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"Taiwan is not a province of China. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan."

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Monday, February 28, 2011

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My thoughts on February 28, 2011

Lest we forget the 228 Massacre (二二八大屠殺) of 1947

What am I thinking about on this 64th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in Taiwan's history?

I'm remembering with dismay that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is still in power -- even after behaving as colonizers for over six decades -- because they still use illicit methods to get elected. Here are some examples:
* Vote buying is rampant even within their own party's Central Standing Committee, but they keep putting the guilty ones right back in.

* In the January 2010 legislative by-elections, "Two of the three seats up for grabs […] in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties were left vacant by former KMT legislators found guilty of vote-buying," reminding us of their "tradition of buying votes."

* Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) reminds readers: "The roots of vote-buying can be found in the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) long hold on power and its system for distributing the spoils of government."

* Laurence Eyton enlightens in a 2004 piece in the Asia Times Online: "[The Chinese KMT] has traditionally used its wealth to engage in what it calls 'traditional electoral practices', ie vote buying […]"
I'm reminded that the Chinese KMT still uses thuggery to maintain their power. Here are some examples:
* When disgraced former Toronto-based Government Information Office (GIO) official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) returned to Taiwan, he was picked up at airport and "assisted" by thugs in black shirts assigned by Bamboo Union (竹聯幫) gang leader Chang An-le (張安樂).

* People wearing black T-shirts and vests bearing the name of the Matsu Temple (大天后宮) physically remove college students from a protest against the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government's policies regarding students from China.

* Despite denials by police, experience should tell you who the guys in the black shirts helping to defend Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) are.

* Read my post about the movie "Formosa Betrayed," which dramatizes real incidents involving the Chinese KMT, including their use of gangsters to carry out the assassination of a political dissident on American soil.
I'm reminded that the Chinese KMT is still distorting history. Here are some examples:
* A Taipei Times editorial reminds readers about Ma's empty promises: "So much for saying that the memorial hall [renaming] issue was 'not a pressing matter.'"

* Here's a photo of a display from the renovated 228 Memorial Museum which paints former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as "recovering … order" instead of as being the perpetrator of the massacre.

* Exhibits at the newly-renovated museum paint peaceful protesters as "mobs."

* President Ma pretends that the Chinese KMT has "dealt with its past" to the same extent the government of Germany has done since World War II.

* On the blog of Taipei City councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) you can read some of the details (Hanzi) and see photos (containing Hanzi text and a little bit of English) and video (Taiwanese and Mandarin audio, Hanzi text and a little bit of English) detailing some of the changes to the museum.
And I'm reminded that while Chinese KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou -- elected as Taiwan's president in 2008 on a promise of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" (不統、不獨、不武) -- has long claimed to support democracy, he still doesn't. Here are some examples:
* Remember the days when Ma was publicly against direct presidential elections.

* Remember when the Chinese KMT boycotted their own referendum about Taiwan's participation in the United Nations.

* The Executive Yuan's (行政院) Referendum Review Committee (公投審議委員會) turned down proposed referendums on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China three times, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it had more than enough signatures and support in polls!

* In mid-2009, the Ma government reverted the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (臺灣民主紀念館) to its former name: the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (蔣中正紀念堂).
And I wouldn't be able to forget, no matter how hard I tried, that while Ma is in office as president of Taiwan, he primarily serves China. Here are some very recent examples:
* Ma wants people to stop calling China "China" and to call it "the mainland" or "the other side."

* A short time later, Beijing "praises" Ma for this.

* The Philippine government deports 14 Taiwanese suspects to China, basing the decision on a "one China" policy, yet Ma places zero blame on China.
People of Taiwan, when are you going to stop this from ever happening again?

If you have additional relevant examples to include in the topics above, please submit them in the comments below (use the HTML above the comment submission box for links) or via e-mail.

Further reading:
* Names and faces of some of the victims of the 228 Massacre (Hanzi)

* Wednesday, February 28, 2007 on Taiwan Matters!: Remembering two 228 Incidents (written before someone pointed out the obvious: that it should be referred to as the "228 Massacre" instead)

* Monday, March 1, 2004 on It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!: Hand-in-hand for peace (about my participation in the "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally" at 2:28 PM on Saturday, February 28, 2004)

* Monday, February 21, 2011 on Strait Talk: It's Taiwan, not China... Tales from Formosa, The Beautiful Island: "Formosa Displayed, Formosa Betrayed: Taiwan's 228 Museum Rewriting History?"

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

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The 2013 Cross-Strait Crisis: Day 18 - Speech by President Ma

On Sunday the 17th of March 2013, President Ma Ying-jeou went on national television at 8pm in the evening to address the public and the approximately 7.5m protestors occupying the centers of Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Hsinchu and over 20 other towns.  

