Taiwan authorities have denied a motion to form a political party named after U.S. basketball sensation Jeremy Lin, even after the person behind the application changed his name to emulate his NBA idol.
Lin, a 24-year old Harvard-educated point guard for the Houston Rockets, has become a national hero both in China and Taiwan after his meteoric rise in American basketball. The NBA’s first American-born Chinese superstar has about 3 million followers on Sina Weibo, the Chinese social-networking site — three times more than he has on Twitter.
On Nov. 1, Taiwan’s Petitions and Appeals Committee confirmed that it had rejected an application to form a political party Linspired by the Taiwanese-American basketball player, the Taipei Times reported on Monday. When the application was first rejected in March, the applicant had even changed his name to Lin Shu-hao — Jeremy Lin’s Chinese name — to give more weight to his appeal, according to Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency (CNA).
The Jeremy Lin Party’s main political objective was to push for free health care for everyone on the island of 23 million, which already boasts the second longest life expectancy in East Asia after Japan.
As of last week, Taiwan, an island about the size of Maryland, had some 230 registered political parties. The applicant, whose previous name was not published, argued that the Jeremy Lin Party would have a precedent. The Chung Shan Party, formed in 1999, also derived its name from a person, Dr. Sun Yat-sen — the Qing-dynasty-era revolutionary generally regarded as the founder of the Chinese republic.
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Last year, Taiwan authorities also denied an application to form a Taiwan Pirate Party, arguing that it “might mislead the public into thinking the party had been formed by pirates,” CNA wrote. Pirate Parties have been successfully taking shape and entering parliaments in Europe over the past years, lobbying for government transparency and copyright reform.