Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ma's New Year Message: We are China Ver 2.0

Ma's New Year's message: China-centric to the max, full of ideological fantasy as history, and offering yet another iteration of Ma's ideological views. Below is text of speech.


"Building up Taiwan, Invigorating Chinese Heritage"

Vice President Siew, Presidents of the Five Yuan, Senior Officials, Fellow Countrymen, and Overseas Compatriots: Good morning and greetings to all!

Today marks the first day of the Republic of China’s centennial year, a day worthy of celebration and thanksgiving.

Pledges from a Century Ago  

A century ago, as China was besieged by foreign powers and on the verge of collapse, Dr. Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing court and founded the Republic of China—the first republic in all of Asia. [MT -- the first republic in all of Asia! What a load! The 1895 Republic of Formosa simply disappears, though he is standing on the island of its birth. Then there is the 1898 Philippine Republic. And for you trivia buffs out there, try the Hakka Republic in Indonesia, the Lanfang Republic of 1777.] He made a pledge to the people to build a strong and prosperous nation. A century ago, Chinese history consisted only of the succession of dynasties, and the people had no say in the matter. The establishment of the Republic of China was a pledge to the people to bring about a democratic way of life. A century ago, Chinese society was plagued by a severe wealth gap and widespread illiteracy. The establishment of the Republic of China was a pledge to the people to bring about equitable distribution of wealth and education for everyone. These pledges embody the ideals of the Three Principles of the People. Passed down through generations, they have been enshrined in our Constitution and indelibly etched into our lives. Today, with gratitude in our hearts, we pay our utmost respect to the martyrs and heroes of the Republic. Were it not for people like Lin Jue-min, who left his beloved wife for the cause, or Qiu Jin, who was martyred for her revolutionary ideals, or the countless other heroes and heroines who laid down their lives, the ROC would not be here today.[MT -- Taiwan has no separate history worth noting. That the ROC is a democracy is entirely due to the tireless efforts of the Taiwanese opposition. What-if question: if the Chiang regime had won the civil war, would China be democratic today?]

A Century of Stirring Achievements  

The story of the ROC over the past century is the history of the struggle to build a nation, of course, but it is also more than that. It is a saga of the toil and tears of a revolt against imperialism. Even more, it is a stirring ode to the role our forefathers played in the restoration of order to a world of chaos. In the early years of the Republic, the country was fractured by warlord satrapies. The National Government organized the Northern Expedition against them and united China, ushering in a decade of national development. Thereafter, the ROC crushed Japan’s ambitions over China in an eight-year war of resistance, and abrogated unequal treaties that had been in place for almost a century.[MT -- "crushed Japan's ambitions in China." Bwahahahaha.] As a result, Taiwan was returned to the fold of the Republic of China. [MT -- Taiwan was never part of the Republic of China or any other ethnic Chinese gov't.] At the end of World War II, the ROC played a pivotal role in the restoration of world order. It was a founding member of the United Nations, and contributed to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, infusing into it the spirit of Confucianism. In 1946, National Assembly delegates chosen in elections held throughout the nation gathered in Nanjing to formulate the most progressive democratic constitution in Asia. In the process of their deliberations, they succeeded in melding the essence of Chinese culture with the core features of Western democracy. Following defeat in the Civil War and the loss of the Chinese mainland to the communists in 1949, the government relocated to Taiwan. This was a major setback for the Republic of China, but it did not dishearten or discourage us. Instead, we drew lessons from these painful experiences, rebuilt the nation, and gradually realized the ideals of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in Taiwan. Over the past six decades, the ROC government has implemented in Taiwan a series of reforms, beginning with capping farmland rent at 37.5 percent of the harvest, and transferring land from landlords to farmers. Private enterprises were nurtured, the Ten Major Construction Projects were launched, and industries were upgraded. We abolished the abusive “foster daughter system,” set up a labor insurance scheme, established nine-year compulsory education, introduced the National Health Insurance program, and instituted the national pension system. We also implemented local self-government, lifted martial law, repealed the ban on political party formation, abolished the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion, and redressed the wrongs perpetrated in the February 28 Incident of 1947 and the period of “white terror.”We opened all parliamentary seats to election, held direct popular elections for the presidency, and realized the peaceful transfer of power between political parties. These reforms are more than just historical milestones; they have made the ROC a paragon of political and economic progress for developing nations around the world and have dispelled the myth that democracy is unsuitable for a Chinese society. Today, the ROC is universally respected in the international community. We send aid missions around the world, our high-technology products are sold globally, our passports allow visa-free entry to 96 nations and territories, our innovative ability has won international acclaim, and our young people dazzle on the world stage. We are brimming with confidence.

