Taiwan and Hong Kong fans unlikely to attend the 2023 China Asian Cup if their nations qualify


Taiwanese and Hong Kong fans are unlikely to attend the Asian Cup in China, despite the proximity of the finals, if their teams qualify in 2023. This is for political reasons and nothing to do with football. 

Taiwan fans reasons for not attending if they qualify 

For a long time now, many Taiwanese citizens are supporters of Taiwanese independence, especially the younger generations. Putting it politely, this support for the independence movement causes some ire in the communist party leadership/ranks (call it whatever you like).

As football is a relatively new sport in Taiwan, it will come as no surprise that most people who are interested in going to watch football matches are from the younger demographic of society, therefore there is often a correlation between the two when Taiwan play games.

Taiwan has a history of being fined by FIFA and the AFC for hanging 'political banners' in the stadium when they play, and it has got to the point now, where trying to take a Taiwan flag to the game can sometimes be difficult.

I have seen all kinds of banners hanging in the stadium during matches, some of the more popular ones are, the independence flag, Taiwan is not part of China, Chinese Taipei is not a country, Taiwan is not Chinese Taipei and I have even seen some fans have a Chinese Taipei flag, which I presumed was because of the difficulty at getting any flags in at all. Even the All Hail Formosa, Taiwan Ultras flag faces difficulties in getting displayed sometimes, because of the wording Formosa.

So with China having a chip on their shoulders, and a history of arresting citizens they claim have done something they dislike, then it's no shocker that Tawanese who are pro-Taiwan independence or are supportive of the Hong Kong protests are afraid of travelling to China.

This fella went missing after attending protests in Hong Kong in the support of Hong Kong and has since been arrested in China when he travelled there for business.

This fella was arrested when he went to China, by boat on my preferred route, from Kinmen, for seeking to subvert Chinese state security.

And this fella went missing for 'subversion of state power' or in other words, supporting the independence movement, which incurs the wrath of China like they keep telling the world.

Even though it is not in the international news as much as what is going on in Hong Kong, it is still happening and Taiwanese citizens, especially those who are pro-Taiwan independence have every reason to not want to travel to China.

Taiwan's government has even released travel warnings to Taiwanese citizens about travelling to China or Hong Kong.

The use of social media as a tool to arrest people to is a worry, because how many times do you just retweet or share something without thinking too much about it.

Now people in Taiwan have to be aware of what is being shared, and who are in their friend's network, especially if their business takes them to China. At least two of the Taiwanese citizens arrested in China were arrested through checks on their social media pages.

Therefore my 30 odd mates in the Taiwan Ultras section have every right to be concerned about travel to China, and I understand if I ended up being the only one who travelled. If I go to China for the 2023 Asian Cup, and they check my phone they will see some content that could upset them too, so if I don't come back from China, someone ring the alarm bells, aye?

Hong Kong fans reasons for not attending if they qualify

Hong Kong fans reasons should be well known at this point, the place has been close to a war zone for months now, with regular protests turning violent. A staggering amount of 'suicides', random violent attacks from both sides of support - pro-China and pro-Hong Kong and the place has lost control for some time.

Saying that there does seem to be a semblance of normality coming back to the city, or as much as can be possible because after what has happened the place will never feel the same again.  The high-point of the ongoing protests, conflict and violence seemed to occur when the police decided they were going to storm the universities.

Now, Hong Kong citizens, not only football fans will have a valid fear of having to travel to China for any reason. The Causeway Books disappearances show that Hong Kong citizens aren't even safe inside Hong Kong, even before all these protests began, because one of the Causeway Books members was last seen in Hong Kong, and then turned up in Shenzhen, without anyone hearing from him between the time he left Hong Kong and showing up in China.

If you aren't aware of what has been going on in Hong Kong, then you have been living with your head in the sand. Even my mother knows what has been happening there (even though every time I tell her I can't wait to go to Japan she asks is that where the trouble is on the telly box?) and she is normally like Jon Snow, and knows nothing.

Hong Kong fans reasons are certainly valid. I think they'd even prefer an Asian Cup to take place in North Korea right now.

Taiwan and Hong Kong have not qualified for the Asian Cup since 1968, that is a long bloody time! Considering the finals are in an ideal location for fans of both nations to get there, then it is such a shame hardly any would make the trip, because of political reasons, but they're reasons are easy enough to understand.

As a side note, anyone who decides to scream I'm anti-China, I am not.

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