Il sindaco della città di Taichung Chia-Lung Lin ha rilasciato una dichiarazione durante una conferenza stampa per spiegare i motivi dell’annullamento dei East Asian Youth Games (EAYG) 2019 previsti nella città taiwanese. Il 24 luglio 2018 il Comitato Olimpico dell’Asia Orientale ha tenuto una riunione straordinaria per annullare l’evento previsto per il prossimo anno. Si tratta, secondo il sindaco taiwanese, di una decisione inaccettabile e direttamente collegata alla pressioni cinesi sul Comitato Olimpico.
Chia-Lung Lin ha consegnato una lettera di reclamo al Comitato e agli altri otto Comitati Olimpici nazionali dei membri dell’East Asian Olympic Committees (EAOC), tra cui tra cui Giappone, Corea del Sud, Corea del Nord, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, Guam e Cina. si tratta dell’ennesimo caso di pressione internazionale della Repubblica Popolare Cinese nei confronti di Taiwan. Il fatto che l’ostracismo cinese abbia decretato l’annullamento di un importante evento sportivo dedicato ai giovani, già programmato da diversi anni, stride in maniera palese con i valori di partecipazione e scambio che lo Sport aspira a promuovere. Sarebbe stata la prima occasione per Taiwan di ospitare questa importante manifestazione, già da anni le amministrazioni municipali, regionali e nazionali si erano attivate per garantire lo svolgimento ottimale dell’evento. Gli stessi cittadini di Taichung avevano ideato numerose forme di supporto per fornire la massima assistenza a tutti i giovani atleti coinvolti. Qui di seguito trovate la versione integrale del comunicato stampa rilasciato dal Sindaco Chia-Lung Lin:
Dear friends from the press, good afternoon. I am Taichung City Mayor, Chia-Lung Lin.
First of all, I would like to thank each of you for following the developments of the cancellation of the 1st East Asian Youth Games (“EAYG”) in 2019. Thank you for being here today. As the mayor of the host city for the first East Asian Youth Games (“EAYG”) and the president of the Taichung 2019 EAYG Organizing Committee, I am holding this international press conference in the hope that the voice and demands of the citizens of Taichung can be heard by the international community. At the same time, I would like to urge the international community to recognize the severe pressure and suppression that we have been subjected to. On July 24, 2018, the East Asian Olympic Committees (EAOC) held an Extraordinary Council meeting to cancel the 2019 EAYG, which was slated to be held in Taichung. It was a major disappointment for the young athletes from the 9 nations and regions, including Taiwan. Taichung City was informed of this crude and abruptly-made decision very suddenly. All of the citizens of Taichung city as well as Taiwan do not accept nor understand this decision, and the Taichung City Government finds this unacceptable. In order to protect the rights to athletic competition for the athletes as well as safeguard the Olympic spirit, the Taichung City Government and the Taichung 2019 East Asian Youth Games Organizing Committee have formally lodged a complaint to the EAOC, requesting that Taichung continue to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games. This complaint letter has also been delivered simultaneously to other eight EAOC member National Olympic Committees (“NOCs”), including Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Guam and China. I hope that such unfair treatment towards Taichung can be recognized by the international community. I hereby urge our friends in the international community to jointly speak on behalf of the athletes from all participating countries and regions including Taiwan and to protest against this unfair and illegal resolution.
On July 24th, starting from the moment that we received the notice, we Taichung City Government immediately initiated discussions with related agencies and academic experts and professionals, in the hope to find out feasible remedies. After extensive discussion, the Taichung City Government has lodged a complaint based on four major points as follows: First, the spirit promoted and upheld by the Olympic Games encourages athletes from countries and regions around the world to conduct exchanges through fair competition. I believe that all of the participating nations and regions for the EAYG also see this arena as a great opportunity to groom young athletes and to provide them with a place to exchange with their fellow youth athletes. As such, the abrupt cancellation of the 2019 EAYG in Taichung by the EAOC, not only went against the Olympic spirit, but it also violated the EAOC’s Constitution, which explicitly stipulated “to promote the Olympic Movement in East Asia” as its mission.