Our Collective Homeland  

My fellow countrymen, all of us in today’s Taiwan have together experienced the growth and transformation of this land. We possess collective memories and experiences. We all experienced the thrill as our baseball teams achieved international glory, we all felt the indignation as we lost our seat in the United Nations, and we have all shed tears of pride upon seeing our national flag hoisted at international events. Yes, that blue, white and red flag symbolizing Heaven, Sun and Earth unites us, inspires us, and moves us. It gave the Eight Hundred Heroes the strength to fight valiantly in defending the Sihang Warehouse in Shanghai back in 1937. That flag is a collective memory we have all had since we were young, and is a rallying point for our patriotism. As President, I bear the solemn responsibility of continuing the past while leading the way toward the future, adhering to the principle of“putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people.”And I have always kept in mind what President Chiang Ching-kuo said when, as Premier, he was preparing to implement the Ten Major Construction Projects: “If we don’t act today, we’ll regret it tomorrow.” That is why my administration has plucked up its courage and started implementing major reforms that several past administrations could not carry out. These include streamlining the Executive Yuan, merging and upgrading certain cities and counties, passing the Rural Regeneration Act, and implementing the national pension scheme and second-generation National Health Insurance program. We have also promoted cross-strait rapprochement, which has transformed the Taiwan Strait from a flashpoint for conflict into an avenue of peace.

Foundation for a Century of Prosperity  

My fellow citizens, the coming decade is key to our nation’s continued development and progress. We must make it a “Golden Decade” that lays the foundation for a prosperous second century of the Republic of China. Let us make this Golden Decade one of peace, infrastructural development, and well-being. I harbor four hopes for the future:

First, I want educational reforms that provide a lasting solution -- Education is the cornerstone of national power, and children are our hope for the future. To create a sounder educational environment for our young people, I am announcing today that education in Taiwan will now enter upon a new era. Starting this year, we will begin a phased implementation of twelve-year compulsory education, starting with vocational high schools. The tentative plan is that, by 2014, attending high school and vocational high school will be tuition-free and in most cases require no entrance examination. We will also expand support for preschool education. Beginning this year, school tuition for five-year-olds will be waived. As fiscal resources permit, this will gradually be extended to three- and four-year-olds to further alleviate their parents’ financial burden. However, preschool education will not be made mandatory. We fully understand that a dearth of young people will severely affect our national power, so the government will work to boost the birth rate by simultaneously addressing each aspect of the problem: marriage, birth, childrearing, and education. 

Second, I want environmental stewardship that provides lasting viability -- the greatest challenge of this century is global climate change while the greatest opportunity is the digital technology revolution. We already have a comprehensive plan for reconfiguring national land use and our disaster preparedness systems, developing new energy industries, as well as implementing energy saving and carbon reduction to bequeath a good environment to future generations. Taiwan’s economy must be transformed. Environmentally unfriendly industries must be eliminated. A green economy is the trend of the future and a major focal point of economic policy. We must ensure that the ROC has every opportunity for sustainable development. To meet the challenge of the digital era, we will promote digital high-definition television and go all out to build a broadband infrastructure to speed up the Internet, enhance its quality, and cut the cost of access. We intend to ensure that the digital lifestyle is a fundamental right of all citizens. 

