The "Chinese Taipei" team yesterday claimed the top spot at the 2010 Asian University Basketball Championship, although drama continued to unfold until the very last minute, when players from China delivered their own coup de grace by forfeiting a game altogether after seeing hundreds of Republic of China (R.O.C.) flags in the parking lot.
The Chinese team was initially scheduled to compete against Mongolia when the bus pulled into the parking lot of Kainan University in Taipei City and, being bombarded by the sight of hundreds of R.O.C. flags, turned around and left. In their absence, the referee ruled that Mongolia defeated China, 20-0.
The "Chinese Taipei" team went on to win the championship for the first time, defeating runners-up Lebanon by 85-77. Mongolia placed third while China was pushed back to fourth place.
Championship official Lee Hong-chi said he had no clue as to the whereabouts of the China team, adding that their behavior was "senseless."
This was not Taiwan's first championship participation as "Chinese Taipei," Lee said, adding that for the China team to quit over flags was a senseless move.
China was making a mountain out of a molehill said a student surnamed Hsieh, who helped organize the erection of a hundred R.O.C. flags in the parking lot. Hsieh said he created the patriotic display as a silent protest to the officials of the Chinese Taipei University Sports Federation (CTUSF) who stopped students from displaying Taiwan's national flag at a game Thursday.
Another student surnamed Hsu said although he did not have a strong political stance, he participated in the flag erection to promote freedom of speech and was pleased with the support and results.