Saturday, May 28, 2005

ESWN on Taiwan in the Chinese Press.

ESWN, a blog of consistent high quality, has a fabulous article on what China needs to understand about Taiwan. The article it discusses appeared in the Chinese press...
The appearance of an article in a mainland Chinese newspaper has caused quite a stir. Here are the factors that made this simple event so significance. First, the newspaper is the Chinese Youth Daily, an organ of the Chinese Communist Youth League and therefore an article of this nature must have received official blessing from higher up. Second, the author is Lung Ying-tai, one of the top public intellectuals brought up in Taiwan, educated in the United States and Germany and presently affiliated with Hong Kong University. Third, the topic of the article is Taiwan and its mainstream values of democracy and freedom. This article goes a long way to explaining that the overall reluctance of the people of Taiwan for immediate re-unification has little or nothing to do with any independence movement but much more with a lifestyle that has democracy and freedom ingrained in every aspect of daily life.
ESWN does make one error of misunderstanding...the reason we have these democratic practices in Taiwan is because of the independence movement, which was also a democracy movement.

Another error lies in ESWN's analysis here:

In our society, some people say that Taiwan should become independent quickly, some say that Taiwan should be unified quickly with China, and others say that the status quo should be preserved. Which do you agree with?
- 16.0% be independent quickly
- 7.4% keep the status quo, and then work towards independence
- 41.2% keep the status quo and then watch what happens
- 9.7% keep the status quo forever
- 7.8% keep the status quo and then unite with China
- 6.1% unify with China quickly
- 11.9% don't know/no response

Both immediate independence and unification are minority preferences. Why does the majority want to maintain some form of the status quo? What are they looking for? The translated section of this essay offers an explanation. Simply put, the people in Taiwan have lived in a democratic system with certain freedoms and rights taken as granted as part of their daily lives.
That's only part of it. What ESNW doesn't mention is that the reason so many opt for the status quo is that China points 700 missiles at Taiwan, and threatens to murder Taiwanese should they assert their democratic right to independence. That's a powerful incentive for the status quo. If China did not threaten to murder Taiwanese in large numbers, then they would all opt immediately for independence. ESNW should also note that those who want immediate independence outnumber those who want immediate annexation by 2.5 to 1.

It's not often you get someone writing a piece for the mainland press that is so perspicacious

People in Taiwan are accustomed to living in a democratic system. This means that the democracy system holds the same place in their daily lives as as daily necessities such as tea, rice, cooking oil and salt.
Good spot, ESWN!


Anonymous said...


Two things:

The man writing the article that was bandied about in China is TAIWANESE. Yo uare NOT, nor will you ever be. No insult intended there, but you've been here shy of a decade (maybe a decade, but I think shy of that - please do correct me if I'm wrong) and they GREW UP here.

So, armchair pontification aside, I think you're wrong. Taiwanese Do NOT understand democracy. It's almost as old as your stay here, and as indicitive of their "elections" it's still in its infantcy (learning to hobble along before "walking.").

Have you ever lived in China?

I have.

Let me tell you, outside of the "other" Taiwan of Taipei and Taichung and Kaohsiung - the only differences between the mainland and Taiwan are:

SeXXXy bing lan girls - and boy, do they rule!), and instead of relying on the tenticles of the state-controled media to tell them the way of the world, the Taiwanese prefer to invest trust in gutter "journalist" for TVBS. Dong Sun News Kazoo, etc. to tell them what to thnk and care about.

The line seperating China and Taiwan is threadbare, at best, and idiots like Hu Jin-tao and Da-Bien are only stoking ehtnocentric, hate-filled fires to keep the masses from realizing the truth.

I'd include the KMT in the analogy, but why include a dying force?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to add - in regards ot the weight machine - lookin' good. You've lost some weight over the years and I wish you the best in achieving whatever goal you're working towards with such a machine (you're happily married - who do you have to impress??? Da-Bien? The DPP?).

Michael Turton said...

The man writing the article that was bandied about in China is TAIWANESE. Yo uare NOT, nor will you ever be. No insult intended there, but you've been here shy of a decade (maybe a decade, but I think shy of that - please do correct me if I'm wrong) and they GREW UP here.

I didn't say they weren't Taiwanese. I noted that it was unusual for the mainland Chinese press to publish such an article.

Taiwanese Do NOT understand democracy. It's almost as old as your stay here, and as indicitive of their "elections" it's still in its infantcy (learning to hobble along before "walking.").

It looks like there are quite a lot of people out there who really hate democracy in Taiwan, and hate Taiwan itself. I wonder what their motive is?

Yes, I know China and Taiwan are very close. So what? Your responses on my blog seem driven by hate and fear. What is it you are afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Hate and fear?

Not really. But, with that logic you might as well change you name to Michel Chen.

"If you do not support the DPP you are against Taiwan" - Chen Shui-bian, 2003

I happen to feel that the DPP charade of a "democracy" does more to throw the island backwards than forwards. Proof is in the pudding regarding the Hokklo jingoism the DPP have as the backbone to their party. Forcing children to learn the Fujian dialect as a requirement in school (even though they are Hakkanese or only speak Mandarin). What makes that different than the archane "20 nt for speaking Taiwanese" b. s. that the KMT forced on students?

How about the DPP going censor-happy on newsmedia? Media from the mainland (i. e. CCTV)?

How is that democratic, Michael?

Tht behavior belies a hATRED of Taiwan.

Fear and hatered are what fuel the DPP. The implications that you are either with them or against Taiwan have raped the minds of a lot of people on this island, and apparently yours too.

If you critique the DPP in Taiwan many automatically assume you're pro-KMT. If you point out how much better Ma Ying-jiou is for Taiwanese politicis internationally (to help the island's profile, the people's welfare and to take the case of Taiwan not being Cina's bitch to the masses outside of the island) - you are assumed to be against Taiwan and a supporter of the KMT, and the 81 year history of it fouling up the island.