The protests had first begun over three core issues: widening wealth gap and uneven distribution of ECFA benefits, rising costs for energy, food and land, and the China friendly cross-strait policies of President Ma who had been reelected in 2012 on a platform of defending Taiwan's sovereignty and dignity and 'going to the world through the Mainland'.  The slight improvement in economic conditions in 2011 combined with a poor Presidential ticket from the largest opposition party, the pro-Taiwan DPP, had convinced enough Taiwanese to give Ma a second term despite their misgivings over the nature of the closer relations between the ROC and PRC, which were led to a large part by the KMT.  

The influx of Chinese people and goods into the country and the impact on the economy (exacerbated by the administration's unwillingness to define a clear difference between Taiwanese and Chinese citizens and their rights) had left a sour taste in the mouths of many formerly independent, swing and light blue voters.   On February 26th, Lin Chiu-wen was detained by Taipei police for waving an ROC flag at a visiting Chinese delegation.  That night, he died in custody.  Police refused to release the body or allow an independent autopsy.  The following day, the homes of several prominent Taiwanese bloggers covering the case were raided by police and the blog authors put into indefinite detention.  TV's experienced blackouts for extended periods whenever news stations tried to report on events.  

On February 28th, the Vice-President took visiting ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin to pay homage at the shrine of the Chiang's in Taoyuan county, the resulting pictures of a smiling Chen angering a large swathe of the population.  On March 3rd 2012, the President met with Chen Yunlin and 40 senior KMT and CCP officials to negotiate a peace treaty in which the ROC would on October 10th 2015 be transformed into the Republic of Greater China (SAR), officially designated as a state of a federated PRC, and the 2016 Presidential elections would be renamed Chief Executive Elections.  Upon hearing the news, Taiwanese rallied en masse in the centers of their cities, demanding that the peace treaty be scrapped, that the President resign immediately, that a new constitution be written for Taiwan and Taiwanese and that the crack down on civil liberties cease immediately.  