Third, I want lasting justice -- we will forge a just and fair society where there is equal opportunity for development, the judiciary is impartial and clean, the gap between rich and poor is reduced, and human rights are safeguarded. Our society is deeply compassionate and caring. In the future, the government will join with volunteers and work hard to reduce the developmental gap between urban and rural areas and between north and south. We will also address the digital divide. We will continue promoting participatory reform of the judicial system, making an all-out effort to improve it in terms of fairness, quality, and efficiency, so as to provide a firmer safeguard for human rights and win back public trust in the judiciary. The senior citizen population in Taiwan continues to grow steadily. We are now living in an aged society, so we must actively promote long-term care insurance. We must have enough caregivers and provide adequate care facilities so that seniors will receive better social services and health care support. We must build a“ senior-friendly”society where the needs of senior citizens are factored as a matter of course into the designs of buildings and public infrastructure, so that those in the older generation can lead healthy, worry-free, and comfortable lives. Equitable distribution of wealth was an ideal championed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. We will make taxation fairer, improve conditions for finding employment and starting a business, and enhance the social welfare system. Only then can the fruits of economic growth be enjoyed by the entire populace.[MT -- These sure sound purty, but we all know what will happen in practice.]

 And fourth, I want a lasting peace -- Peace in the Taiwan Strait is the foundation for peace and prosperity throughout East Asia, and is the joint responsibility of both parties in the relationship. Over the past two years and more, working within the framework of the ROC Constitution, we have preserved the status quo of “no unification, no independence, and no use of military force” and resumed talks with mainland China on the basis of the 1992 consensus, whereby each side maintains its respective definition of “one China.” To date, this has brought about direct cross-straight flights, opened the door for mainland tourists to visit Taiwan, and enabled mainland students to study here. It has also resulted in the signing of 15 cross-strait accords, including the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. As a consequence, tension in the Taiwan Strait has been dramatically reduced, thereby contributing to regional stability and prosperity. We believe that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait share a common desire to shelve disputes and strive for long-term peaceful development of cross-strait ties. The authorities on both sides should put an end to conflict via rapprochement, and replace confrontation with cooperation. At this stage, any advocacy of a unilateral change to the status quo would affect the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. As both sides of the Taiwan Strait share a common ancestry dating back to legendary emperors Yen and Huang,[MT -- Note Ma's Han-centric vision of what Taiwan is.] we should enhance mutual understanding, build mutual trust, and gradually dispel differences of opinion via in-depth exchanges. Guided by the wisdom of our common ethnic Chinese culture, we can surely work out a very satisfactory solution.[MT: "common ethnic Chinese culture" will further down become "Chinese culture with Taiwan characteristics".]

Visions for the Future  

My fellow citizens, as the Republic of China begins its second century we should set our sights on the future and make four lofty resolutions:  

In the next century, the ROC will be the standard-bearer at the leading edge of Chinese culture. Taiwan has never experienced anything like mainland China’s Cultural Revolution.[MT -- no, just 50 years of Japanese rule, which have utterly vanished from this narrative, followed by a half-century of ROC colonialism and western consumerism.] Having preserved the rich roots of Chinese culture intact over the past six decades or so, Taiwan now dazzles the world with an aesthetic sense and artistic verve that are firmly grounded in a deep vein of traditional culture [MT -- This reference to the "traditional Chinese culture" preserved on Taiwan is actually a return to the rhetoric of the 1950s t0 1970s that Ma was weaned on. If you read anthro and sociology texts of that era you frequently encounter the claim that "traditional Chinese culture" was preserved on Taiwan in the face of Communism. The ROC as standard bearer of traditional Chinese culture was a legitimation strategy. But of course there is no such thing as "traditional Chinese culture", that is merely an ideological construct meant to support KMT rule in Taiwan.]. Taiwan also possesses the openness and innovation of a maritime culture. Traditional Chinese culture on this island early on absorbed the essence of Western contemporary civilization, which is manifested in its innovative art. Our dance, music, drama, visual arts, motion pictures, and television programming command high international acclaim and are reflective of a Chinese culture with Taiwan characteristics.[MT -- Ma's assimilationist catchphrase "Chinese culture with Taiwan characteristics." The developing Taiwan identity is a political fact that the KMT must deal with. Fortunately for Ma it includes the KMT. How will the Party make use of that in the next election cycle?] Among all the ethnically Chinese societies of the world, Confucian values are practiced more widely and more seriously in Taiwan than anywhere else. The virtues espoused by Confucianism -- benevolence, righteousness, filial devotion, respect for teachers, diligence, kindness, and simplicity -- have long been deeply ingrained in the fabric of our lives. [MT -- this is the same indexing of values Ma made in his inaugural speech and another way in which he expresses the Chinese-ness of Taiwan]. Taiwan is also home to a strong civil society, a diversity of religious groups and other organizations, a free press, and an active volunteer force. We need only display our cultural creativity to the world to attract the world to us. Taiwan is poised to be the standard-bearer at the leading edge of Chinese culture. 

