Anniversary of Deadly Taiwan Riot

February 28, 2007 at 10:55 am | Posted in 228, China, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國, 二二八 | 1 Comment

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Caroline Gluck in Taipei, Feb. 28 2007 BBC News

Commemorative events are being held throughout the week as Taiwan marks the 60th anniversary of what is known as the “2/28 incident”. The event was an uprising that began on 28 February 1947, sparked by the beating of a female vendor by authorities for selling untaxed cigarettes. Between 18,000 and 28,000 people are said to have been killed in riots and a subsequent crackdown.

Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalists – then based in mainland China – ordered his troops to Taiwan to quell the riots. Two years later, he and his supporters fled to the island after losing to the Communists in the Chinese civil war.

For decades, when Taiwan was under martial law, the massacre was a taboo. Even in recent years, the incident remains highly sensitive and politically divisive. It touches on issues that are the most hotly debated in Taiwan: national identity and tensions between native Taiwanese and mainland-born Chinese. The passing years have done little to heal the pain for the relatives of those who were killed or disappeared…

“It was March 12 1947 at noon. Five young men came to my house; they said ‘we [want to] ask you about the newspaper company’; it was a very short conversation. My father left with them but never came back.

“For years we couldn’t talk about it. My mother was very scared; worried that government police would come back to arrest us.” Only decades later did she learn from an eyewitness that her father was shot by soldiers. She also discovered, after being anonymously sent official documents, that he had been falsely accused with others of plotting the 2/28 incident and being a member of the Chinese Communist Party. To this day, no government department has acknowledged he was arrested…

It’s of utmost importance that younger generations are educated of this tragic event to prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future, which would also help them put into perspective exactly how much Taiwan’s democracy has progressed. I believe the KMT must take up responsibility for the massacre that occurred on Feb. 28 1947 as well as for the systematic execution of various community leaders and intellectuals that followed the incident. Furthermore, the KMT should also grant historians access to its archives to determine once and for all the level of involvement Chiang Kai Shek had with the order to send in the military to quell the riot.

With that said, the DPP should refrain from exploiting the 228 Incident for election and political purposes, which would only further divide the Taiwanese people and throw the country into deeper chaos. On the other hand, the DPP should also acknowledge the fact that a substantial number of the victims of the 228 Incident were actually Mainland-born Taiwanese, who were attacked by local Taiwanese during the riot. Therefore, in essence, both sides were at fault. If the truth must be told, then the people should be entitled to all the facts, not just bits and pieces, which by themselves, have little or no value given that they would merely serve as propaganda material for the KMT and the DPP.

China Tries to Reclaim Taiwan Political Heroine

February 27, 2007 at 12:53 pm | Posted in 228, China, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國, 二二八 | Leave a comment

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Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Feb. 27, 2007 Reuters

China is mounting a propaganda blitz ahead of commemorations in Taiwan this week of a crackdown by Chinese troops in 1947 that left thousands of Taiwanese dead and became a rallying point for independence supporters.

A Chinese government-backed publisher has unveiled a new book on Hsieh Hsueh-hung — known as Xie Xuehong in China — who led demonstrations in central Taiwan in 1947, to claim her as a Chinese heroine and not the “mother of Taiwan independence”…

“Some Taiwan independence scholars have political motives and assert that Hsieh Hsueh-hung is the ‘mother of Taiwan independence’,” said Liang Guoyang, head of the All-China Taiwanese Association, a Chinese-backed group…

As usual, I’m amazed by the CCP’s uncanny ability to nit pick at small details, take them out of context and then exploit them to serve their own political agendas. I would like to see the CCP mention the fact that Hsieh founded the Taiwanese Communist Party, whose ideologies revolved around the idea of a Taiwanese nation and whose ultimate goal was to establish the Republic of Formosa, an independent nation free from the control and influences of China.

Taiwanese, Canadian, and U.S. Runners Cross the Sahara Desert

February 22, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Africa, Canada, 美国, 美國, News, Taiwan, United States, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻 | Leave a comment

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Taipei, Feb. 22 2007 Yahoo! News/AFP

A team of three ultra-marathon runners, including Kevin Lin from Taiwan, have completed a 7,500 kilometers (4,580 miles) trek across the Sahara desert in 111 days, reports said.

Lin, as well as Charlie Engle of the United States and Ray Zahab of Canada, arrived at Suez Canal on Tuesday after departing from western Africa, the China Times and Liberty Times said.

The trio began their run from Senegal, and passed through Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and ended in Egypt, the papers said…

“All I want to do right now is lie down and have a good sleep,” Lin, one of Asia’s best-known endurance athletes, was quoted as saying.

A documentary of the epic run has been made with Hollywood star Matt Damon narrating and Oscar-winner James Moll directing.

林義傑說:「應該這麼說,這不是我的驕傲,而是台灣的驕傲,人類首度成功橫越大撒哈拉沙漠的三位成員中就有一位台灣人,這表示台灣人有世界上幾乎所有國家都辦不到的能耐。」

Taiwan Asserting Itself, in Name Only

February 20, 2007 at 8:51 pm | Posted in China, Chinese Civil War, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

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Evan Osnos in Taipei, Feb. 20 2007 Chicago Tribune

Odd as it seems, China Airlines doesn’t fly to the Chinese capital or, for that matter, anywhere in the vast heartland of the People’s Republic. That’s because the airline belongs to the other China, the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan.

