Saturday, February 27, 2010

DPP Rollin'

3 out of 4 by-election seats, with a close race in Hualien which the KMT took. Not to discredit the Taiwanese voters who came out today, but Tsai Ing-wen has really put the DPP on the right track. Despite many forces going against the DPP (continued vote-buying that isn't being acted on, remnant displeasure of the DPP from the A-bian debacle, as well as being low on party cash), the DPP are looking to set up real nicely for the year-end elections as well as a 2012 run for presidency. Once or twice may be a fluke, but three times most certainly makes it a trend.

As I've mentioned in the past the similarities between the US political atmosphere and that of Taiwan, it seems it is following in similar paths (see Barack OmaYingJeou, and might I note the "two plays I'm 100% sure of, long commodities and oil" - too bad I didn't heed my own words). Obama's push for health care reform has caused a significant divide even within his own party. Similarly, Ma's push for the ECFA has done so as well. The two countries' presidents have suffered dwindling approval ratings ever since they were sworn in as presidents, and the opposition parties have gained in local legislature and mayoral elections.

As such, I wonder if it could really be as easy (although it won't be as easy as I make it seem to be) as simply garnering up the youth vote in Taiwan to push the DPP to victory. I firmly believe Obama won because of the youth vote in 2008, yet that has been the missing voting block in Taiwan. I would say 4 out of 5 Taiwanese youth that I know, or even more conservatively, 3 out of 5, have "green" tendencies and would inevitably vote for the DPP if given the choice.

The problem is the youth vote is not getting out on voting day! Perhaps Tsai Ing-wen's next undertaking could be to find a way to mobilize the youth in Taiwan. I'm not going to lie, as a young Taiwanese-American who sees and hangs out with other Taiwanese young 'ins, it's probably one of the greatest hurdles that faces Taiwan today. Set aside voting, if there are no youth who want to stand up to be political leaders in Taiwan, there is going to be a void in leadership in a couple decades. I'm sure we do not want to find out who is going to fill that void.

Friday, February 26, 2010

228 Events

Just a couple reminders:

Formosa Betrayed opening in select theaters in NY, CA, MA, NJ today - Review from FilmCritic. Review from the NYTimes.

From FilmCritic:

There are times when the film stumbles over dialogue, which isn't as well-written as the action, and the final scenes are overly melodramatic. But overall, Formosa Betrayed is engaging and informative, and it leaves you with a sense that you did something productive while watching a movie…you learned something.
Regardless of whether it turns out to be entertainment/theatrically worthy, it's a movie worth seeing just so you can learn more about the history of Taiwan. For those in Seattle who can't see the movie just yet, make it to the 2/28 discussion this Sunday at Kane Hall (see below). Learn about Taiwan, and perhaps you will get a glimpse of why I feel the need to run this blog.

2/28 Discussion at the University of Washington this coming Sunday at Kane Hall 110, 3:00PM - 5:00PM

Also, election day in Taiwan. From Hsieh Chang-ting's Plurk:

Election day. People have asked, "the KMT have lost 3 times already, do we still need to punish them? Answer: The problem isn't how many times, rather have they or have they not changed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Analysis of a Substantial Shift in the Taiwan Straits

"The elections could decide Taiwan's destiny." - Soochow University political science professor Lo Chih-cheng

Which elections do you think Lo is talking about here? The 2012 elections? How about the end of the year municipalities elections. Lo is on spot with his analysis here, as he believes that the year end elections will essentially pave the way for a DPP victory in 2012, or a defeat. Furthermore, a victory year-end will further cement the growing consensus that Ma Ying-jeou's China-obsessing policies are not what the majority of Taiwanese want.

Michael You (游盈隆), another professor at Soochow University and former vice chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, said: “If the DPP loses the 2012 election, there would be only one result for Taiwan, it would end up in the hands of the Chinese communists.”

These findings all fall in line with the potential for a substantial shift in the Taiwan Straits sometime before 2018 (my original time line for a substantial shift). It further reinforces the notion that the time to once again and speak out on behalf of Taiwan is quickly coming. I know many young Taiwanese (my generation) who simply are apathetic towards politics (due to the history in Taiwan). That may have been fine a decade ago, even five years ago, but with all the recent findings of China's attempt to take over Taiwan by 2012, the rapid pace of Ma's One-China policies, as well as the growing economic pains within Taiwan and globally, all point to a deteriorating situation for an autonomous and democratic Taiwan.