In the next century, the ROC will serve as a paragon of democracy for the Chinese-speaking world. The ROC is a nation with its own independent sovereignty. The existence of the ROC not only ensures the security and dignity of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, but also proves that ethnic Chinese can indeed tread a new path of freedom and democracy.[MT -- again the appeal to "ethnic Chinese". In Ma's mind the ROC is a Han state. Note that there is no mention of the ROC as multiethnic state, no nod to the aborigines though they are a KMT bloc vote]. Our democracy is young, but it has given birth to a vigorous multiparty system. Democracy is Taiwan’s strength and pride, and is the foundation on which ruling and opposition parties compete and cooperate. We hope one day that all descendants of Emperors Yen and Huang [MT --again the racialist appeal -- this is the Chinese equivalent of referring to all the Aryan peoples] will enjoy freedom, democracy, and rule of law, as we do here in Taiwan. This is not a far-off dream, because these values have all been realized in Taiwan. They are not exclusive to the West. Taiwan’s experience can serve as a reference for the future development of mainland China. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait should not quarrel over political power, independence versus reunification, or Taiwan’s breathing room on the international stage. We should instead focus on encouraging and helping each other grow in terms of the core values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law. We care about how human rights develop in mainland China because it is a core value we hold dear. It is a key yardstick against which to measure the distance between us, and a tool for bringing us closer together.[MT -- recall that Ma's political career was built in opposition to democracy] 

In the next century, the ROC will become a global innovation center. Experience teaches us that the greatest amount of added value comes from innovation, research, and development. The farther a nation develops these areas, the stronger it will be. Taiwan’s industrial sector has begun a gradual move from being a supplier of OEM goods to being an innovator with its own brands. Year after year our firms are among the world’s top patent recipients. Our young people consistently put on a good showing at international inventors ’shows, and are named world champions in the face of fierce competition. We firmly believe that by bolstering R&D, encouraging innovation, cultivating the manufacture of domestically designed products, and protecting intellectual property rights, Taiwan will have established exceedingly favorable conditions for becoming a global innovation center and a cradle for the world’s top brands. 

In the next century, the ROC will become a nation the world will respect and an inspiration to many. Forbearing governance and benevolent rule are the essence of Chinese culture. It is in such a “nonpredatory yet progressive” spirit that we will proactively show concern for global issues and participate in international affairs. Ours is an expansive, outward-looking culture that takes the seven seas as its home base and the globe as the cradle of its civilization. As a member of the international community, the ROC is more than willing to take on its responsibilities and make contributions commensurate with our ability. We are determined to be a peacemaker, a provider of humanitarian aid, a promoter of cultural ties, and a creator of new technologies and business opportunities. We want to make the ROC a nation that is both respected by and inspiring to people around the world.