For more than half a century, through decades of gaffes and misdirected phone calls from the outside world, archrival governments in Beijing and Taipei have each retained the name China on state-run businesses and agencies, a cold war over words between the mainland and the self-ruled island it calls a renegade province.

“I, myself, get confused,” said Joseph Wu, head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council.

But the joint custody of the name China is beginning to crumble, a telling sign of how China’s rise in the world and Taiwan’s deepening isolation are further fueling their dangerous feud.

This month, Taiwan’s government abruptly pulled the name China from some key state-run institutions: China Shipbuilding became Taiwan International Shipbuilding; the postal service went from Chunghwa Post, which uses a Mandarin word for China, to Taiwan Post.

In the high-stakes standoff across the Taiwan Straits, China has roughly 1,000 missiles pointed at the island, by Taiwan’s count–these name changes are no small matters…

As a sovereign nation, whether it be Taiwan, the Republic of China (on Taiwan), or simply the Republic of China depending on one’s perspective, it is both imperative and reasonable that Taiwan differentiates itself from the People’s Republic of China and its government, namely the CCP. However, it seems rather pretentious for DPP, the ruling party for the past seven years to take such drastic measures with only a little over a year before the 2008 presidential elections.

Originally, the KMT adopted names such as Chunghwa Telecom, China Airlines, and many others to maintain that “its government,” the Republic of China remained the sole legitimate government of China despite having lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Today, with their political purpose rendered obsolete, these names merely serve as a quiet reminder of the cultural and ethnic ties most Taiwanese share with the ethnic Chinese population in China. To “explicitly” sever this link between Taiwan and China may indeed bolster and raise further awareness of the Taiwanese identity and bring the country closer together. But to what end? At the end of the day, there would still be roughly 1,000 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan from China’s eastern Fujian Province, Taiwan would still be internationally isolated, and Taiwan’s economy would still be at the mercy of investors and their perception of the level of danger faced by Taiwan.

Taiwan should stand up to China’s aggressive tactics, maintain its abilities to fend off potential attacks from China, and never give up its right to self-determination. However, all this must be done “as inconspicuously as possible” to minimize direct confrontations with China. Because like it or not, given China’s sheer size and its growing military and economic prowess, it simply doesn’t make sense for Taiwan to challenge China head on.

Japan Anger at U.S. Sex Slave Bill

February 19, 2007 at 11:35 pm | Posted in China, 美国, 美國, Indonesia, Japan, News, Philippines, Politics, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, World War II, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 日本, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

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Feb. 19 2007 BBC News

Japan has expressed its displeasure at a resolution before the US Congress calling on Tokyo to apologise for the country’s use of sex slaves in wartime.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the resolution was not based on facts.

Sponsored by several members of the US House of Representatives, the proposed text urges Tokyo to formally resolve the issue of so-called “comfort women”.

Japan admits its army forced women to be sex slaves during World War II but has rejected compensation claims.

Historians believe at least 200,000 young women captured during World War II were forced to serve in Japanese army brothels.

A large number of the victims – who were known as comfort women – were Korean, but they also included Chinese, Philippine and Indonesian women…

Minister Aso insists the resolution was not based on facts. But exactly what kind of “facts” must be presented to the Japanese government for it to acknowledge the need to issue a formal apology? Historians have collected photographs, official wartime documents and testimonies from both comfort women throughout Asia and former Japanese soldiers, which all support the accusations made by these comfort women. Interestingly, thousands of miles away in Europe, similar evidence with regard to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews were more than sufficient in convincing the world that the Holocaust took place and thus prompted Germany to issue a formal apology to the Jews. Evidently, what Japan is most concerned of is its pride, both as a nation and the pride of its people. However, given the ongoing tension between Japan and its neighboring countries, it should by now recognize that it must follow Germany’s example in order to become truly accepted by the global community.

China Honours Man Who Reshaped World

February 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm | Posted in China, 經濟, 经济, Economics, News, Politics, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

When Deng Xiaoping came to power in the late 1970s, the tallest building in China was the 18-floor Beijing Hotel. Today the Jingguang building soars to 53 storeys and by 2008 will be eclipsed by the 330-metre China World Trade Centre.

China might still be low-rise but for Deng’s determination to open the country after decades of isolation, and to try to end grinding poverty by forcing through market-style economic reforms.

But despite his role in reshaping the nation, the memorials for Deng today, the tenth anniversary of his death, are likely to be as low-key as the man himself…

His daughter says that his most difficult task was to overhaul the system of lifelong tenure for the elite. “He ended power-for-life for leaders, replacing government by man with government by law. I’m very proud to say that my father was the first leader in Chinese history who retired while he was still in power.”

I can’t help but think he was simply doing what he had to do under the circumstances at the time. No matter who came into power after Mao’s death, the results would have been relatively the same. China prior to its market reforms in 1978 was on the verge of an economic and social breakdown. China needed to open up its markets to allow for the injection of foreign investments to revitalize its economy. The way I see it, Deng only had two options: 1) retain the old communist system, maintain China’s economic isolation, and thus run the risk of widespread civil unrest, which most likely would have led to the downfall of the CCP regime OR 2) convince the remaining party elders that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” was more socialist than capitalist, which would allow China to embrace capitalism as well as maintain the CCP’s legitimacy as a “communist” government. The decisions Deng faced were not rocket science, but simple common sense.

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