One comment I saw that really pissed me off during the University of Washington, "Taiwan, province of China" issue over the last couple weeks, was by someone that claimed to be Taiwanese, and yet basically said, "Who cares if Taiwan becomes a part of China. People will go on living their lives, partying, playing, drinking, KTVing."

Just because you see those kids in China partying, drinking, KTVing, does that necessarily mean that is all they want in life? Sure, if all you are concerned about in life is going to your Luxy and then hopping over to the local KTV, perhaps maybe so, Taiwan won't change much if it was under China. But for everyone else, real changes will occur for the worse. Take for example, internet usage. I know many friends who have studied abroad in China, or spent a week or so there and loved how they had to go through proxy servers just to connect to Facebook. Forget Facebook, I wouldn't even be able to blog on my own site. Sure, an inconvenience you may say - so what?

How about getting detained and arrested at the airport for carrying an "Alice in the Wonderland" book? And then proceeding to have to pay some ungodly amount to them just to let you be set free and shipped back to wherever you were coming from?

How about running your own business and one afternoon a couple PLA officers stroll by your store and basically tell you to give them free stuff or they will give you a hard time? Like that? I sure as hell wouldn't. Who would? Oh, communists.

Puh-lease. Are you kidding yourselves? Who in their right mind would rather have Taiwan under the control of China instead of being an independent and sovereign country? Let's leave the unification of Taiwan with China for another dimensional word and keep Taiwan as it is now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ask And 'Ye Shall Receive

From the Facebook image comments:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We believe the source of the error was new address verification software used by our online application vendor. It seems to be an address field dropdown menu where the error is showing. We have not been able to see it in our residency fields. Only the student address field. We have contacted the vendor and asked them to fix the error immediately.

We are very sorry that this happened. Again, than you for bringing it to our attention.

Paul... See More

Paul Seegert
Associate Director for Operations
University of Washington
Office of Admissions
As well as this one, noting that the applications are closed, and thus the "fix" wasn't actually implemented, but should be there next year. Hopefully they actually come through and fix it for the next application period. Keep us posted if it doesn't!

We recently learned that there was an error on the University of Washington undergraduate online application form. The error was in an address field where it listed Taiwan as "Taiwan, Province of China".... See More

We believe the source of the error was the new address verification software used by our online application vendor. Our online applications are now closed because our deadlines have passed. We will have the company correct the error so it will be listed as "Taiwan" on future applications.

We are very sorry that this occurred, and we appreciate that it was brought to our attention.

Thank you,

I never actually got a response to my own letter - but I was late in sending it, as I was typing out my 700 word letter on why it should be Taiwan and not Taiwan, province of China.

Reminder: 2/28 Event at Kane Hall next Sunday! (See a couple posts down for more information)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

China's Plot to Takeover Taiwan by 2012

A week or two ago, I saw this news popping up around the blogs about a new book by a Yuan Hongbing, a former Dean (of School of Criminal Law) at Beijing University, which reveals the steps that China is hoping to take in order to bring Taiwan under its control by 2012. Yes, 2012 as in within the next two years. Included is information classified as top-secret and confidential by the Chinese government. It should definitely be a worthy read, especially if you can read Chinese.

As of now I believe the book, English titled, "Taiwan Disaster," is currently available in Chinese - so English readers will have to wait. I was hoping to get a copy of this book as it certainly falls in line with what I believe will be happening. That is, that a significant change or move in the Taiwan Straits will occur sometime within the next 10 years - and keep in mind that I stated that when Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan's president. So, the time frame I was looking at was between 2008 - 2018.

My reasons for such? The pace at which Ma Ying-jeou is bringing the two sides together is much too fast for there to be proper safeguards and special considerations in place for Taiwan to protect its sovereignty and democracy. Furthermore, the deteriorating global economic conditions will further put strain on China as well as Taiwan. What I fear the most is that with China's bubble economy and the possibility of Taiwan becoming a "One-China" economy, the potential for Taiwan to be taken down when China's bubble pops will be exponentially increased. At that point, it will be extremely hard for the Taiwanese side to make a stand when they are struggling economically. You may ask, what is the first step in China's evil plan? ECFA.

