The politically motivated cancellation of the East Asian Youth Games should be condemned

PRESS RELEASE: Athletes and sports fans around the world dream of a world where politics and sports don’t mix. And yet the history of modern sports has been littered with deplorable incidents of politics getting in the way of sportsmanship. China’s politically motivated pressure on the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) to cancel the 2019 East Asian Youth Games (EAYG) in central Taiwan’s Taichung City is such a case in point.

On July 24, 2018, the EAOC held an Extraordinary Council meeting to cancel the 2019 EAYG due to heavy-handed interference from China. The cancellation marks the latest move in Beijing’s campaign to suppress Taiwan’s international space and advance its agenda through exerting pressure in nonpolitical arenas.

Sports events are the ideal venue for cross-cultural communication and exchanges. Taichung City has invested over US$ 20.5 million and countless human resources to make the 2019 EAYG such an propitious event. EAOC’s unilateral decision to cancel the Games not only breaches the Olympic spirit but also deprives thousands of young athletes of their rights to compete and excel. China’s ruthless actions are unacceptable to the people of Taiwan and will be disapproved by sports enthusiasts around the world

It seems like only yesterday that Jesse Owens’ s record-setting performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics shattered Adolf Hitler’s plot to showcase the so-called Aryan superiority via sports events. As another totalitarian regime is using its sharp power to bend the world to its will, it was about time the world stood together to tell the Chinese regime “enough is enough.”

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