Various rumors spread on the Internet say Korea and China conspired to strip Taiwan of a gold medal or that Korea was behind her disqualification. Taiwanese netizens left scores of messages on the Cheong Wa Dae website on Saturday spouting profanities and disabling the site for hours.The article points out that both President Ma and the foreign ministry have sensibly pointed out that the disqualification has nothing to do with Korea. It goes on....
Officials and athletes at the Asian Games say there are no grounds to blame Korea for the disqualification. Yang's equipment went through a preliminary inspection 10 minutes before the game began. During that detailed scan, officials ruled that she had no sensors on her equipment other than those placed on her sole and instep to signal blows to the electronic body armor. Yang passed a second inspection by a referee at the match venue.The article gives a couple of reasons for the bizarre Taiwanese reaction, including the decision by South Korea twenty years ago to shift recognition from Taipei to Beijing. My friend Drew remarked that another reason is the racial classifications promulgated under the ROC that still echo across the discourses of race and ethnicity, under which the Koreans were considered an inferior race. The Taipei Times also accuses "opportunistic politicians" of being behind the bigotry that underlies the Taiwanese response to Korea...
But Edward Lee, a Korean official in charge of the computerized match system, discovered the extra sensors in her footwear just before the match began and apparently told chief referee Stephen Fernandez of the Philippines. Korean taekwondo coach Lee Dong-joo said, "The extra sensors in Yang Shuchun's footwear may not have been discovered in the second inspection because it's conducted primarily on the upper body and electronic body armor."
Taekwondo officials at the Asian Games decided that, either advertently or inadvertently, Yang had placed the extra sensors on her footwear in violation of regulations during the 10 minutes before the match. The World Taekwondo Federation in an official ruling declared Yang's disqualification legitimate.
No Korean athlete was involved in the match, and none of the referees were Korean either. The chief official was Chinese and the head of the referee board was Singaporean. "Korea had no reason to strip Taiwan of a gold medal or to conspire with China to disqualify a Taiwanese athlete," one taekwondo official said.
It is understandable why some opportunistic politicians would seek to deflect anger away from China and capitalize on emotional outbursts for domestic electoral gain, which the appropriation of the Yang controversy for a rally in support of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) in Taipei on Sunday undoubtedly was. However, for ordinary Taiwanese, the fact that the head of the World Taekwondo Federation is South Korean, or that one of the judges had Korean ancestry, should be of no consequence. The controversy itself, though unfair to Yang and a sad turn of events, is of little import in terms of its impact on the lives of Taiwanese.Actually, not only is the ref a Filipino, but WTF Sec-Gen Yang Jin-suk, who is usually reported as a South Korean (as in the TT editorial) is a US citizen. Accusing them of being in some conspiracy to defraud Taiwan of a gold medal -- and Taiwan has won a number of them at this year's Asian games -- is like saying I must be mafia because my grandparents are from southern Italy. It's an argument of "blood will tell" that is totally racist. It must stop.
The Taipei Times is dead on too when it points out that Taiwanese should really be angry at China, the one nation that does treat them badly. I heartily agree -- Korea enjoys excellent relations with Taiwan and we receive large numbers of tourists from that nation every year. Taiwanese need to stop crapping on their friends like Japan and Korea and direct their feelings at the nation that most needs to change.
ADDED: Good comments below. Marc sagely notes:
It occurred to me that another matter that has been overlooked in this Yang controversy is how little attention and praise Taiwan's sports champions actually receive from the government (and hence, media).____________
The news today trumpeted Yang's heroic return to Taiwan. Where are the hero's welcomes for Taiwan's non-controversial championS?
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