The book above will likely describe the ECFA is being one of those first steps, and that is why although Ma Ying-jeou continues to claim that this economic agreement is simply an economic agreement, nothing is ever that simple.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Free Speech Friday (the 19th) (Updated)

Just a heads up for those who attend UW. I submitted my letter regarding the UW listing Taiwan as a province of China. It's similar to the letter I wrote in the previous post, with some slight additions and tweaks to make it more publish-worthy.

I hope all of you will pick up a copy of The Daily this Friday, the 19th! It should appear in the "Free Speech Friday" section (barring the potential for too many letters to be submitted, and mine being ousted because of it being a response to something that has not appeared in The Daily.

02/19/10 Update:

Here's the online version of my letter as it will appear in today's print version. Thanks for the support everyone. Unofficially, someone else has posted that the UW Office of Admissions has contacted the vendor they use to fix this error - they have yet to personally respond to me, but I was likely not the only one to let them know about this error. Just goes to show that we can get things done with simple things like e-mails and letters.

'Tis a good day to be part of the Taiwanese community at UW.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

228 Event at University of Washington

Something for all my friends and those of you in the Seattle area. For 228 (last day of February), the Washington chapter of FAPA and UW TOSA is hosting a seminar/discussion on the historical significance of 228, as well as the current relationship between US-Taiwan and what still needs to be done. I personally met Brock Freeman, I believe one of the original founders of the Human Rights for Taiwanese (Seattle) organization, at the recent Lunar New Year Celebration for TAGS (Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle). He is an American (caucasian) that is a strong supporter for Taiwan's democracy and self-determination.

If a non-Taiwanese can find the need to join in Taiwan's fight for democracy and self-determination, I believe that we as Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans need to show our own desire to see a democratic, sovereign, and prosperous Taiwan. So, I urge not only Taiwanese, but also all my friends (regardless if you are Taiwanese or not) to come join this discussion. If you've always wondered what the big deal about Taiwan is, here's your chance to get a glimpse of the current issues that Taiwan currently faces, as well as its history and fight for freedoms and democracy.

Here's the official press release for this event:

Reexamining Taiwan’s 228 Massacre: A discussion on the U.S. role in Taiwan then and now

When: Sunday, February 28, 2009; 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Where: University of Washington, Kane Hall 110, Seattle, WA 98195


On February 28, the Washington Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) will host a discussion to examine the importance of the "228 Massacre" to the understanding of present-day Taiwan, the US Government’s relationship and culpability, as well as what needs to be done today to deliver on the promise made to the Taiwanese during WWII.

Participating on the panel is Jonathan Manthorpe, author of Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan and International Affairs columnist for the Vancouver Sun; Dr. Sam Small, Vice-Chairman of the Taiwan Veterans Badge of Honor Association; and Bryan Chou, second-generation Taiwanese-American, active in the Taiwanese-American community and in the group, Human Rights for Taiwanese.


On February 28, 1947, the arrest of a cigarette vendor in Taipei led to large-scale protests by the native Taiwanese against the corruption and repression of Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalist government, which had come over from China with the U.S. Government’s blessing after Japan's defeat by the Allied forces in 1945. Citing the glorious Revolution of 1776, the Americans promised freedom to the Taiwanese from Japanese rule. However, following the unarmed protests, troops that Chiang's government secretly sent from China rounded up and executed an entire generation of leading figures, including students, lawyers, and doctors. Scholars estimate that up to 28,000 people lost their lives in the turmoil.

The U.S. Consulate in Taipei reported back about these events, but was told by Washington to do nothing. During the "White Terror" of the subsequent years, the Nationalists ruled Taiwan under martial law, which ended only when democratization began during the mid-1980s. The "228 Massacre" remains a defining event in the political divide that exists in Taiwan today.

To imagine for Americans what this “228 Massacre” meant for Taiwanese, picture the British, after the Boston Tea Party, then rounding up all of who we now view as the founding fathers and summarily executing them. The ramifications of this on democracy and human rights in America would have been profound, perhaps to the point of America still being under British rule.


