Monday, October 01, 2001

SINA Pulls Out of Taiwan

"SINA basketball team and ESV will pull out of Taiwan immediately. And for the foreseeable future, SINA will no longer be a member of the Taiwanese basketball family", SINA basketball team and E-ternational Sports Ventures President Daniel Jiang announced last Friday (Sep. 28) after the negotiation involving team name dispute with NSC (National Sports Council) and CTBA (Chinese Taipei Basketball Association) fell through. It's certain that SINA will head for China's CBA no matter what happens.

Due to the special political situation between Taiwan and China, NSC and CTBA opposed SINA's intention to join the CBA under the name of "Taiwan-Suchou SINA Lions Basketball Team". According to the "China-Taiwan Citizens Relations Act", SINA players will face a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 NTD (3125 to 15625 USD) per day, if they actually join the Chinese league. However, Daniel Jiang insists SINA breaks no rule in joining the Chinese league.

NSC and CTBA claim that SINA can play in the Chinese league, as long as they don't put "Taiwan" in their team name. If they do, it will assure everyone that Taiwan is a province of China, which is against the Taiwanese government policy and Taiwanese Constitution.

It's believed that SINA use the name in exchange of Chinese basketball authorities' special treatment: directly join the Division I-A in their first year. Under the Chinese basketball format, a basketball team will have to finish in the top 2 in Division B before they can be promoted to Division I-B. After that, they will have to finish in the top 2 before advancing to Division I-A, which has 12 teams before SINA's arrival.

NSC, the highest governing body of national sports affairs, says that it will keep the dialogue and negotiation with SINA to look for a more appropriate team name and a solution that keeps both sides happy. NSC insists that it is not against SINA joining the Chinese league. But the key point is the appropriate team name.

SINA is the first sports team that joins a Chinese sports organization. Before that, Taiwanese basketball players like Cheng Chih-lung and Chu Chih-chin played for different Chinese basketball teams as individual. Their applications were all approved by the CTBA.