Monday, March 02, 2009

1958 Foreign Affairs Article on Formosans Wanting Independence

Taiwan Documents has uploaded files from commentator Li Thian-hok, a name many of you will recognize, that were originally written in the 1950s. Here is their commentary and the links....


The Formosan View

Formosans know what they want

Li Thian-hok

At the end of the 1950s, the view from the perspective of the native Taiwanese -- or Formosans as they were generally referred to at that time -- was hardly heard.

However, in the Fall of 1957, Mr. Li Thian-hok, a young student at the University of Minnesota, wrote a BA graduation thesis, which received summa cum laude honors, and won the top prize among some 10,000 papers that year.

The paper caught the attention of the editors of Foreign Affairs magazine, which published it in its April 1958 issue, together with essays by such luminaries as Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger and Walt Rostow.

The essay was titled: The China impasse, a Formosan view (PDF-format).

Mr. Li subsequently went to Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In November 1958, he published another article, this one in the New Republic magazine.

This essay was titled: Formosans know what they want (PDF-format).


Feiren said...

What a cogent, articulate essay! I wish the passage on the top of p. 9 where Li claims that the Qing government twice denied jurisdiction over (presumably) aborigional parts of China.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the 1950s, the view from the perspective of the native Taiwanese -- or Formosans as they were generally referred to at that time -- was hardly heard.---

"heard".. yepp.. today we hear them but we just give a fuck about..

Anonymous said...

Charles Freeman holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS. He concentrates on the political economy of China and other parts of East Asia and on U.S.-China relations, particularly trade and economic relations. A second-generation “China hand,” he has lived and worked between Asia and the United States for his entire life. During his government career, he served as assistant U.S. trade representative (USTR) for China affairs. In this capacity, he was the United States’ chief China trade negotiator and played a primary role in shaping overall trade policy with respect to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Mongolia. During his tenure as assistant USTR, he oversaw U.S. efforts to integrate China into the global trading architecture of the World Trade Organization. Earlier in his government career, he served as legislative counsel for international affairs in the Senate.---



he is a careerist on the wrong place..

chinese politics(wich base on idiology. ok they base more than everywhere else(exspt Cuba and Saud Arabia) need politicans and idiologists, not harward carrerists wich will sold own mother just top step up.

Dixteel said...

I think Mr. Li is a very good writer. The clarity in his explaination and a lot of his concept appears to be beyond his time, because a lot of things he mentioned only recently do more Taiwanese realize in detail. But it could also be that back then there are actually more Formosan knowing about the issue, and only after 50 years of KMT brain washing and ambiguity do we lost a lot of TI concepts in the fog.

Anonymous said...

Like TI advocates who have come after him, Mr. Li has no evidence to prove the Taiwanese actually want what the author claims they want. Li's explanation for the lack of apparent TI support in his time, fear of retribution by the KMT, is a claim that cannot be proven. Similarly, TI advocates today claim public opinion is on their side yet they have never been able to win an election without a divided opposition.

Michael Turton said...

I love anonymous pro-China trolls! Their knowledge of the history and politics of Taiwan is laughable, and their claims are like the fantasies of opium smokers, always amusing.

Anonymous said...

Anon Troll,

Douglass Mendel was the among the first people allowed to conduct poly-sci research in Taiwan and came to the same conclusions. Taiwanese were silenced... and were Dr. Mendel's grad students who did research into the subject of Foemosan nationalism..

Taiwan Echo said...

Thanks for sharing these, Michael.

Many of us knows about Li Thien-hok as a freelance commentator in Taipei Times, but some might not know that he is one of the co-founders of WUFI (called UFI at that time), and was the first president of UFI.

He faded out of the political platform in around 1960, kept a low profile for 30 years, and re-joined WUFI in 1997.

His effort in 1950s built the foundation of decades of TI movement. His role in history is much much more important than he is currently recognized. IMO he might even deserve a title "Father of TI."

He is calm, articulated, very knowledgeable and clearheaded. If any of you has a chance to meet and talk with him, grab the chance, don't let him get away ... I can guarantee, you won't regret!