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Another View, with Douglas Y.T. Hsu: Beijing is politicizing the 2019 East Asian Youth Games at Taiwan's expense

August 17. 2018 3:31PM

Beijing continues to constrain Taiwan's rightful role on the international stage and no country should feel at ease with the increasingly bold tactics it employs. Today, the target is Taiwan. Tomorrow, it could be your country, people, or Olympic dream.

From militarizing man-made islands in the contested South China Sea to dictating U.S. domestic airline websites use of "Taipei" instead of "Taiwan" in drop-down menus to bullying international corporations like the Gap Inc. for offensive Taiwan-related apparel, there just appears to be no end in sight. Now, Beijing has pivoted to the 2019 East Asian Youth Games contractually promised to the City of Taichung, Taiwan.

In 2014, the City of Taichung was granted the right to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games and entered into a binding bilateral Host City contract between the Chinese Taipei National Olympic Committee and the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC). Fast forward some four years later and a $22.1 million investment in planning and building a series of world-class venues, 80 percent of which are complete - not to mention the hopes and dreams of athletes from around the world - and it turned out to be all for nothing.

After the Extraordinary Council meeting of the East Asian Olympic Committee in July, 2018 in Beijing, the EAOC cancelled the 2019 East Asian Youth Games that were to promote the Olympic spirit in Asia and would have been the first in Taiwan. The irrational decision nullified the contract with Taichung as Host City without so much as reasonable or legal grounds provided. In fact, Article 24 of the contract stipulates that any disputes shall be resolved through amicable consultations and Article 10.4 of the EAOC's Constitution requires that Council meetings shall be held in the host city of the current games, ergo Taichung.

Beijing is not Taichung. Sadly, once again politics has tainted the Olympic Committee. Not only is it clearly unjust, but also unfair to the 23.5 million people of Taiwan as well as the 2,300 athletes from nine countries and regions preparing to compete. Taiwan requests that the EAOC uphold its binding contract with Taichung and the world for that matter. After all, how can any country securely enter into a contract with the EAOC owing to the potential enormous monetary loss, not to mention the damage to a nation's collective dignity?

China greatly fears not only Taiwan as a democracy, but all democracies around the world because they represent the antithesis to the totalitarian state.

Taiwan calls on all peace-loving democracies around the world to lend their support to the City of Taichung, Taiwan to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games as originally promised by the East Asian Olympic Committee. It's only fair.

Douglas Y.T. Hsu is director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston.

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