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The Chinese government declined a political party’s application to name itself after Jeremy Lin

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Jeremy Lin runs from all political affiliation (Getty Images)

Goofball fringe political parties, candidates, motions, petitions, and movements aren't unique to American politics. Neither is an obsession with sports that borders on the fanatical and often crosses over to the weird.

For further proof of this, witness what happened in Taiwan earlier this year after just one month of sterling play from then-New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent. Apparently some government hopefuls with a  love of basketball and an understanding of Taiwanese bureaucracy attempted to start a political party named after Lin, obviously without Lin's knowledge; much less his endorsement.

From a very thorough re-telling of the story from Stacy Hsu at Taipei Times:

Following Lin's meteoric rise at the New York Knicks earlier this year, an application for a political party named after the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent was filed with the ministry in March along with the necessary documentation.

However, the ministry turned down the application via a letter on March 27, saying the title of the party did not conform to the purposes of its establishment and that naming the party after an uninvolved individual stood in violation of the Civil Code and ran counter to democratic norms.

When the applicant then sought to change the party's appellation to his own name, the ministry again rejected the case on May 10.

"Both the use of the applicant's name and the names of others as the denomination of a political party go against common practices, with the latter also infringing on the Civil Code," the ministry said in its rejection letter.

My code of civility has been infringed upon, as well. Because you'll recall that, entering March, Jeremy Lin had played about 800 minutes of NBA basketball at that point. Mostly spectacularly, I might add, but not for all that long.

Whoever was pushing the application and further appeals knew what they were doing, though. Hsu goes on to point out that the applicant attempted to circumvent the initial ruling by pointing out that the Zhongshan Party is named after China's "Founder of the Nation" Sun Yat-sen.

Who, duh, was also known as Sun Zhongshan.

To distill their point — if the Zhongshan Party can name itself after a celebrated Chinese leader that helped overthrow oppressive dynasties while installing a respected democratic process in the still-growing country while also attempting to hold off Socialist uprisings as he mostly working out of exile in various countries out of fear for his life, why can't these guys name their party after a point guard who had a pretty awesome few weeks with the New York Knicks?

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Sun Yat-sen (Getty Images)

Lin's struggles to grow as a starting point guard with expectations after returning from a significant knee injury should be the story. It's fascinating to watch a player with obvious talent and daring work his way into turning into a full-time player, so we don't mind the coverage afforded Lin in his first season with the Houston Rockets. As we've noted, though, it's been rough going so far — 10.2 points and 6.1 assists in just 33 minutes a game with 1.8 steals, but on 34.8 percent shooting and with a turnover rate of 20 percent. The last two marks are unacceptable as a starting point guard.

And, as Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears wrote on Saturday, we should be able to see The Next Great Lin Drama gathering steam even months away from when it boils over. He's going to start the 2013 All-Star game, despite at times working as the fifth-best starting point guard in his own division.

(New Orleans' Greivis Vasquez, in case you were wondering.)

From Spears' column:

The pressure will get stronger when Lin returns to New York on Dec. 17. But where it could be the biggest headache is during All-Star weekend in Houston, where he will likely get voted in as a starting guard over Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Steve Nash thanks to heavy support from Chinese voters. There is no way the host Rockets and the always globally conscious NBA would let him turn the roster spot down.

As well they shouldn't.

This game is not our — North Americans — own. It's a global game, the All-Star exhibition is a global event, and if huge chunks of this globe want to see Jeremy Lin start at point guard for the first and third quarters of a silly exhibition game in February that we'll all forget some three days later, so be it.

The Taiwanese semi-brouhaha about political party naming rights, in a way, has some connection to all this.

No candidate would ever be rushed into office because their party bore the name or even endorsement of soon-to-be All-Star point guard Jeremy Lin. No current celebrity, much less Lin, could hold the same sway.

Somebody, through cult of personality or celebrity or some combination of powers we can't even conceive of yet in 2012, someday could.

Picking an example in this era is fruitless because nobody can wield that sort of influence currently, but that doesn't mean the opportunity isn't there some ways down the line. Stopping a fringe party from doing something silly like naming itself after Jeremy Lin after his first great month of NBA basketball might seem like a pointless maneuver, but it's probably worth appreciating the fact that the Taiwanese government held their ground and didn't set the precedent.

Stateside, we're going to hold our ground and enjoy watching Lin grow as a player in the months between his opening struggles and the upcoming All-Star hand-wringing.

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