Jonathan Manthorpe

Jonathan Manthorpe has been The Sun's International Affairs columnist and a foreign correspondent for nearly 25 years. He came to Vancouver in 1998 after five years as the Southam News Asia correspondent based in Hong Kong from where he travelled and wrote on events throughout the Far East, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Manthorpe and his family were posted to Asia direct from Africa where he spent nearly five years as the regional correspondent for Southam News based in Harare, Zimbabwe. During this time Manthorpe reported on the transition from apartheid to majority rule in South Africa and covered major wars, famines and social upheavals across the continent. This posting followed nearly a decade in Europe where Manthorpe was sent in 1979 as the Toronto Star's European Bureau chief. In the early 1980s Manthorpe spent two years as a special adviser in London to then prime minister Pierre Trudeau during the campaign to patriate Canada's constitution. After the completion of that project Manthorpe became the European Correspondent for Southam News. For most of the 1970s Manthorpe was a political correspondent for the Globe and Mail and then a daily columnist for the Toronto Star.

He grew up in Toronto, but trained as a journalist in Britain where he won the national prize for the top graduate of the year in 1969. Manthorpe has won the Mitchener Award for journalism and several international prizes for his writing.

Dr. Sam Small

Dr. Sam Small is currently the Vice Chairman of the Taiwan Badge of Honor Association (BOHAUSA) and is currently working on a book about the Taiwan China unification question. He is a Vietnam veteran decorated with a Purple Heart and the Gallantry Cross Campaign Medal; assigned to the Shu Lin-Kou airstation outside of Taipei in 1971, he served two years in Taiwan. Returning to the United States, Dr. Small entered the University of Washington, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in International studies focusing on the China region; he went on to earn an MBA in in global business sustainability, then obtained his Ph.D. in International Business Sustainablitiy in 2005.

Dr. Small has spent a total of twelve years working in Taiwan and another four in China, including visits to both the Tibet and the Uighur regions currently controlled by the Beijing government. As a front-line witness to the 1989 Tienanmen massacre in Beijing, he met and talked with many of the student leaders of the China democracy movement.

As a member of BOHAUSA, Dr. Small was an official guest of the Taiwan presidential innauguration of both Chen Shui-Bian and Ma Ying-Jeou. As Vice Chairman of BOHAUSA, he has met President Ma, expressing concern about Taiwanese concerns, and has worked to promote Taiwanese concerns in the United States Congress.

Bryan Chou

Bryan Chou was born in Seattle, Washington to Taiwanese parents who immigrated to the United States. Bryan is active in the Taiwanese-American community; he has served as President of the Taiwanese American Student Association (TSA) at the University of Washington, is a member of the National Board for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA), and member of Human Rights for Taiwanese in Seattle.

Chou holds a Bachelors degree in Community and Environmental Planning from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design.

I will be there, and I hope you can join us there as well! RSVP here,

Here's a few more flyers that Brock Freeman provided me to help promote this event - take a look, especially if you are interested but not sure if you'd like to come!

Uphold Democracy Flyer
Taiwan Background Flyer

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "Chinese Taipei" Conundrum

Hard to believe it's already been two years (more or less) since the Summer Olympics. Of course, when talking about Taiwan in the Olympics, the topic of "Chinese Taipei" always comes out. This time around, whether it be because Taiwan only has one athlete participating this year, or because it's not in China's home-turf (Beijing Summer 08 Olympics), but it hasn't received much press and "noise" as in 2008.

Regardless, a few smaller media news outlets have covered it - once again reminding us that despite the claims that the Olympics are a non-political event, it inevitably is because of China.

Chinese Taipei, what Americans call Taiwan, marched out into BC Place to the cheers of some 60,000 Olympic fans during the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations on NBC Friday night. The name Chinese Taipei has a very convoluted history that has to do with its long, historical conflict the People's Republic of China and its relationship to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), according to Wikipedia.

