WEEKEND EVENT IN HAYWARD IS
EXPECTED TO ATTRACT ATHLETES FROM THROUGHOUT THE BAY AREA
More than 10,000 Bay Area athletes have signed up to
participate in table tennis, basketball and track and field
events this weekend -- a huge Olympic-style sports bonanza
hosted by the Northern California Chinese Athletic Federation.
This event should not be confused with a very similar
event held last month at San Jose City College hosted by the
Taiwanese & Chinese American Athletic Tournament.
The two groups -- which were one for 18 years -- split
three years ago over a political rift 6,000 miles away.
Leaders of the new group, who are holding their event at
Chabot College in Hayward on Saturday and Sunday, support a
unified China. Leaders of the older group support a sovereign
While organizers on both sides say their geopolitical
differences don't filter down to the games, there are definitely
undercurrents of the international divide, even if everyone
tries to downplay the rift.
At the games in San Jose last month hosted by pro-Taiwan
leaders, some one-China-minded folks said they felt excluded
because of some subtle and not-so-subtle feelings they saw
expressed, including which flag flew at the event. At the games
this weekend, organizers are consciously not flying the
communist flag of the People's Republic of China, and instead
will only raise the U.S. flag, to avoid any unnecessary
conflict. Still, in casual conversations, the one-China
organizers refer to everyone as ``Chinese,'' making no
concession to those who like to be called Taiwanese.
``I feel really isolated,'' Yan Zhao, a 30-something
Saratoga resident who was born in mainland China, said of the
pro-Taiwan group -- a group that she used to belong to. ``You
feel that you're not welcome. It's definitely a shame, though,
that the two groups can't get together and hold separate
Zhao, who supports a unified China, will participate in
the Hayward games; she's an avid table tennis and basketball
player, and also runs.
Taiwan, an island 100 miles off mainland China, has
remained a separate entity since mainland China fell under
communist rule in 1949. Since then, China has insisted that
Taiwan renounce its independence, which has led to a long and
Taiwan, a democracy, holds its own elections and has its
own president. But its government is not officially recognized
by the United States, which only recognizes ``one China.''
In the Bay Area, the two athletic tournaments split along
these differences. The older, pro-Taiwan group formed in 1984
and originally called itself the Chinese American Athletic
Tournament; members added the word ``Taiwanese'' to its title
last year. The unified China group was born three years ago, in
part over an internal rift among board members with the
Taiwanese group, but mostly as a reaction to the rise of the new
pro-sovereign government in Taiwan. .
``We actually feel sorry that it's been divided in two,''
said Amelia Ho of Los Gatos, a member of the pro-Taiwan group.
``But we're not angry. Maybe one day we could have two events
that complement each other; one in the winter and one in the
According to U.S. Census figures, there are an estimated
460,000 residents of Chinese descent living in the Bay Area. Jay
Ni, 50, of Fremont said that ``60 or 70 percent'' of the Bay
Area athletes feel like him: They are more interested in playing
sports than debating politics.
Born in Taiwan, Ni and his son are participating in the
one-China games in Hayward this weekend, but they also took part
in the pro-Taiwan games in San Jose last month.
``The kids don't care,'' he said. ``They're Chinese
American. They were born here. They just care about the
enjoyment and the excitement of the sports.''
Organizers of the Hayward games are hoping that their
festivities -- which also include two days of free dance and
cultural performances -- will focus on the positives of the
Chinese community living in the Bay Area, whether the people
come from China, Taiwan, the United States, or other parts of
``We want to show everyone that we're a large community,''
said Sharon Yu of Mountain View, a volunteer with the Hayward
group. ``And that sports is something everyone can enjoy.''
The Northern California Chinese Athletic Federation is
hosting its third-annual Olympic-style games this weekend at
Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd., in Hayward. Admission is
On Saturday: Competition from 9
a.m. to 4 p.m., opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. and an outdoor
concert from 7 to 10 p.m.
On Sunday: Competition from 9 a.m.
to 6 p.m.
Both days: Food booths will be open
and cultural performances will be presented throughout the day.
Sporting events include track and
field, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, table tennis,
badminton, swimming, skating and Chinese martial arts.
More information is available on
the group's Chinese-language Web site, www.nccaf.org, or by
calling the group's office at (510) 796-9988.
Source: Northern California Chinese