Friday, January 02, 2009

Claiborne Pell, Taiwan Supporter, RIP

Claiborne Pell died of Parkinson's this week. He was 90. The Senator of the Pell Grants and the famously lesbian daughter was also an important Taiwan supporter in Congress. He introduced resolutions calling for an end to martial law and acceleration of democratization in Taiwan, and worked on behalf of the island along with Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, and Alan Cranston in the Senate, as well as with Congressmen Jim Leach and Stephen Solarz. In 2006 the government here honored the Senator with an award for his work on behalf of the people of Taiwan. Pell's death is a reminder that caring for human rights and democracy in Taiwan is not a Republican monopoly, but rather has been traditionally a bipartisan effort.

Sleep well, friend of Taiwan.


readin said...

Are there any Democrats left who care about Taiwan? Or who care at all about freedom and democracy?

Marc said...

readin asks: Are there any Democrats left who care about Taiwan?

I think it's quite clear now that it may be moot who supports Taiwan's democracy. In essence, it is supported, but not as a system unto itself, rather, as the stimulus and organzing platform from which China will be further modernized.

Judging from the incredibly rapid changes occurring around us, Phase 2(or whatever phase it is) of 'Modernizing China' has begun, which means that Taiwan must be injected into China like a vitamin shot. The major international banks are now firmly planted in Taipei (having bought up all the small banks -- with more banks merging soon), most of the multinational corporations here have dissolved their Taiwan-only region into a "Greater China region", and the government has -apparently - flung the doors wide open to welcome the dragon.

Is this the end of Taiwan, then? What does it portend that the US is about to allow Taiwanese (and not the Chinese) to enter the US without a visa? Quick escape from invasion, or a reward to Taiwan for playing its role, again, in the promotion of industrial capitalism?