finished.
People in Taiwan not only appreciate Lin’s basketball skills and fighting spirit on the court, but also his courage to speak out against racial discrimination and injustice that minority basketball players face in the US, the party said.
Addressing Lin, the NPP asked: “However, did you know Taiwan has a complicated history and is not a peaceful place under the surface?”
“Every day, we face choices over what values we want,” it said.
“You have said that you know nothing about politics, but political issues are something that we as Taiwanese have to grapple with for the rest of our lives,” it said.
“We hope that you can familiarize yourself with issues concerning Taiwanese and hear their diverse voices,” it said, adding that he is welcome to forge dialogues with the NPP and other groups in Taiwan while pursuing his basketball career.
Aside from securing the passport, Lin is reportedly seeking household registration under Taiwan’s special immigration program for high-level professionals.
Lin’s father reportedly met with Minister of Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) on Wednesday.
Lin is known for his athletic achievements in the US and China, Hsu said, adding that hopefully if he settles in Taiwan, it would boost the nation’s sports development.
Basketball fans also expressed hope that Lin would one day represent Taiwan in the sport.
However, some sports commentators said that playing for Taiwan might not be what motivated Lin to apply for the passport.
As a US citizen, Lin was considered a foreign player by the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), they said.
Securing an ROC passport enables him to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents and the CBA’s special rules for players from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau would apply to him, they said.
As a “domestic player,” the Beijing Ducks would have a free spot to recruit another foreign player, they said.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office last year implemented 26 measures for Taiwanese, one of which allows athletes to compete as domestic players in Chinese professional soccer, basketball, table tennis and other sports.
If Lin wants to play for Taiwan, International Basketball Association rules require that he compete as a naturalized player, as he did not receive his second nationality — Taiwanese — until after he turned 16.
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