THAT is fear and hate.

Let's see you talk about Chen approving nuclear and toxic dumping on aboriginal grounds? How the DPP have done fuckall for the handicapped? How about how the island is still run like primitive, mainland Confucian sects with each county willfully makign things up as they go along, rather than abide by national law? How about how under Da-bien the world has isolated Taiwanese diplomatic power FURTHER than under the first (and only) publically elected Lee Deng-hui administration? How about the ethnic hatred Da-bien verbally threw forward towards KMT candidtates in national elections - especially those who immigrate to Taiwan (like Da-bien's ancestors once did)? How about how he handled SARS when it was clear that it was not isolated in China:

His daughter and her hubby got cushy vacation from their hospital and he went pubic bragging that "Taiwan has no infections" 2 weeks into the pandemic, and did NOTHING to implement security and to hinder any possible spread through preventative measures (The Taiwan-Hong Kong-China triangle of business and travel is a known fact to EVERY Taiwanese adult, regrdles of ethnicity, gender, occupation, social status, income and location on the island)? How about how Chen failed to implement national security to ensure that hospitals were propperly staffed, equipped and protected when shit did hit the fan?

What about THOSE issues - ALL under Chen's 6 plus year admonistration, er, "administration."

Dude, the fact is - YOU HATE TAIWAN if you support the open-mouthed jackass. He's done more to harm this island than any other politician actively working within in the government today.

You're trying to be a "pundit," but your bias for the DPP prohibits you from stating all of the facts.

Don't be a Chen Shui-hitler and assume that people who paint the truth (that the DPP are little more than a Hokklo KMT with their own agenda) are against the island. In fact, 99% of the time it's the contrary, despite the Newt Gingrich GOPACT type of implications: "if you don't support our group then you're against the whole nation!"

PS: If you REALLY love Taiwan (and I'm pretty sure you do, despite being brainwashed by the DPP) - why not tell the world more about the culture - alongside your political observations on this blog? You have that skill, and your old ite about teaching here was a good service.

Michael Turton said...

It's not your political views, it's the way you express them. The idea that Chen is Hitler is laughable, and is a commentary on the island's politics found only among mainlanders who hate Taiwan and yearn for the power they have lost.

If you critique the DPP in Taiwan many automatically assume you're pro-KMT.

Absurd, for I've done quite a bit of DPP-critique.

How about the DPP going censor-happy on newsmedia? Media from the mainland (i. e. CCTV)?

How is that democratic, Michael?

First, I don't see why Chen is obligated to permit media from a nation bent on destroying Taiwan and stamping out its democracy to run around on Taiwan. Second, China does not permit Taiwanese media untrammeled access to China. And Third, China has blocked Taiwan media access to other events and institutions, such as recently at the UN. When China grows up, I am sure its media will be permitted to function normally here.

It's a nice rant, but I haven't got time to deal with this kind of irrational hatred of A-bian. So please stay away from my blog, since you don't like its politics. It'll keep your blood pressure down.


Anonymous said...

At times it is easy to get caught up in the news and politics of the day. I certainly am not nor was I ever a big supporter of the DPP, but a small, very small step back will show the big picture and there is just no way the people of Taiwan have any other choice.

While it is easy to say the DPP and KMT are so close in their actions, it is even more clear that the current political policies of the CCP are right in line with the KMT. After having the local language oppressed, and nearly every aspect of social and political life dictated from a central and secret government, NO ONE wants to jump over to the CCP who are doing the exact same things now in China.

For all its flaws (the largest one being lack of experiecne--and there is only one way to solve that) democracy is here to stay and the DDP has led that. With more experience in both government and on the part of voters, things will get better. But I think back to the night of the first presidential election the DPP won, and seeing that DPP election rally, there was just no way they wouldn't win. Yes, the stories of the past stir up hatred, yes class tensions are sparked, but after so many years, it had to be gotten out into the light. In ten years Taiwan will be so far apart from the backward politics of China, it will just be a joke. Progress is the name of the game, even though day-to-day there is plenty to complain about.

STOP_George said...

Although it is encouraging to see some semblance of free-speech occurring in China, I have a problem agreeing with the main point of the article. At this moment in time (and in the foreseeable future), it DOES very much matter whether Taiwan is considered independent or is, in fact, a part of China. You see, to be assured these rights and freedoms are maintained and improved upon — it is currently (and in the foreseeable future) IMPERATIVE that Taiwan maintains, at the very least, a de facto INDEPENDENCE FROM CHINA. If anyone in Taiwan says that the “independence issue” is not a concern, either: 1) They have not thought it through carefully or 2) they are lying to you about caring about rights and freedoms & democracy.

Lien and Soong fall into category number 2. This was another important point missed in this article. There are still very powerful forces within Taiwan which care very little about the values talked about in this article.

As for the people who were polled — I would hazaard to say that the 50.9% that agreed with “the status quo” were, in actuality, thinking of maintaining the status quo OF DEFACTO INDEPENDENCE. Notice that small implicit detail is not mentioned.

In my humble opinion, I believe now is the time for Taiwan to (pardon my crudity) “shit or get off the pot”. The truth of the matter is — DE FACTO INDEPENDENCE is not going to last forever. Indeed, unless Taiwan formalizes their independence soon (while Taiwan still has political leverage to do so), the status quo will soon be DE FACTO PRC RULE.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me give you the pov of a typical Taiwanese guy:

"We don't give a fvck whose in charge. All political parties are corrupt and most politicans are scums and parasites. As long as there are no wars, less crime, and a robust economy...who the fvck cares who's in charge. It's all the same."

Me, a 26-year-old Taiwanese guy