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Taiwanese Olympic speed skater under fire for wearing Chinese uniform

Sports Administration cautions athletes to show more sensitivity on social media

Taiwanese speed skater Huang Yu-ting at Beijing Olympics. (Facebook, Huang Yu-ting photo)

Taiwanese speed skater Huang Yu-ting at Beijing Olympics. (Facebook, Huang Yu-ting photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese speed skater Huang Yu-ting (黃郁婷) came under fire Thursday (Feb. 3) for wearing the uniform of China’s team on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

The uniform appeared in training footage that the 33-year-old uploaded to her Facebook page. Following an outburst of criticism from Taiwanese netizens, she removed the video, CNA reported.

Viewers wondered why Huang was wearing the uniform of a country which claims Taiwan as its own and threatens it with military force. Because of Chinese pressure, Taiwan also has to use the name “Chinese Taipei” at international sporting events.

Huang responded that sports did not take nationality into account.

While some commentators on her Facebook page agreed that sports and politics should be separate, many also remarked that she had accepted funding from the Taiwanese government to have the opportunity to represent the country at the Olympics. Others challenged her to ask a member of the Chinese team to wear a “Chinese Taipei” uniform.

Taiwan’s Sports Administration said it would not take any action against Huang but added it had reminded athletes and trainers to be more sensitive about their social media posts.

The skater had reportedly received the Chinese uniform from a competitor she had befriended at an event in Germany. It is customary for athletes to exchange souvenirs at the end of major tournaments, the Sports Administration said.

Huang is one of four Taiwanese participating in the Beijing Olympics. She will appear in the women’s 1,500-meter speed-skating event on Feb. 7.