Friday, September 07, 2018

"What? More words?"

"     ...But we have crossed millions of miles of nothingness. We have visited another world. And our Locar had said `Why bother? What is the worth of it? It is all vanity, anyhow.'
     And the secret is," I lowered my voice, as at a poetry reading, "he was right! It is vanity, it is pride!"

"You will say to them in Warwickshire: Eh, he wor a wonderly fine candle?"

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

"For those Dark Ages were not really so very dark — they were full of flickering lanterns, and even if the light had gone out of Europe altogether, there were other rays, literally from China to Peru, at which it could have been rekindled. But the Dark Ages that are to come will cover the whole world in a single pall; there will be neither escape nor sanctuary, save such as are too secret to be found or too humble to be noticed."
Friends and readers...

For over a decade now I have run this blog. Somehow, it became bigger than me, a kind of institution in which my role was more custodial than authorial. It has changed my life, filled it with interesting, passionate, and insightful people, kindled friendships, and informed and inspired others. It has been a privilege to be the steward of this blog, one I shall cherish to the end of my days.

The truth is, though, I have become exhausted. I cannot face another post. I have come to the end, of myself, and of this blog. And there at that end, I find, not myself, but all the others who have made this blog so special. It is to them I dedicate this, the final post on this blog.

My debt is boundless. Many, many wonderful, intelligent, insightful human beings have contributed to the making of this blog, through comments, alerting me to events, explaining things to me, or just plain being inspiring over the years. I'd like to thank Andrew Kerslake, Michael Fahey, Michal Thim, Jeff Miller, Clyde Warden, Courtney Donovan Smith, Frank Muyard, Martin Williams, Ian Rowen, Karl Smith, Michael Cannon, Kitsch Liao, SYS, Ben Goren, Max Hirsch,  Xander, Readin, Julia Famularo, Linda Arrigo, Robert Kelly, Jason Cox, David Reid, Aaron Sechrist, Paul Barclay, Tim Maddog, June Teufel Dreyer, Tammy Turner, Ottavia Huang, Paul Barclay, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, Tim Ferry, Kathrin Hille, Gerrit van der Wees, Chen Hui-ling, Coen Blaaw, Yang Ji-lin, Mark Stokes, Jon Sullivan, Steve Yates, Domenic Alonge, Chris Horton, Dennis Engbarth, Mark Harrison, Paul Snyder, Thomas Liao, Jeff Martin, Scott Simon, Avron Boretz, Shirley Kan, Kerim Friedman, Jenna Lynn Cody, Carrie Kellenberger, James Fallows, Marc Antony, Chang Rui-chuan, Michael Klein, Edouard Roquette, David Tsai, Arthur Waldron, Mike Fagan, Peter Enav, Mike Crabendam, Rashmi, David Curtis Wright, Bill Hayton, Brock Freeman, Josh Ellis, Bruce Jacobs, Ian Easton, Kharis Templeman, Peter Chow, Michella, John Tkacik, Ross Feingold, Scott Harold, Chris Nelson, David Tsai, Dwight Jurling, Andrew Bott, Francois-Xavier Bonnet, Andrew Leonard, Frances Chan, Clive Ansley, Katy Hui-wen Huang... so many, I cannot remember them all.

A special thanks to TC Lin, Roland Soong, and Scott Sommers, whose blogs were inspirational for this one.

A very special thanks of deepest affection to my first Taiwan teacher, Bob Sutter. Still drawing on what you taught, all those years ago.

I'd like to thank all my readers. I wish I could give all of them a hug. I have received so many emails from all over the world, and thousands of comments. Each one was a small kindness that meant so much to me. Thank you.

I'd like to thank all my students, who taught me so much about Taiwan, and who have been so patient with my infinite supply of new misunderstandings.

I'd like to thank all the researchers whose work has appeared here. I wish I had the brains and energy to do your work justice and to understand it properly.

