2011 Qiandeng Cup Incident

    Keywords: Culture & History

The 2011 Qiandeng Cup Incident was a controversy that occurred during the qualification trials of the 2011 Qiandeng Cup? (千灯杯) in Taiwan. During the event, female professionals from Taiwan Qiyuan, led by Joanne Missingham, boycotted the qualification trials upon learning that the players in the male division would be paid per game while the female division would be unpaid. Missingham held a fan saying "Protest Sex Discriminiation" during the later 2011 Yunan-Taiwan Weiqi Tournament, which received significant media publicity.[1][2]


The Qiandeng Cup (千灯杯) (lit. Thousand Lanterns Tournament) is a biannual cross-strait competition that occurs between two cities in Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. It is regarded as a "friendly" competition intended to promote Chinese-Taiwanese relations. The 2nd Qiandeng Cup (2011) pitted Taipei against Shanghai.[3] Taiwan Qiyuan aimed to select two male professionals and one female professional to represent Taiwan in the competition. Due to the high number of male professionals in the Taiwanese Go Association, only the top 8 ranked male professionals were eligible to compete in the male division qualification trials. There were only six female professionals affiliated with the Taiwanese Go Association, and all six were eligible to compete in the female division qualification trials regardless of their rank.[1] According to Taiwan Qiyuan chief secretary Lin Shengxian, "friendly competitions" (交流賽) are typically unpaid per Taiwan Qiyuan's policy.[4]


Originally, the qualification trials for the Qiandeng Cup were intended to be unpaid for both male and female players, and the original announcement stated that there was no payment per match.[4][5][6] According to Joanne Missingham, many top-ranking male players said that they would not play if they were not paid, and Taiwan Qiyuan agreed after a negotiation to pay the players 2000 yuan (~286 USD) per match in the male division.[6][7] The female professionals did not negotiate any payment and they were apparently surprised by the difference in treatment on the morning of the competition. Unhappy with the explanation they received from the secretary-general, all the female professionals ultimately withdraw and boycotted the qualification trials, and the female division was canceled.[1]

One week later, Missingham held a fan saying "Protest Sex Discriminiation" during the 2011 Yunan-Taiwan Weiqi Tournament, which received significant media publicity. Media attention and the response on the internet appears to have favored Missingham and the female professionals.[5] According to reporter Zhao Ting from the Chengdu Daily, unequal payment of male and female go professionals is a phenomenon that has existed for many years. Zhao makes a comparison to tennis and the WTA, where prize money and sponsorships for male athletes is substantially higher than prize money for female athletes.[8]

In an unofficial statement that Taiwan Qiyuan secretary-general Lu Yijing posted on a Taiwanese go forum, Lu defended Taiwan Qiyuan stating that discrimination was not intended. Rather, payment of male professionals was determined on the basis that only the top 8 ranked male professionals were invited to compete, whereas the female division had no such rank restriction. Therefore, the female division was comparable to a "friendly" invitational open to anyone whereas the male division was a "formal competition" (正式世界代表選拔賽) attended by top professionals, and their decisions were procedurally consistent with the Taiwanese Go Association's existing policy on paid "formal" (正式世界代表選拔賽) tournaments with rank restrictions versus unpaid "friendly" (交流賽) competitions without rank restrictions.[4]

One commenter on Yigo, a Taiwanese go forum, remarked in response to Lu Yinjing that Joanne Missingham is in fact ranked seventh overall in Taiwan in terms of prize money, and it is unfair that she would not be paid while the top eight male professionals would be paid.[5]

The controversy appears to have been resolved by the 2013 Qiandeng Cup, as Joanne Missingham did not boycot the third Qiandeng Cup.[3]

See Also


2011 Qiandeng Cup Incident last edited by bugcat on August 25, 2021 - 16:28
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