I found a couple other articles that show quite the stark differences in reporting on Taiwan. This is the issue that is constantly being brought up in regards to Taiwan. Within Taiwan, there will always be "blue" and "green" biased news, and on the international stage, "China" and "Taiwan" biased news. Although, I will have to make the argument for being one being propaganda, and the other being real news. Take the following two articles for example, both reporting on similar things, but with a very contrasting tone:

This one with a China-slant:

The controversy has ever been there after the 1971 loss of seats by Republic Of China (ROC). The name Taiwan has been rejected by the Republic Of China as its participating name as it feels that people of both the parts of divided China are Chinese and no one is less Chinese than the other.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

University of Washington: Taiwan, Province of China

Saw this on Facebook via my friends being tagged on this note (thanks to a Spencer Chen who posted it originally). Basically the University of Washington's transfer student admissions website lists Taiwan as, "Taiwan, Province of China." As an alumnus of UW, I was deeply troubled and of course, had to send off an e-mail to UW to notify them of this error. I hope all my UW friends, will take 5-10 minutes out of their day to do so also. It is something that we should not simply say "wtf," and proceed to go on with the rest of our day.

There is a reason we have Taiwanese student organizations on campus, because we have our own distinct culture and country. Take this opportunity to raise up this issue to your own university by sending an e-mail here, and marking it "Other questions, error reports." Even the shortest one paragraph will do. Feel free to take words from my letter (below), but I believe that we each have our own opinions and should speak freely as such. Please remember to be respectful and courteous in your letters. I will likely also fire off an e-mail to the UW Daily, and see if they will write an article on this as well, you can help by letting them know about this issue as well.

Lastly, this is not a one-time issue. If you've been reading my blog for any sort of time, I've likely highlighted a similar problem where a company or website lists Taiwan as a Province of China. It is an uphill battle, but that does not mean we should take a back seat and let the world run over us. Our parents or grandparents are from Taiwan, or even you were born in Taiwan, or perhaps like me, parents from Taiwan, but born in the U.S. Regardless, We are Taiwanese. Don't let anyone ever tell you what you are or aren't. You and I both have the right to decide for ourselves what we are or aren't, what we can and cannot do, what we believe and do not believe in.

This e-mail is in regards to a recent finding among a group of Taiwanese, University of Washington students. It has come to our attention that on the UW's website for transfer applications, during Section 4 of the Application Progress (Address & Residency), it lists the country of Taiwan, as "Taiwan, Province of China." This is a problem for many Taiwanese, including those that are students at UW. As an alumni of the UW Electrical Engineering department, and as an alumni of the UW, I find it hard to believe that the UW would like to promote this kind one-sided view on Taiwan. If I recall correctly on my undergraduate admission application to the UW, there was a question on diversity - how I may have experienced diversity/differences and how it has applied to my life. Therefore, I believe it is also the UW's goal to attract, pursue, foster, and teach students in a way that promotes independent thinking and diversity.

One aspect of diversity is respecting the differences between countries, as well as differences in people's opinion. While it is certainly some peoples' opinion that Taiwan is a province of China, I assure you, there are a great number of those (Taiwanese and non-Taiwanese included), that would say that Taiwan is not a part of China. It is for this reason that the University of Washington has a couple student associations that exist to help promote and spread the word about Taiwan's distinct culture and country- the Taiwanese Student Association (TSA), as well as the Taiwanese Overseas Student Association (TOSA).

I know that there are many bright and smart Chinese students that also attend the University of Washington, and while their upbringing may cause them to believe in error that Taiwan is a part of China, it should be the University's goal to help create an environment where they question what they've "grown up with," and learn to think independently. I find it unfair to them, as well as those that may not be too knowledgeable about the Taiwan issue, for them to glance at some application page and see, "Taiwan, Province of China" and reinforce a common misconception that should be corrected.

In parting, I know that the University is a public institution, and that may mean adhering to certain laws and certain regulations that we may not know of. But, may I remind you that the current position of the United States is that it simply acknowledges China's position on Taiwan, but does not bring that position into their own. The US position is that Taiwan's status is undetermined, and as such, I believe it should not be difficult for the University of Washington to maintain even that position (If you check the US Department of State website, for countries and regions, it lists Taiwan, simply as "Taiwan"). To say that Taiwan is a Province of China in your application process is wrong and forcing an identity on a group of people that may not identify with that position.

I hope this e-mail finds its way into the right hands (until it does, please keep forwarding until the person who is in charge of this can make a decision), and this error will be corrected to that of just, "Taiwan" rather than "Taiwan, Province of China." At the very least, I hope that a review of this issue will be conducted. I believe the Taiwanese students at UW (and elsewhere) deserve this at the very least, and for everyone else who may not have knowledge of this issue. Higher education is here for us to reason, question, and think critically. Give the students the opportunity to examine and fact-find for ourselves, rather than giving us this one-sided erroneous view of Taiwan.

