Government Information Office Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said yesterday that Taiwan-born New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming could serve as "a Taiwan ambassador," considering Wang's influence and ability to attract positive international attention.
Cheng made the remarks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's education committee on the GIO's administrative performance, in which several legislators from different political parties expressed concern about whether the Public Television Service would be able to continue broadcasting U.S. Major League baseball games featuring Wang next year.
Noting that U.S. Major League games usually attract huge audiences, Cheng said Fox Television's broadcasting of a Taiwan map accompanied with an introduction to the country at the post-season games has really inspired the nation's people.
Considering how Wang may spark many people's interest in learning and caring about Taiwan, Cheng said the government would like Wang to serve as the country's spokesman, which he said would be a more efficient way to promote the island.
In addition, broadcasting baseball games with Wang in them will strengthen the solidarity and identity of Taiwan's people, Cheng added.
Cheng noted that Taiwan-born film director Ang Lee (李安), who won an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, is the first well-known movie director to publicly claim he is from Taiwan. Meanwhile, at a Fox Television interview with Wang, the TV company also referred to Wang as "the son of Taiwan."
Cheng added that Taiwan's Ultra marathon hero Kevin Lin also bore the Republic of China's national flag during the competition.
"All these cases are quite touching for the people of Taiwan, " Cheng said.
He told the legislators that although many other commercial televisions stations in Taiwan are keen to gain rights to broadcast Wang's games, he supported PTS' continued right to broadcast them, and said he would work with various agencies to secure a budget for PTS to do so.