Secondly, prior to the resolution on July 24th to cancel the 2019 EAYG, EAOC did not formally inform the host, Taichung City, of any violation of or failures to perform according to the Contract, the EAOC’s Constitution or commitments that we had made. Conversely, over the past three years, the EAOC has ever visited Taichung with delegations led by its President, Liu Peng, to learn about the organizing status of the first EAYG as well as to exchange opinions with each other. During the visit, the delegation also acknowledged the efforts and achievements made by the Taichung City Government and the Organizing Committee. The EAOC’s decision to cancel the games was not only abrupt but also irrational.
Thirdly, under the Host City Contract for the 1st East Asian Youth Games in 2019 (“Contract”), signed by Taichung City (and Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee) and EAOC on October 24, 2014, Article 24 stipulates that “any dispute … shall be resolved through amicable consultation.” However, during the Extraordinary Council Meeting held on July 24th, the Taichung City Government was not given any opportunity to explain or defend against the accusations. Prior to the resolution, the Taichung City Government was never invited to participate in any form of consultation and negotiation. This Council meeting clearly violated the Contract and directly infringed upon the rights of Taichung City Government as the signatory of the Contract. Fourthly, in the letter from EAOC addressed to the Taichung City Government/Organizing Committee on July 25th, not a single mention was made regarding the substantial reason behind the resolution, nor did it explain any violation on the part of the Taichung City Government. Moreover, it failed to convince the citizens of Taichung and the people of Taiwan the rationality and legality of this crude cancellation of the Games.
In particular, soon after the EAOC made this resolution, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council released an official statement, claiming that EAOC’s cancellation of next year’s EAYG was due to the “name-change” referendum campaign started by some of Taiwan’s citizen for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, publicly and formally acknowledging that the Games were cancelled due to political factors. The people of Taiwan cannot accept such a ridiculous reason that the political force could disrupt sports and prevent the games from being held. I want to further stress that in a democratic country, it is more normal than ever for the people to demonstrate the public sentiment through referendums. China’s unilateral claim that the cancellation of the Games is due to a referendum, which was incidentally organized by the citizens and not yet formally put for voting, precisely demonstrates China’s lack of understanding, fear and zealous defensiveness towards Taiwan’s democracy and also proves that we need to be united in the efforts to fight for our rights.
Based on the four aforementioned points, as the host city of 1st EAYG in 2019, Taichung City Government and the EAYG Organizing Committee have formally lodged a complaint to the EAOC, requesting that Taichung continue to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games. From October 24, 2014, Taichung City took on the role of hosting the first East Asian Youth Games. Over the course of three years and two mayors, the Organizing Committee have been hard at work in preparing for the games. In terms of building sports arenas and organizing the games, more than NT$672 million (US$21.87 million) have been invested to date. All of the preparation was on time and the efforts was recognized by EAOC. The first EAYG was planned to be held between August 24th and 31st, 2019, and close to 2,300 athletes and delegation members from nine countries and regions were expected to participate in 14 competitions. This would have been the first time that a sports event under the Olympic Committee System to be hosted in Taiwan. It is a fantastic opportunity for the athletes from the East Asian Region to exchange and compete with each other. It is also a sports event that the citizens of Taichung and the people of Taiwan have been highly anticipating. All of these efforts should be respected and not neglected, nor should it be nullified due to political factors. We cannot let everyone’s efforts go to waste, nor should we ignore anticipation from the Taichung citizens and the youth athletes and let them down. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the support and efforts from the central government, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and all related agencies. This is a difficult moment, and it is also a time we need to remain united. We will not give up, and we will put all our efforts in fighting for the rights of the Taichung citizens, people of Taiwan and the youth athletes.
I would like to lodge a protest towards the EAOC and also urge the international community to join us in following this matter as it develops. For Taichung, we are not just experiencing the loss of hosting the games, but facing a highly unjust, unfair and crude treatment. It is the violation and interruption of sports by political power, and it is a disgraceful chapter in the history of international sports. I trust that this is not a situation that the international community is willing to witness. I sincerely urge our friends in the international community to hear the voice of Taichung, speak on our behalf, join us in fulfilling our commitment with the world, and join us in fighting for the universal values of sportsmanship. Thank you.