Thank you,

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Lone Taiwan Olympian

Another Winter Olympics, and another lonesome Olympic for Ma Chih-hung being the only representative athlete from Taiwan to participate in this year's 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Here's an interview by the Taipei Times with Ma (the athelete):

TT: Will you carry the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag?

I will carry the flag. [He was also the only athlete and the flag bearer at the Turin Olympics.]

TT: What are your feelings about that?

It’s a huge honor. But it’s only me [on the team] right now, so I hope other sports can qualify in the future. I hope by holding the flag, people will focus on our sports. I have to keep this going, so that [Taiwan] can compete in every [Winter] Olympics.
Considering he hails from Pingtung, it's more likely he's a "green" supporter, so I was sort of disappointed with his response to these questions. He basically sidestepped the issue, but I can't really blame him (since it could cause a lot of unneeded stress/attention) considering he's the only athlete from Taiwan to participate. He'd much rather devote his time and energy to winning a medal- something I understand coming from one who played sports as well.

Nevertheless, for those of you who are able to make it to Vancouver for the Olympics either tomorrow (Saturday) or Sunday, bring out your Taiwan flags! Let everyone know that Taiwan does have a national flag (albeit the R.O.C. flag) because it is a sovereign country. Any other flags that represent Taiwan will do also (DPP flag, World Taiwanese Congress flag, etc), considering the "Chinese Taipei" flag is just about "Taiwanese" as Ma Ying-jeou claims to be.

Here's the luge schedule (Run 4 is medal round, so only if he makes it that far will he be in it):

February 14, 2010

Scheduled 13:00 - Men's Singles Run 3
Scheduled 15:10* - Men's Singles Run 4

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on Chinese

This time from the view of Chinese 'dissidents,' aka exiled Chinese who are no longer welcome in China, and would likely be imprisoned or put to death if they returned.

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli (楊建利) yesterday urged Taiwan not to forget about democracy, freedom or its sovereignty when pursuing closer relations with China.

“I would like to call on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to use the language of democracy and freedom when developing closer ties with China. Taiwanese should pay more attention to their sovereignty so that it won’t be damaged when interacting with China,” Yang told a press conference coorganized by domestic civic groups to voice their support for democracy and human rights activists in China.

“Taiwanese should defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and make Taiwan’s democracy more mature so that it can become a role model for China to follow,” he said.
This reminds me of the expression, "You don't know what you've got, until you lose it." Although these Chinese dissidents may have never had the human rights and a democratic country to grow up and live in, they've experienced the world outside of China and understand that what countries like the U.S. and Taiwan have, is something that should not be taken for granted.

Why can these Chinese dissidents so easily recognize the growing problem under the Ma administration, and yet those in Taiwan can't wrap their heads around it. Hopefully not, but perhaps it really will need to take another setback in Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty in order for the Taiwanese people to wake up and realize that what they have needs to be protected and cherished.

While these Chinese dissidents have the right idea for supporting Taiwan's independent and democratic country, they still are short-sighted in thinking that Taiwan can serve as a "role model" for China to follow. If we have learned anything from the relationship between China and Hong Kong, it is that Hong Kong did not serve as a "role model" for China. Instead of influencing China, Hong Kong was influenced by China (for worse).

Taiwan needs to take note of what is happening in Hong Kong. Voter dissatisfaction with the unelected leaders is widespread(they are instead appointed by China, and/or large corporations that are largely influenced/controlled by the Communist Party). Calls for total democraticization of Hong Kong's political system is totally shut down. See this recent article in the NY Times for more on this.

In any case, the situation for Taiwan is not the same as the situation for Hong Kong. A "One Country, Two Systems" approach as it is in Hong Kong currently, would fail in Taiwan. Taiwanese would not stand for any sort of appointed positions to govern Taiwan, let alone allowing half of their lesgislature/congress to be appointed by the Chinese government (as it currently is in Hong Kong).