My fellow compatriots: As we celebrate the ROC’s hundred years of history, let us recall that the ROC of today has come about thanks to generations of people who, concerned about their nation’s future, devoted their youth and ideals to the nation’s construction and social reform. As we begin a new century, I am reminded of the words of Jiang Wei-shui, a towering figure in Taiwan’s history, who said more than 80 years ago: “Compatriots must unite, for in unity there is great strength.” We must support and encourage each other, because the nation’s prospects and Taiwan’s future are in the hands of our 23 million people.[MT -- Ma has mentioned Jiang several times during the last few years. Again an attempt to subsume Japanese era activist Jiang Wei-shui into an anti-independence narrative, and without any mention of the Japanese rule Jiang was working against ]. We decide matters for ourselves. We must steadfastly defend the ROC’s sovereignty and work to protect Taiwan ’s dignity. With wisdom, let us create a brighter future for Taiwan and another prosperous century. Please stand with me as together we chant:

Long live the Republic of China!

Long live democracy in Taiwan!


An interesting text, with its appeals to faux history, its complete lack of reference to Japanese rule in Taiwan, or to Taiwan's separate history, aborigines (some of whom were out protesting that day), etc. Ma's ideological views are laid out for all to see.

REF: Liberty Times editorial asks Ma to stop fabricating history.
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Freeman said...

This speech was actually average. Compare that to other world leaders of free countries, what crap they say and people applaud it. And you have to know, he has to talk to his KMT base and appease Beijing, so many are listening and paying attention to every word he says. At least he said "Long live democracy in Taiwan!". That's for me the most important thing. The rest is of course Ma as we know him. If it was Ah-bian, we would have a different kind of celebration, probably closer to the mind of an average foreigner, who came to Taiwan from a Western democracy. The way I see it: It could be worse. And that's how I keep my spirits high.

Gerd said...

Ma is distorting history in one more aspect, saying Thereafter, the ROC crushed Japan’sambitions over China in an eight-year war of resistance, and abrogated unequal treaties that had been in place for almost a century. As a result, Taiwan was returned to the fold of the Republic of China.
In the real world Japan gave up control over Taiwan as a result of having been defeated by the U.S.

Long live democracy in Taiwan! probably can be translated to "a Hongkong-like situation would be perfectly acceptable"

Michael Turton said...

LOL to ya, Freeman. I like to have a look because I hate it when people refer to Ma as a pragmatist when he is clearly an ideologue.

Anonymous said...

Ma is such a conniving weasel.

It's beyond disgusting how he and his party take credit for bringing democracy to Taiwan.

Everyone damn well knows the truth.

And by the way, who paid for the "100" logo on the Taipei City Hall New Year's stage and Taipei 101 building? If the city gov't did, we taxpayers should demand the KMT party to cough up some $$$.

David said...

What struck me most was when Ma said:
We also implemented local self-government, lifted martial law, repealed the ban on political party formation, abolished the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion, and redressed the wrongs perpetrated in the February 28 Incident of 1947 and the period of “white terror.”

Even though he mentions redressing the wrongs there is no explicit acceptance of responsibility. Ma (or at least the KMT who I think the we refers to) claims credit lifting martial law, but doesn't accept responsibility for (unconstitutionally) keeping it in place for 38 years!! It is the height of hypocrisy and just adds to the emptiness of his later statement about the importance of justice.

Anonymous said...

Micheal, I am not american, how often do US Presidents refer to native Americans in their new year's address?

Anonymous said...

"Ma is such a conniving weasel. "

Of course ! What can you expect from an American (Mark Ma)?

But he still lags behind the major weasels in the White House!

Ken Campbell

Michael Turton said...

Anon, how often do US Presidents refer to the US as being of a single racial makeup just like a state across the water? That would be...never.

The non-reference to aborigines only has meaning because Ma insists that China/ROC is/are Han states and that Taiwan hosts "traditional Chinese culture". Whatever that means.

Ma could have said a lot of things in his 100 ROC anniversary address. Instead we got a pile of racialist crap that contains 50 year old propaganda claims.

Anonymous said...

