On Feb 19, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang asked the Education Ministry and the Sports Administration to investigate the inappropriate words and actions of Taiwan’s speed skater Huang Yuting during her participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Su’s office said the premier believed Huang’s actions were “extremely inappropriate” and has also asked the ministry to give an “appropriate punishment.”
Voa Chinese reported on Feb 21, before the 33-year-old Taiwanese speed skater Huang Yu-ting participated in the Beijing Winter Olympics, she uploaded a video of herself training in a Chinese team uniform on her social media on Jan 23, causing a wave of fierce criticism from Taiwanese netizens.
Huang Yuting later deleted the video and said that the Chinese uniform was a gift from a close friend of the Chinese team who had trained with her in Germany and had no other meaning.
However, on Feb 10, she thanked spectators at the Beijing venue “for their warm support and for cheering for me … like I was competing at home” after she placed 26th in the 500m speed skating event.
On the same day, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Su as saying:
“The athletes are competing for honors as Taiwan national team members. Their every move and comment is on display on the international stage, and they must act with discretion.”
Taiwan’s Presidential Office stated that it backed the “necessary” investigation and punishment in a separate statement.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said, “Members of the national team represent the country in competitions, and there should not be any controversial words or deeds that damage the nation’s honour.”
“National team members are pursuing individual honors while representing our nation at major sports events, and they must be prudent in their public statements and actions.”
Yesterday, Legislator Lin Chun-Hsien (林俊憲) of the Democratic Progressive Party Legislator asked for a revision to the rules governing athletes, stating that “actions that damage the nation’s honor” should be grounds for disqualification from a national team.