I'd like to thank all the people who said 'yes' when I requested: "Can I put this on my blog?"

Oh yeah, and I'd like to thank the media. Those of you who read this blog know why.

And finally my family: Sebastian, Sheridan, and Sylvia. Love you all so much. I hope you can forgive me for all the time I put into this blog.

As for me, look for me on a road, somewhere in the mountains of Taiwan.

You'll find me.

"In peace, may you leave this shore. In love, may you find the next. Safe passage on your travels, until our final journey to the ground"
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Monday Short Shorts Plus Links

Yesterday was first nice day in weeks. I hit the mountains. It was wonderful.

This week brought us a sloppy and potentially libelous headline from Taiwan News on Mayor Ko and Ethan Gutmann's book on organ harvesting in China: Book claims Taipei Mayor transplanted organs from Falun Gong prisoners. To wit:
Butterfly Orchid Cultural Creativity (蝴蝶蘭文創), the pro-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) publisher of the Chinese version of the Ethan Gutmann book "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem" have taken out a full page ad in newspapers in Taiwan claiming that the organs Ko's team collected from China for patients in Taiwan all came from Falun Gong prisoners.
This claim that Ko used organs from Chinese prisoners is not a new claim, but a claim recycled from the 2014 election. He was attacked then and it didn't fly. The book does not say that, either, it actually says the exact opposite. My blogpost on it has the relevant excerpts, and let me repeat:
In addition, Ethan Gutmann testified before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in the Canadian Senate on October 21, 2014. He stated, “Ten years ago Dr. Ko went to a mainland hospital to negotiate reduced kidney and liver prices for his department’s elderly patients. After a friendly banquet, Dr. Ko was given the Chinese price, which was about half of what a foreigner pays.” Gutmann went on to praise Ko, saying that “Dr. Ko is now the leading candidate to be mayor of Taipei, largely due to the perception that he is a man of integrity. I’ll go further. Dr. Ko’s testimony has done more for this investigation than all the world’s health organizations put together.”
In other words, Ko rejected the organs. The revival of this ugly, shitty smear directed at Ko vividly shows how stupid DPPers in Taipei are -- they should be celebrating the fact that a fellow pan-Green is running the show and is popular enough to win again, paving the way for future DPP politicians to win there. I never expect the DPP to be very competent but the party's handling of Taipei has set new lows even for the DPP. Word needs to go down that DPPers need to stop attacking Ko. Support Yao if you must (why?) but leave Ko alone.

Taipei Times reports that Political donations to the KMT have plummeted, while the DPP is staying steady. That's a doubly good sign -- if the public were that upset with the DPP, donations might fall.

Kudos to Tsai Ing-wen. Via the simple act of refusing to kowtow to the fictional 1992 Consensus, she forced journalists to either explain that it's a fiction, explain it really means conceding Taiwan is part of Beijing's China, or stop writing about it. Most choose the last, but still, good job. The silence on the 1992 Consensus is vast -- not a single paper that made the false "two interpretations" claim has ever conceded that it misrepresented reality.

Amnesty complained that Taiwan executed someone. So did the EU, which thinks executions are bad but is silent on China's threats to maim and kill Taiwanese and annex their island (sell us weapons to resist? Perish the thought). Several people complained that this will impact Taiwan's soft power. I rather doubt that all those people snarfing gua bao in Berlin and London and NY even know that anyone was executed in Taiwan, and probably don't care either.

Finally, I just want to note: for all the thirty years I have been involved with this island every damn typhoon people go down to the oceanside and then die. This time 5 and rising, including an eight year old girl. Really tired of it.
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Paper on Parade: the enclave of once-Muslim families in Lukang

An address sign in Guocuoli

Time once again for our regularly irregular feature on a scholarly paper about Taiwan...