"Ma is such a conniving weasel. "

Ma is like his fellow Americans in the White House who said Washington supports Taiwan's democracy blah, blah, blah... but is against Taiwan declaring independence!

What do you expect from Americans?

Ken Campbell

Anonymous said...

Fair as well, but why talk about aborigines if you got Hoklo and Hakka... or that Han is a fiction, invented by Sun Zhongshan... the aborigine's are a fig-leaf argument. I don't like it.

Anonymous said...

That's crazy that they don't even mention the DPP in bringing democracy to Taiwan. In fact, it reads as if the KMT-ROC party-state apparatus were the ones to bring democracy and freedom to Taiwan!

The bigger the lie, the more believable it is? Excuse me while I nurse my headache...

Hans said...

"Ma could have said a lot of things in his 100 ROC anniversary address. Instead we got a pile of racialist crap that contains 50 year old propaganda claims."

Michael, this is exactly how I felt at the very first moment I saw his speech on TV. The same old "hail-all-glory-to-the-great-China-nation," absolutely disgusting.

By his attitude since he inauguration, I really wonder how many were "touched" or "repelled" by this speech?

You should had put that line in your article.

Valerio said...

@David: Ma could reasonably be referring the nation who as a whole worked towards lifting the martial ban, redressing the 228 incident. I don't think Ma was explicitly referencing to himself or the KMT.

@Mike: New Year speeches aren't really supposed to be a history lesson. Leaders will choose aspects that make the occasion worth celebrating to talk about and make audiences feel good. Cut him some slack about the "Han-centric-ness" you purports puts forward, I mean the occasion is the ROC's 100th New Year, not Taiwan's New Year...

Dixteel said...

Indeed. It almost sounds like Ma wants to start a new relgion.

Anonymous said...

Referring to Han is hardly racialist crap in a country where 98% of the population are mostly Han. Sure, there should have been mention of Aboriginals that's undisputed, but most people in Taiwan are Han-descent and do generally practice/follow traditional Chinese culture.

Michael Turton said...

Anon @8:46. Define "Han".

Also define "traditional chinese culture."

Taiwan is a colonial hybrid culture, and claims that it somehow preserved "traditional Chinese culture" are mere legitimation strategies of the ROC colonial gov't.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:46

If you do a little bit of reading you'll find that 98% is a fabrication by Chinese nationalists. I suggest readign more Dru Gladney. Wonderful analysis on the creation of the Han Chinese identity.

Michael Turton said...

"Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority/Minority Identities" is a key paper, but all his stuff looks good.


Anonymous said...

Define "Han".

Also define "traditional chinese culture."

Start here and follow the links to your heart's content.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks anon. The Wiki page shows that the 98% figure is waaaay overblown.

Anonymous said...

@Anon and you authoritative Wiki source list,

China "says" 98% are Han Chinese. Sure this is valid as far as China and Chinese nationalists prefer to construct this particular identity. It has no basis in history, prior ethnic identification, language or anything else, but sure, the CCP and KMT would like to blur prior distinctions by making "THEIR" definition as loose as possible.

Remember, the goal of Chinese nationalism from the onset was to unite the vast pluralities of an empire and consolidate them into a single, highly centralized culture, language, government... even time zone.

The reasoning for tight centralization over loose federation was due to the fact that after the fall of the Qing... the peoples of the former empire did not see themselves as a single, national people, but instead broke off to do their own thing. The KMT spent two decades trying to vanquish warlords and independence movements; a period that greatly influenced the KMT's decision to use force during 228.

Books... read books. Books that have not been tainted by the ideological brush of the ROC education system are preferred.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anon. The Wiki page shows that the 98% figure is waaaay overblown.

Did you actually read it? It mentions 98% a couple of times in the article and links, as well as an 80% figure for indigenous ancestry.

Michael Turton said...

The Wiki page gives zero information on the imperial and ideological construction of Han Chineseness. It merely repeats the fable that 98% of Taiwanese are "Han" which is the point under dispute. Han how? In what way? What is Han?

Anonymous said...

