Monday, May 07, 2007

Gov't: Taiwan's dignity is important in 2008 Olympics

Taiwan may boycott the Games altogether... and I think they should.

Radio Taiwan: A sports official says Taiwan's dignity is equally important to athletes' participation in the Beijing Olympics.

The official -- Yang Chung-ho -- told lawmakers on Monday that Taiwan has the right and the obligation to attend the 2008 Olympics since it is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, Yang said that if China continues isolating Taiwan, the government might not send athletes to Beijing next year.

"It is the responsibility of the government and the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to let our athletes participate in the Olympic Games. However, if the host country does not follow IOC precedent and does not respect Taiwan's sovereignty, I think we will let our athletes fully understand our policy about [why they cannot go]," Yang said.

While Yang stopped short of saying that Taiwan will boycott the Beijing Olympics, at least one ruling party lawmaker has voiced support for the government's stance. Legislator Lee Cheng-nan accused China of politicizing the sports event.

Taiwan has refused to allow the Olympic torch to swing through the island because the government says the route from Taipei to Hong Kong is aimed at "belittling" Taiwan's independent status.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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