When that happened, the PRC ordered Ma to stamp out the protests or risk facing Chinese military action.  Within days of the first strikes and occupations, the PRC began an economic embargo of Taiwan followed a week later by threats to enforce order itself. By day 18 of the siege, President Ma finally addressed the nation.  Here is the text of his speech:
I am addressing the citizens of Republic of China today in Freedom Square and across the country. I am addressing you all from the heart, a father's dialogue with his sons and daughters. 
I am proud of you as the new Republic of China generation calling for a change to the better, dreaming and making the future. 
First and foremost, I am telling you that the blood of your martyrs and injured will not go in vain. I assure you that I will not relent in harshly punishing those responsible. I will hold those who persecuted our citizens accountable with the maximum deterrent sentences. 
I tell the families of those innocent victims that I suffered plenty for them, as much as they did. My heart was in pain because of what happened to them, as much as it pained their hearts. 
I am telling you that heeding to your voice, your message and demands is an irretraceable commitment. 
I am determined to live up to my promises with all firmness and honesty and I am totally determined to implement (them), without hesitation or reconsideration. 
This commitment springs from a strong conviction that your intentions are honest and pure and your action. Your demands are just and legitimate demands. 
The mistakes can be made in any political system and in any state. But, the most important is to recognise them and correct them as soon as possible and bring to account those who have committed them. 
I am telling you that as a president I find no shame in listening to my country's citizens and interacting with them. 
The big shame and embarrassment, which I have not done and never will do, would be listening to foreign dictations whatever may be the source or pretext.
'Defined vision' 
My sons, the citizens of Republic of China, brother citizens, I have unequivocally declared that I will not run for president in the next elections, satisfied with what I've offered my country in over 60 years during war and peace. 
I declared my commitment to that, as well as my equal commitment to carrying out my responsibility in protecting the constitution and the people's interests until power and responsibility are handed over to whoever is elected in next September, following free and candid elections with guarantees of freedom and candour. 
This is the oath I took before the Father of the Nation and my country and one which I will keep until we take the Republic of China and its people to a safe harbour. 
I have set a defined vision to come out of this crisis and to carry out what the citizens and the citizens have called for in a way which would respect the constitutional legitimacy and not undermine it. 
It will be carried out in a way that would bring stability to our society and achieve the demands of its citizens, and, at the same time, propose an agreed-upon framework for a peaceful transfer of power through responsible dialogue with all factions of society and with utmost sincerity and transparency. 
I presented this vision, committed to my responsibility in getting the nation out of these difficult times and continuing to achieve it first, hour by hour, anticipating the support and assistance of all those who are concerned about Republic of China and its people, so that we succeed in transforming it (the vision) into to a tangible reality, according to a broad and national agreement with a large base, with the courageous military forces guaranteeing its implementation. 
We have started indeed building a constructive national dialogue, including the Republic of China citizenss who led the calls for change, and all political forces. This dialogue has resulted in a tentative agreement of opinions and positions, putting our feet at the start of the right track to get out of the crisis and must continue to take it from the broad lines on what has been agreed upon to a clear road map and with a fixed agenda. 
From now to next September, day after day, we'll see the peaceful transition of power. 
Constitutional reforms
This national dialogue has focused on the setting up of a constitutional committee that will look into the required amendments of the constitution and the needed legislative reforms. 
It (the dialogue) also met about the setting up of a follow-up committee expected to follow up the sincere implementation of the promises that I have made before the people. 
I have made sure that the composition of the two committees is made of Republic of China figures that are known for their independence and experience, experts in constitutional law and judges. 
In addition to that, the loss of the martyrs of the sons of Republic of China in sad and tragic events has hurt our hearts and shaken the homeland's conscience. 
I immediately issued my instructions to complete the investigation about last week's events (the clashes between pro- and anti-Ma Ying-jeou demonstrators) and submit its results immediately to the general prosecutor for him to take the necessary legal deterrent measures. 
Yesterday, I got the first report on the top priority constitutional amendments proposed by the committee of justice system and law experts and that I have set up to look into the required constitutional and legislative amendments. 
In response to the proposals in the committee's report, and in compliance with the prerogatives of the president of the republic, in conformity with Article 189 of the constitution, I have submitted a request today asking for the amendment of six constitutional clauses: 76, 77, 88, 93 and 189, in addition to the annulment of clause 179. 
Moreover, I am asserting my readiness to submit, at a later time, an (additional) request to change any other clauses referred to me by the constitutional committee, according to the needs and justifications it sees fit. 
These top-priority amendments aim to ease the conditions for presidential nominations, and the fixing of limited terms of presidency to ensure the rotation of power, and the strengthening of the regulations of elections oversight to guarantee their freedom and fairness. 
It is in the judiciary's prerogative to decide about the validity and membership of MPs and amend the conditions and measures on the amendment of the constitution. 
The proposal to delete Article 179 from the constitution aims to achieve the required balance between the protection of the nation from the dangers of terrorism and safeguarding the civil rights and freedoms of the citizens which opens the door to the lifting of the emergency law following the return of calm and stability and the presence of suitable conditions to lift the state of emergency. 
'In one trench'
Brother citizens, the priority now is to bring back trust between Republic of China citizens, trust in our economy and our international reputation, and trust in protecting the change and movement that we have started from turning back or retreating. 
The Republic of China is going through difficult times which it is not right for us to allow continuing, as it will continue to cause us and our economy harm and losses, day after day, which will end in circumstances which those citizens who called for change and reform will become the first to be harmed by. 
The current moment is not to do with myself, it is not to do with Ma Ying-jeou, but is to do with Republic of China, its present and the future of its children. 
All Republic of China citizens are in one trench now, and it is on us to continue the national dialogue which we have started, with a team spirit, not one of division, and far from disagreement and infighting so that we can get Republic of China past its current crisis, and to restore trust in our economy, and tranquillity and peace to our citizens, and return the Republic of China’s streets to normal everyday life. 
I was as young as Republic of China's citizens today, when I learned the Republic of China military honour, allegiance and sacrifice for my country. 
I have spent a lifetime defending its soil and sovereignty. I witnessed its wars, with its defeats and victories. 
I lived the days of defeat and occupation, I also lived the days of the (retrocession) crossing, victory and liberation. 
It was the happiest day of my life when I raised the flag of Republic of China over Taipei. 
I faced death many times as a student, in America, and numerous other times. I never succumbed to foreign pressure or dictations. 
I kept the peace. I worked towards the stability and security of Republic of China. I worked hard for its revival and for its people. 
I never sought power or fake popularity. I trust that the overwhelming majority of the people know who Ma Ying-jeou is. It pains me to see how some of my countrymen are treating me today. 
'Immortal identity'
In any case, I am completely aware of the seriousness of the current hard turn of events as I am convinced that the Republic of China is crossing a landmark point in its history which imposes on all of all to weigh in the higher interests of our country and to put the Republic of China first above any and all considerations. 
I saw fit to delegate presidential jurisdictions to the vice-president as defined by the constitution. I am certain that Republic of China will overcome its crisis. 
The will of its people will not break. It will be back on its feet with the honesty and loyalty of its people, all its people. 
It will return the machinations and glee of those who were gleeful and machinated against it.  We, citizens of the Republic of China, will prove our ability to achieve the demands of the people with civilised and mature dialogue. 
We will prove that we are no-one's servants, that we do not take instructions from anyone, and that only the demands of the citizens and the pulse of the street take our decisions. 
We will prove all this with the spirit and tenacity of the great Chinese race, through the unity and cohesion of the descendants of the Yellow Emperor, and through our commitment to Republic of China's dignity as well as its unique and immortal identity, for it is the essence and the base of our presence for more than 7,000 years. 
This spirit will continue to live within us for as long as Republic of China and its people are present. It will live in every one of our peasants, workers and intellectuals. It will remain in the hearts of our old men, our citizens and our children, Han and Aboriginal. It will remain in the minds and conscience of all those Chinese yet unborn. 
I say again that I lived for the sake of this country, preserving its responsibility and trust. The Republic of China will remain above all and above everyone. 
It will remain so until I hand over this trust and pole. This is the goal, the objective, the responsibility and the duty. It is the beginning of life, its journey, and its end. 
It will remain a country dear to my heart. It will not part with me and I will not part with it until my passing. 
The Republic of China will remain immortal with its dignified people with their heads held high. 
May the Father of the Nation preserve the safety of Republic of China and watch over its people. 
May peace be upon you.
* The speech above is actually the one given by Hosni Mubarak to the Egyptian people and the protestors demanding his resignation on Thursday February 10th 2011.  I have only carried out a limited 'find and replace' of some high frequency words such as names of the country etc with a little cosmetic tidying and grammar correction.  The bulk of the speech (95%) is from the English translation from the BBC Website.  Eerie eh? 

