Taiwan’s Olympians Will Not Attend Opening And Closing Ceremonies At Beijing Winter Olympics

Taiwan will not be sending its four Winter Olympians to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

“According to the event’s pandemic prevention and entry policy, flights have been adjusted and delayed, and not all could arrive in Beijing by the opening ceremony on Feb. 4,” Taiwan’s Sports Administration said in a statement.

“Based on the protection of the athletes, high-standard pandemic prevention and control measures have been adopted to prevent any risk of infection; to accumulate combat strength, our delegation will not participate in the opening ceremony,” the statement continued. 

While Taiwan will send their four athletes to Beijing, no officials will be attending the games. 

“In addition, considering the limited number of participants and the previous precedent that our side’s officials were often absent, no official representatives will be sent,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement. 

“We call on this year’s organisers to abide by the ‘Olympic Charter’ and not use political factors to interfere with the competition and suppress and belittle our side. Relevant government units will also be prepared to respond to various emergencies,” it added.

Ahead of the Olympics, which are scheduled to begin February 4, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that Taiwan “will not be quiet” regarding China’s “crimes against humanity.” 

“China hosting the Winter Olympics seems to be giving the impression to the international community that nothing bad is happening,” Wu told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“But we should not forget about all these atrocities or genocide or crimes against humanity,” he continued. “We have been watching these issues very carefully. We will not forget about all this only because of the Winter Olympics. We will not stay quiet.”

While the U.S. considers Taiwan to be an independent country, China still considers Taiwan as part of mainland China, referring to the country as “Chinese Taipei.” The Chinese government has become increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan in recent months, with 34 Chinese war planes flying toward Taiwan last week in a military incursion. 

Concern over the ability of Olympians’ to speak freely while in Beijing has increased following comments made last week by the deputy director general of Beijing 2022’s International Relations Department.

“Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected and anything and any behaviour or speeches that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” Yang Shu said.

In October, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom shined a light on China’s treatment of Taiwan, saying he “stands with Taiwan.” 

“Taiwan is a democratic and free country, and I stand with Taiwan,” Kanter said in a video posted to Twitter. “Did you know that even though Taiwan has their own history, their own government, their own land, their own elections, their own everything, Xi Jinping is stuck in his own world.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

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