While I was looking at the complicated ethnic history of Quanzhou in Fujian, where 45% of the pre-1949 immigrants to Taiwan came from, I ran across this fascinating paper by Oded Abt entitled "Muslim Ancestor, Chinese Hero or Tutelary God:Changing Memories of Muslim Descendants in China,Taiwan and the Philippines"(Asian Journal of Social Science 42 (2014) 747–776). I asked Dr Abt to send the piece to me which he courteously did (if you want a paper just ask a scholar, they always provide). The paper is based on fieldwork he did in China and Taiwan in the 2000-2010 period.

Abt's paper discusses the background of the Guo family of Baiqi in Quanzhou. Early in the Qing these Guos sent a branch across the Strait to settle in the thriving port town of Lukang. In Lukang there are six branches of the Guos -- four branches that are part of one lineage from Baiqi, one branch composed of Guos who are not in the main branches, and a sixth branch composed of people with the Guo surname who are not related to the Guos of Baiqi (they come from Rihu and also trace their  ancestry to General Guo) but joined the family based on the common surname (common surnames are useful bases for relationships in Chinese society). The interesting thing was that the Guos began as Muslims...
The Baiqi Guo’s earliest ancestor was Guo Deguang 郭德广 (born between 1308 and 1311), a Muslim trader who moved to Quanzhou from Hangzhou, at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1376, a short while after the Ming rose to power, his grandson Guo Zhongyuan 郭仲远 (1348–1422) moved across the bay and established the family’s permanent home at Baiqi. At present, all Guos in the vicinity are his descendants (BaiqiGuoshiHuizuZongpu vol. 1: 61–62; Chen Dasheng 1984: 102–107). According to genealogical sources, at the beginning of the 17th century, “by the time of the Eighth and Ninth generations [of the Guos in Baiqi] they completely abandoned the [Muslim] faith, apparently in the mid-Wanli reign period (1573–1620)” (Baiqi Guo Shi Huizu Zongpu vol. 1, 2000: 15).5 Beginning in the early Qing period, several Guo households crossed the Taiwan Strait and settled in the town of Lugang 鹿港 where they were joined by other sub-branches throughout the Qing period. Another smaller community was formed in the Philippines by Guo sojourners that settled there throughout the Qing and Republican periods.
According to many scholars who write on the Hui (Muslim-descended) people in Chinese society and in Taiwan, Islam has vanished from their lives except for occasional taboos, such as not eating pork before performing religious rituals, that are still retained within families. Abt writes:
The Baiqi Guo lineage has preserved such ancestral-worship customs as the pork taboo, which is meant to demonstrate its Muslim origins. At the same time, the clan has also maintained a tradition that associated it with the wider Han community. The recently restored ancestral hall of the Baiqi village carries inscriptions and couplets alluding to the Guos’ mythic Chinese founder, the Tang general Guo Ziyi. They open with the words “our ancestor is of Fenyang, our branch from Fuyang …” (zu Fenyang, pai Fuyang … 祖汾陽, 派富陽…7), commemorating the clan’s descent from Guo Ziyi, whose official title was Prefect of Fenyang.8 The characters Fenyang 汾陽 are often written as an honorary title referring to Guo Ziyi himself and they appear on many of the lineage’s funerary and ritual articles.
Clan members know that Guo is only a mythical ancestor later adopted -- many different families adopted famous ancestors with the same surname during the Ming in order to fit in with the Han society or because it gave gentry a leg up in getting into the civil service. The Guo families know that their connection to General Guo is mythical, but to them the preservation of the link represents a symbol of the persecution these Muslim families faced in China... Abt observes:
In the present, the Baiqi Guo themselves accept this view. Nowadays, when asked about it, members of the old folks committee (laoshehui) and senior residents of Baiqi village explain that the tradition of revering Guo Ziyi is a remnant of the troubled time during the early Ming period, when minority groups such as their ancestors suffered harsh persecution and hostility at the hands of both local Han society and the Ming Government.
An interesting old house in Guocuoli

