Former Taiwan VP Annette Lu causes a stir with comments on Taipei Universiade

In comments intended to criticize Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, Lu claimed the reason Taiwanese athletes at the 2017 Taipei Universiade performed so well, was because China did not send their best athletes to the competition

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Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The former Vice President of Taiwan during the Chen Shui-bian administration, and possible Taipei mayoral candidate, Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), is making headlines for her remarks concerning the 2017 Universiade held in Taipei last year.

Lu claimed that Team Taiwan’s success achieving so many medals, was only possible because China chose to host their national games during the same period, and therefore, the best Chinese athletes were not present to challenge the Taiwanese athletes.

Lu further claimed that Beijing had somehow communicated to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (呂秀蓮) that they would “take it easy on him,” by allowing the games to proceed, and presumably to give the Taiwanese athletes a better chance without competition from China’s “best athletes.”

Taiwan won a total of 26 gold medals, 34 silver medals, and 30 bronzes at the 2017 Universiade, and Taiwanese athletes set new records in weightlifting and javelin toss during the Universiade games that were held Aug. 19 to Aug. 30 last year.

The comments provoked an angry response from Taiwanese netizens, with many claiming she has insulted Taiwanese athletes in her attempts to defame the sitting Taipei mayor.

The comments were made on a political talk show that aired Thursday night, where Lu also discussed her plans to run in the DPP primaries for the Taipei mayoral election to be held later this year.

When asked about the comments on Saturday, May 12, Mayor Ko responded that Lu and others must have forgotten that there were other countries competing in the 2017 Universiade Games.

Ko also posted a documentary video entitled “Taipei Universiade” to his Facebook page on Saturday, which showcases the preparation for the games and the events of the Universiade. The documentary was also recognized and given a Gold Remi award at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival in April.

In his Facebook post, the mayor called the Universiade a “Taiwan miracle” and noted the participation of many people across society during the event, including the athletes, civil employees, and the volunteers. Ko remarked on the “unparalleled and tenacious Taiwanese spirit” that made the games a success for the country.

When asked to clarify her remarks on the issue, Lu doubled down, claiming she was only telling the truth, and she was sorry if that bothered some people.

Lu has also recently criticized the decision of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to bar the appointment of NTU president elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔). Lu and former Taiwan Premier Simon Chang, who served under Ma Ying-Jeou, are reportedly preparing to make a joint statement calling on the MOE to accept the decision of the university on the matter.