After a meeting with AIDA International. We have come to a consensus and mutual understanding. We, AIDA Taiwan and AIDA International reaffirm together that all member states have equal rightsand liabilities, and AIDA will continue to devote to an Equal environment of freediving competition in the future.
We would also give our greatest thanks to freediving community and other members state who supported Taiwan. Many countries decide to remove their flag to express solidarity with us. For that, We are deeply moved and grateful.
【An open letter of protest regarding the removal of the Taiwanese flag from AIDA Taiwan 】
On Day 7 (28th Sept, 2021) the female CWT discipline competition during the AIDA Depth world championship. Our Taiwanese flag is the only national flag among 44 countries removed at the live feed display without any sign of warning.
Based on the information we gathered from our staff members and athletes, we confirmed that the organizer determent the presence of the Taiwanese flag may lead to the interference by China’s broadcasting censorship. Hence, they made their own decision without consulting or even informing the Taiwanese delegation in order to guarantee the smooth streaming in China even knowing this very decision will harm the right of our delegation.
On the evening of September 28, the president of AIDA international Mr. AlexandruRussu kindly apologized to the Taiwan delegation regarding such a rush decision, however, they also clearly stated they have no intention of reinstating the Taiwanese flag on screen. Instead, we were left by two choices: either putting Taiwan’s IOC flag (which only means Chinese Taipei, not Taiwan) or remain blank as the national flag on display.
Limited by the options, our athlete chose to remain the blank rather than using the Taiwanese IOC flag which signifies the long oppression by China in international society.
AIDA Taiwan understands the tough decisions made by AIDA International and the organizer the difficulties behind all this. We appreciate their effort of weighing the benefit and trying to settle with the most satisfactory result for every party. However, this is still a huge compromise for Taiwan’s interest.
As an organization that also holding different competitions in Taiwan, we understand the difficulty and the tremendous amount of pressure for organizing such a huge international event, as a member state of AIDA international, AIDA Taiwan is more than willing to offer our help. We believe the freediving community is a big family and we are here to support each other.
Even though, We are also like to point out that Taiwan and the International freediving community have NO obligation to accommodate such absurd requests from Chinese broadcasting censorship which is entirely their own problem and occurred by their local authority. And we must always be cautious and remind ourselves not to draw ourselves into self-censorship when we encountering a similar situation.
Therefore, considering the current circumstances, we have no choice but officially protest to the AIDA International for the below reasons.
1. The organizer did not discuss nor inform AIDA Taiwan when they first encounter such issue beforehand and forcing our athletes to make their choice afterward which showing zero respect to AIDA Taiwan. This also does occur lots of unnecessary stress on our athletes which they should solely focus on their own competition
2. It is a reckless decision if only want to get through their Chinese censorship. There are multiple measures that could be implemented in order to achieve such intention without erasing the Taiwanese flag on our streaming, this could be detailed discuss beforehand instead of simply erasing it.
3. If AIDA International could easily take down the national flag of one of their member state simply because of the Chinese market or sponsors’will. We raise the question that where is the spirit and dignity of AIDA as a non-profit organization while facing such temptations. What is happening on AIDA Taiwan, the similar situation could also happen in any other member state.
Meanwhile, we kindly ask other members of AIDA to stand with us and:
1. Urging the assembly shall investigate this matter seriously, and request the executive committee of AIDA international to clearly reveal their decision-making process. Especially on whether Chinese partner hint or informed the organizer that the problem is from Taiwanese flag, and whether if the organizer try to have a discussion of protecting the right of athletes and member states.
2. Urging the assembly to reach a binding resolution for how to avoid the executive committee sacrifice the athletes’ and members’ interest in the future. Not only for Taiwan but also to ensure that a certain due process shall be conducted and under proper supervision when any third party violating our members’ rights.
3. Urging the assembly to discuss a motion in which the executive committee must make a public apology to AIDA Taiwan and Taiwanese athletes. And ask the committee must publicly assure that politics should not mix with sport in the future AIDA competition.
經過與主席Alex溝通之後，我們與AIDA international 得成共識與理解，並且共同重申所有會員國皆享平等的權利與義務，AIDA未來將會繼續致力於公平的自由潛水賽事。