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

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Lunar New Year in Taiwan: 2011

In Taiwan, you can even call it "Taiwanese New Year"!
I'm back from a long break in blogging with a slight variation of the "traditional" New Year post. To kick things off this time around, here's a musical video wishing you a Happy Taiwanese New Year (brought to my attention on Twitter by cyrixhero):


3:58 YouTube video: "快樂台灣年 Happy Taiwanese new year "

Thursday, February 3, 2011 (That's tomorrow!) is New Year's Day as celebrated by the citizens of several Asian countries as well as by many other people around the world. Too many English-speaking people use the term "Chinese New Year" to describe the holiday, despite the fact that the direct back-translation "中國新年" is rarely used by Mandarin speakers. Chinese people usually call the holiday "Lunar New Year" (農曆新年) or "Spring Festival" (春節).

Furthermore, the holiday doesn't belong solely to the Chinese.

Start with the person in the mirror
Why should you change the way you speak? Here's an example for your consideration.

Have you ever heard of the 228 Massacre? Like many others, I used to refer to it as the "228 Incident," but when someone reminded me about how that diminishes the fact that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) killed countless Taiwanese in that "incident," I immediately made the change in my speech and writing. What I don't get is how some people who I am certain are pro-Taiwan somehow cling to the phrase "Chinese New Year."

Are you that kind of person? If so, I hope you can ask yourself why you do that and if you can change.

Simplicity
Here's a clear and simple list of reasons to help you decide to make that change:
1. Lunar New Year is not exclusively Chinese.

2. Even Chinese people call the holiday "Lunar New Year," so you won't be hurting the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese by using that name.

3. Since you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you are in Taiwan or that you are Taiwanese. (Maybe neither of those things applies to you -- you might just be interested in doing something to help Taiwan.)

4. Way too many people already do things which confuse others into believing that Taiwan's culture is a subset of China's.

5. You don't have to do things just because others do them or because they're habits.
Language is a virus (from outer space)
For some more background (you'll have to follow the links and do some more reading), here's a recap (with some spelling changes) of a couple of my earlier posts related to why many people prefer to call this holiday "Lunar New Year" (Taiwanese: Lông-li̍k sin-nî; Hanzi: 農曆新年; Hanyu pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián):
It doesn't just belong to the Chinese

Nor is it just "politically correct." Read about it in English and/or Chinese.

Happy Lunar New Year! 萬事如意! [bān-sū jû-ì! / wànshì rúyì!]

UPDATE:
Being in a bit of a rush to begin my vacation, I missed these links (all are presented in both English and Mandarin):* How the people of Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of South Korea celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of Singapore celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of Malaysia celebrate Lunar New Year
And here's an update on the Taiwanese Romanization which I derived by using a dictionary on the web site of Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE):
Lông-li̍k sin-nî khuài-lo̍k! (農曆新年快樂!) Bān-sū jû-ì! (萬事如意!)
If you're Taiwanese, stop inadvertently diluting your own culture. Remember (Ē -kì-tit/Ōe-kì-tit [要記得]): Every time you say "Lunar New Year," you're saying "No!" to those who want to promote China while diminishing Taiwan.

Related reading:
* Check out the Twitter search results for "Lunar New Year." I'm seeing Tweets there by people from Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and other countries around the globe!

* See what Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO) says about Lunar New Year.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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