Taiwanese athlete wins medal in South Korea, flashes ‘Oh Sung Hong Ki’ at awards ceremony
- on May 23, 2023
A Taiwanese taekwondo athlete is facing controversy after raising the Chinese flag at an awards ceremony.
According to the Free Korea Times on the 22nd, the person at the center of the controversy is Taiwanese taekwondo athlete Li Dong-hsien. He participated in the “2023 Jeonbuk Asia-Pacific Master Games” held at the Taekwondo Center in Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do, over the past 14 days and won a bronze medal in the men’s individual taekwondo poomsae event.
At issue was his unexpected behavior during the awards ceremony, when he took the medal in his mouth and proudly unfurled a large Five Star Red Flag with both hands. The Taiwanese athlete was promoting China at a festive event with more than 14,000 athletes from 71 countries around the world.
Local analysts believe that Li’s outburst will be met with punishment in Taiwan. “He applied to participate in the tournament as an individual without being selected by the taekwondo association or the gymnasium,” said Chung Wen-chan, deputy chief administrative officer, adding, “He has lived in China for a long time and participated in the Communist Party. The government will handle the case in accordance with relevant laws.”
The MAC also said, “We will find out whether he participated in organizing activities for China in Taiwan and take action according to the law.” It will also consider amending the Cross-Strait People’s Relations Ordinance and related laws to prohibit Taiwanese athletes from engaging in political propaganda for China. The ordinance calls for fines of NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 (US$4.3 million to US$21.5 million) for “Taiwanese who join the Chinese Communist Party and become party members or hold party, government, or military positions in China.
Legislative councilor Liu Fang, a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, also called the previous day for a thorough investigation by authorities into whether Li Dongxian had obtained Chinese citizenship. “If he intentionally wore a ‘Chinese Taipei’ jersey메이저놀이터 (the national colors used by Taiwan in international competitions), Taiwan should inform the South Korean side that it never sent him and revoke his award,” he said.
Taiwanese women’s national speedskating team member Huang Yu-ting trains in a Chinese jersey.
The incident also calls for a review of the disciplinary action taken against speedskater Huang Yuting, who was involved in a similar controversy at the Beijing Winter Olympics last year. Huang Yuting has been cited as an icon of Olympic spirit and determination in Taiwan, and was the flag bearer for the Taiwanese team at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games.
However, he was criticized after posting a video on social media of himself training in a Chinese national team skin suit with “CHN” written in large letters. Huang Yuting’s explanation that he “received the jersey as a gift from a close Chinese athlete” and that “in sports, athletes have no nationality boundaries” failed to quell the outrage. He eventually announced his retirement after the tournament, and the President of the Administrative Office of the Republic of China publicly demanded that Huang Yuting be investigated and punished.
Tensions between China and Taiwan are common at international competitions. China’s position is that Taiwan does not have the right to be recognized as a separate country, and as a result, Taiwan is not allowed to use its national anthem and flag when competing in international events. In 2018, Taiwan held a referendum to change its name to “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei,” which was ultimately defeated. Some analysts speculated that the decision was made in fear of Chinese retaliation.