@Ken, dude, you're giving yourself away as a doofus Canadian English teacher.

Robert R. said...

The Wiki page shows that the 98% figure is waaaay overblown.


The Wiki page gives zero information on the imperial and ideological construction of Han Chineseness. It merely repeats the fable that 98% of Taiwanese are "Han" which is the point under dispute.

Indeed, your second point is true. How does your first comment hold that the WIki page shows that it's waaay overblown? (Or which Wiki page do you mean?).

Anonymous said...

It merely repeats the fable that 98% of Taiwanese are "Han" which is the point under dispute. Han how? In what way? What is Han?

As I figured, you got nothing, just your personal opinion. If you make a claim that runs counter to the general consensus of pretty much everyone who's got any kind of interest in the subject, the least you can do is back it up with something. You're a professor, you shouldn't need to be reminded of basic things like that.

Michael Turton said...

If you make a claim that runs counter to the general consensus of pretty much everyone who's got any kind of interest in the subject,

It's not a subject or body of literature you're familiar with, apparently. Which is why I made that comment.

Still stuck. What is Han? Why does it exist? As far as I can see the Taiwanese are a hybrid people with a mixture of culture characteristics. It is not difficult to find Wiki pages that note that, when they are not repeating these political constructions of 98%.

"For sociologists, these ethnic classifications are a social construct, the contestation and compromise between political forces. Sociology scholar Wang Fu-chang writes in his book that Minnanren (Hoklo people), Hakka, Waishengren and indigenous peoples are social categories that have developed over the last fifty years.[52]"

That's from Wiki too. So you see, when you refer to "pretty much everyone" I know you have no clue what you're talking about because in the literature on Taiwan the questions of Han-ness, colonialism, and identity are all hotly contested.

So back to the question. What is Han?

By asking the question, I'm asking you to examine what you mean when you say "Han" and how it applies to the various groups of people who live on Taiwan, four dimensionally (Remember when the Hakkas who comprise 25% of the pre-1949 population weren't Han?)(Where do you think a lot of the Plains people who call themselves Han came from? And what cultural and social practices did they carry over from their previous social identities?).

A good start on this topic is Melissa Brown's Is Taiwan Chinese?

It's available on google books...!!


Michael Turton said...

Robert R, since we're allowed to pick and choose on the Wiki page and to follow links, I've merely done that.

The Wiki discussion is shallow and no substitute for some familiarity with the academic literature on the construction of Han.

Anonymous said...

Hakka, Minnan are Han subgroups. Are you trying to say they're not? About the only people in Taiwan who don't have some Han ancestry are the minority of 100% Aboriginals and the few Caucasians, Indians etc who call Taiwan home.

Kaminoge said...

Ma also overlooked the 1868-69 Republic of Ezo. After reading some of the previous comments, I was a little hesitant to cite Wikipedia as a source, but here it is anyway:

Michael Turton said...

Hakka, Minnan are Han subgroups. Are you trying to say they're not?

When did Hakka become Han?

Anonymous said...

Han is also a problematic ethnic group. It has nothing to do with blood or DNA, and everything to do with behavior.

Han is simply a way of saying, "Confucian Culturist".

Now it could very well be argues that many former Han in China, people who became Han under Chinese nationalism, are no longer Han as they have drifted from the Confucian cultural center.

It could also be argues that if we were to use the term Han for all those people in the so called "Chinese diaspora", the term would be virtually meaningless as it would not define anyone.

Moreover, the terms Hakka, Hoklo, Minan and Aborigine are also recently constructed identities that arose from a political situation on Taiwan.

The common Aboriginal identity is as recent as the 1980's, when government liberalization allowed for Taiwanese to reinterpret their identities in the face of how peoples came in contact with the state and state power. The term Aborigine came into official use by the ATA in 1986.

As a noted Wikipedian, I should warn Wiki-Anon that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for information... especially if it is not a Featured Article.

Anonymous said...

When did Hakka become Han?

They always have been.

