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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China boycotts Deaflympics opening in Taiwan

September 7, 2009

Sep 06, 2009 - AFP

TAIPEI - Events at the Deaflympics began on Sunday in Taiwan, the day after
an opening ceremony boycotted by the Chinese delegation, despite warming
ties between the two former rivals.

The Chinese team did not show up for the spectacular Saturday night opening
of the games, the first to be staged in Asia since 1924.

The Chinese five-star national flag was hoisted by a lone games staffer as
Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou, using the title "President of the Republic of
China in Taiwan" inaugurated the ceremony.

Beijing does not recognise the title, which Ma also used at the opening of
the World Games in the southern city of Kaohsiung earlier in the year, an
event similarly shunned by the mainland delegation.

China regards Taiwan as a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by
force if necessary, despite the two sides having been separately governed
since the end of a civil war in 1949.

On Sunday a Chinese coach declined to comment on the no-show when asked by
local reporters, simply saying: "We now give priority to the competition."

The absence of the Chinese delegation has drawn special attention after a
controverisal visit by Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the
start of the month drew ire from Beijing.

The Ma administration of the China-friendly Kuomintang had tried to play
down the visit, insisting the Buddhist monk was here to console those
affected by Typhoon Morakot, which battered the island in August, leaving
614 people dead.

Beijing denounced the visit by the Dalai Lama, who it claims is a
separatist, bent on Tibetan independence.

The Deaflympics, which run until September 15, will see 80 countries taking
part in 20 events, including swimming, judo, karate, bowling, badminton, and
basketball.

Events on Sunday included shooting, taekwondo and handball.
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