Cops stop in front of my house, lights flashing, at 10:30 pm. What's going? A few minutes later I get a phone call. Turns out when we took in the groceries in the afternoon, we forgot to close the back of the van. The police stopped to call and tell us it was left open....
Max Hirsch at Kyodo has the whole story on Chinese dissident Wang Dan and his new position teaching in a Taiwan university:
A Chinese dissident who led the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 has accepted a position at a top Taiwanese university, a post brimming with political significance amid the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown and warming ties across the Taiwan Strait.Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, has a nifty piece in Forbes summarizing basically why it is really shortsighted to permit China to annex Taiwan, entitled Will Taiwan Defect to China? He worries, as I do:
Wang Dan, one of the most visible student leaders of the 1989 protests, will teach Taiwanese history at Taiwan's National Chengchi University starting in September, Wang said Thursday while in Taipei to commemorate the pro-democracy movement that ended in bloodshed.
Wang was among a handful of student leaders who organized in 1989 massive Beijing rallies calling for democratic reform.
On June 4, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) crushed the dissent, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people. Beijing has never offered a full accounting of the crackdown.
Exiled to the United States since 1998, Wang studied East Asian history at Harvard University, eventually earning his Ph.D.
Wang said he has been seeking a job in academia since graduation, and his interest in Taiwanese history led him to National Chengchi University. He will serve as an assistant professor or lecturer on an initial half-year contract at the university.
The timing of the post -- publicized just weeks before the anniversary -- has fueled speculation over whether Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who recently discouraged the Dalai Lama from visiting Taiwan, is using Wang's appointment to head off criticism that he is too soft on China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory.
China has threatened to attack the island should it seek to formalize its de facto independence, the source of tensions in the Taiwan Strait -- one of Asia's oldest and most dangerous flashpoints.
But Ma has dramatically reduced tensions by engaging China in formal talks on economic cooperation and toning down Taipei's pro-sovereignty rhetoric. The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) argues Ma is trading away the island's sovereignty in the process.
Ma, according to Hong Kong media, may be using Wang's appointment to counter the DPP's criticism, as China considers Wang persona non grata, while his field tends to highlight the separateness of Taiwan from China by focusing on the island's divergent historical trajectory.
But Wang rejected such speculation, saying, ''My appointment has nothing to do with politics.''
Nonetheless, Taiwan's history -- especially the island's democratization -- holds valuable lessons for China as the anniversary nears, Wang said, adding, ''China can learn from Taiwan that there is no need to fear democracy.''
''The world needs to understand the Tiananmen Square protests exposed a deep-seated desire among the Chinese people for democracy -- the world needs to reaffirm that on the 20th anniversary of the crackdown,'' he added.
The pro-China elements in the Kuomintang know that the Taiwanese would never willingly agree to join with Beijing in any type of political union. Although most polling on the island is suspect, the vast majority of surveys show that the percentages of the population considering themselves "Chinese" only, and those wanting to unify with China, are both in the single digits and dropping. So the only way diehard Mainlanders can make the island a part of China is for them to destroy Taiwan's democracy first.The Australian has a piece on the protests that gives extensive space to the pro-Taiwan side and does a good job of discussing what the protests were about, and that from a Beijing correspondent. It contains a couple of errors that several of wrote him about.
Frank Ching, who appears to be a very nice man who writes from a pro-China, pro-KMT perspective, seems a bit more balanced than usual in his commentary in the China Post today with his last paragraph:
Bingo: Taiwan does not threaten China -- it is China that threatens Taiwan. And not only Taiwan.... Arthur Waldron points out how inflexible and unimaginative China's Taiwan policy actually is.
The main point is this: Beijing needs infinite patience when dealing with Taiwan. The current situation of hostility and suspicion is the outcome of six decades of threats, blackmail, military pressure and diplomatic isolation. Even though building mutual trust is the responsibility of both sides, first and foremost it requires efforts by Beijing.
Sunday I hope to assemble some stuff on Ma's first year as Preznit. Look out for big post!
And for the sheer beauty of it, TNR has a piece on translating Chinese poetry (h/t to Joel).
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