Moreover, the terms Hakka, Hoklo, Minan and Aborigine are also recently constructed identities that arose from a political situation on Taiwan.

Not true for Hakka. The term predates the start of the Japanese occupation and people in a number of different countries call themselves Hakka. There are official records in HK from the early 1800s,Indonesia in the 1700s, the Caribbean in the mid 1800s. Thailand also has a long history of Hakka migration.

Anonymous said...


...what you forgot to add, and I know it is in Wiki because I put it there... that many of the Hakka in Taiwan are formerly ethnic Shi people who became Hakka.

What is even more interesting is that many of those "Hakka" became Hoklo speakers in Taiwan after mixing with plains aborigines and forgot their prior language and lineage. Much of the Changhua plane is more ex-Hakka.

Michael Turton said...

Constable (2005) Guest People: Hakka Identity in China and Abroad has a great discussion of the Hakka identity and how it has in different times and places been Han, not-Han, unChinese, ultraChinese, etc. It's on Google books, of course. Not that Wikiboy will read it, but others might.


Taiwan Echo said...

Ma Ying-jeou's new year message in English, cited in this post, is completely different from his new year message in Chinese:

馬英九總統2010元旦文告全文 -- 改革奮鬥 臺灣再起

Does anyone know that there are indeed two articles ? Or this is just another usual trick of Ma's to say one thing to the outside world and another thing to Taiwanese people ?

Taiwan Echo said...

I am now convinced that the article you guys are discussing here, which is written in English and posted in the government's English website, is one completely different from the real one, written in Chinese, Ma Ying-jeou delivered in front of TV to Taiwanese people.

Michael Turton said...

Echo, that's fascinating. I'll check it out tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I know this is not as strong a reference as Wikipedia, but here is a citation for you.

"... However, I submit that the notion of Han zu or Han min (Han nationality) is entirely a modern phenomenon-it arises from the shift from empire to nation, as argued above. While the concept of a Han person certainly existed, the notion that a unified Han nationality that occupies 94 percent of China's population gained its greatest popularity under Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The leader of the Nationalist movement that toppled the last empire of China, Dr. Sun was most certainly influenced by strong currents of Japanese nationalism during his long stay there. Sun argued that the ruler-subject relationship which had persisted throughout China's dynastic histry would need to be fundamentally transformed if a true nationalist movement were to sweep China and engender support among all its peoples. More practically, Dr. Sun needed a way to mobilize all Chinese against the imperial rule of the Qing, a dynasty founded by a northern collection of tribes who would become known as the Manchu. By invoking the argument that the majority of the people in China were Han, Sun effectively found a symbolic metaphorical opposition to the Manchu to which the vast majority of peoples in China would easily rally. He was one of the earliest and perhaps the best practitioners of "primordial politics". " Gladney p.p. 82-83.

Gladney.Dru.C.1991/1996. Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People's Republic. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Mass.

I would like to add that the use of the term "China" and "Chinese" evokes the all the lands and peoples of the Qing empire.

Wikiboy said...

Not that Wikiboy will read it, but others might.

When the insults come out, you know it's time to stop the discussion. Pity, because it was quite interesting.

Taiwan Echo said...

My bad, Michael. The one I linked to previously,

馬英九總統2010元旦文告全文 -- 改革奮鬥 臺灣再起

was the old one last year. So there was no mismatch here.

The 2011 one in Chinese can be found here: 【全民焦點】壯大臺灣 振興中華

Anonymous said...

It is only interesting when there are two sides making good arguments. A blowout is never interesting.

Anonymous said...

Uh, exactly what do you define as "ethnic chinese"? I guess you also have a definition for an ethnic american or ethnic briton also? What a surprise for all those who've been living in the u.s. and u.k. and don't fit into your definition - michael turton has denationalized your ass. By your definition nothing that the english have done in the last 10 centurie matters much to englishmen since they've been ruled by a bunch of ethnically french and german types. I think you have some cogent thoughts despite your obvious prejudice and bias, but 'ethnically chinese' is just not one of them.