As a reminder, the movie Formosa Betrayed, is debuting Feb 26th in select cities (New York, LA, Boston, and a few other California cities), with it making its debut in the Seattle area quite a bit later, April 5th.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Reminder of What People in China Think

Back from my vacation to the snow-torn DC/Maryland area, dubbed "Snowmaggedon" or "Snowpocalypse." It was actually quite a sight to see 2-3 feet of snow, as I don't think I've experienced that much snow in the city. Anyways, the recent arms sales to Taiwan has once again, "angered" China. Here's a piece from China's propaganda newspaper, China Daily.
The United States is going ahead with its plan to sell arms to Taiwan despite the Chinese government's repeated warnings and protests. Though this is not the first outrageous act of the US administration after Barack Obama assumed office just over a year ago, it definitely is one of the most provocative. Besides, it ridicules the so-called "strategic partnership" between China and the US.
Let's keep in mind how China loves to renege on trade agreements (agreements between U.S. to open markets and to regulate exports to the U.S. better), as well as the Copenhagen climate talk disaster. See how China can throw up their arms in anger over what the U.S. is simply obligated to do (sell arms to Taiwan as needed), while China should be obligated to follow through on trade agreements, and yet the U.S. has yet to thoroughly enforce those agreements.

Is the US move appropriate for a strategic partner? The US recognizes that Taiwan is an integral part of China. Then why does it have to sell arms to Taiwan? How would it react if China were to sell weapons to Alaska or Hawaii?
Does the US actually recognize that Taiwan is an integral part of China? No. What the U.S. position is, is quite ambiguous- strategic ambiguity, such that the U.S. can maintain relations/semi-official relations with both China and Taiwan. The U.S. acknowledges that China sees Taiwan as it's own- that is all. It does not formally accept this claim as the U.S. position though. See the difference? Basically the U.S. is saying, "Yes, we know your position on Taiwan." But does not carry that position for themselves.

On the question of why the U.S. has to? Because it is our law, passed by elected leaders in Congress- something that China knows nothing about. So I'm not surprised that this person does not know why the U.S. has to sell arms to Taiwan.

People both in the north and the south of the 38th parallel are Koreans, just as we across the Taiwan Straits are Chinese. And just like the Koreans, we are one family.
And here's the obligatory "we are one family" line that always appears when Chinese talk about Taiwan. Terms such as, "compatriots" and "comrades" are their favorite terms to use when talking about both sides. The issue here is quite simple. Taiwanese have cultivated their own unique culture, drawing from Japanese and American cultures, to create one that is quite different from that in China. So here we are today, with an independent country called Taiwan, with a country filled with people who recognize themselves as Taiwanese, and not Chinese.

To borrow a line from the upcoming movie, Formosa Betrayed, "The Chinese say we are their brothers, but if we are their brothers, why do they treat us like this?"

As a Chinese who has relatives in Taiwan, I can claim to know people on the both sides of the Straits well. I can say with certainty that we are one family and that outside interference, like those by the US, will not bring about the reunion we desire. We have differences, but we also have the capability to settle them peacefully, without external interference.
As a Taiwanese who has no relatives in China, I can claim to know people on Taiwan, only. I can say with certainty that my family and I have no relations with China, and outside interference from China, will not bring about the "reunion" they desire. We have differences, and so we should have the capability to respect each others differences peacefully, without external (China) interference.

One does not need to be an expert in Sino-American or international relations to see what the US arms sale to Taiwan reflects.

It shows America has no respect for relations, including its strategic partnership with China, cares little about diplomacy, is uncomfortable with peace and hence ready to instigate trouble at the slightest chance it gets.

What China is showing is that is has no respect for U.S. laws, and no respect for Taiwan and her democracy. This person goes on to claim that the U.S. is uncomfortable with peace and wants to instigate? Let's set the facts straight right here, right now. The only reason the U.S. is providing arms to Taiwan is because of the Taiwan Relations Act. What is the Taiwan Relations Act for? To help Taiwan, because China (Taiwan's enemy) is holding Taiwan hostage with well over 1500+ missiles aimed at Taiwan. Perhaps the real instigator is... China? No missiles aimed at China, means no need for the U.S. to provide arms to Taiwan to defend itself.

This is the sad truth about those in China. Unable to get out, unable to get the real facts. And yet, these types of people are more sure than ever about Taiwan being a part of China, and will harass, push, fight, shove, taunt, and resort to other violent acts before ever saying that Taiwan is an independent country.