Inspired by this paper, I went down to Lukang (where my wife's family is from, although she is one of the Shih clan) to locate the enclave of Guos, called Guocuoli (郭厝里). Unfortunately nothing of the infrastructure of Islamic practice is left... Abt notes:
The Guo members, like their kin in Baiqi, do not practice Islam at all. Many of them do not retain even the slightest traces of their Muslim ancestral heritage (Pillsbury, 1973: 144–149; Cai Maotang, 1980: 101–105; Su Yiwen, 2002: 29–38; Huang Tianzhu, 1993: 139). They are aware of their Muslim origin, although it maintains only a marginal part in their current religious activities and family traditions. The elders of Guo Cuo Li still recall the purifying well that was located in the heart of their neighbourhood until about 60 years ago, in what used to be the yard of the local mosque.
According to Abt the traditions of descent from Guo Ziyi are "very rich and thriving". The community built a new temple to their tutelary deity around 2000 called the Bao An Temple, to replace the one dating from 1725.

A side view of the Bao An Temple, with a small earth god temple in the foreground. Being easily distracted I never did get a picture of the Bao An Temple...

Abt's paper ends with a discussion of the politics of the Hui identity in modern China, where the state identified some groups as Hui (Muslim) in the 1950s, and Taiwan. Identification with this identity has waxed and waned with politics, but state efforts have stimulated responses that have helped reinforce and reshape these identities...
In present-day China, being classified as one of the 56 officially recognised nationalities signifies absorption into the larger collective of the Chinese nation. Among the mainland Baiqi community members, Guo Ziyi is a symbol of forced assimilation and this, in turn, embodies their contemporary Sino-Hui identity. Outside the boundaries of China the boundaries of Chinese-ness are also transformed: In Taiwan, Guo Ziyi is a symbol of identification with a large universal Chinese surname-group. Descent from Guo Ziyi is what enables the Lugang Guos to ascend above the more immediate foreign ancestry and form a link to the core of mainstream Chinese national and cultural heritage.

A ruined house in Guocuoli

Today you can walk around Guocuoli and never know its unique heritage, for there is nothing on the ground to signal that this place has is own special history.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018 Election Posters: Round Three

A KMT candidate dominates a Taichung intersection.

Another day, another collection of colorful election posters. Rode around in Changhua this week, a key battleground that is currently leaning KMT. You can click on any photo to be taken to its Flickr page if you want to zoom in on it. Click on READ more to see more....

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Latest for ACT: The Power of Culture in the Fight for Taiwan

Where cultures mingle...

American Citizens for Taiwan has published my latest piece for them....
Taiwanese food products have done much to raise awareness of Taiwan, as chefs in North America and Europe are learning how to make “Taiwanese pork belly sliders” (gua bao) while Taiwanese pearl milk tea is a hit in many countries. Government cultural agencies in Taiwan have put great effort into promoting Taiwan as a food destination. But because of disagreements between the pro-Taiwan and the pro-China side in Taiwan’s politics over what “Taiwan” means, and from the lack of domestic markets and infrastructure to support them, cultural products such as film and music remain unexplored realms of soft power.
This was stimulated by a conversation on Twitter that took off from the success of Crazy Rich Asians and asked what could be done for Taiwan...
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Spanish Scholar on How China Suppressed a Taiwan Culture Event

Bullying, threatening letter sent to U of Salamanca by PRC Embassy

Today I decided to go public with the email #China’s embassy in Spain sent to coerce the University of #Salamanca into cancelling “#Taiwan Cultural Days” on October 2017. ENG version on the account of what happened. English version of what happened.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Friday, August 24, 2018

What did the south Chinese know about Taiwan and when did they know it?

From: Ptak, R. "From Quanzhou to the Sulu Zone and Beyond: Questions Related to the Early Fourteenth Century" Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 29, 2 (September 1998): 269-294, 1998 by National University of Singapore. Ptak is discussing Quanzhou's camphor trade in the early 14th century.
The next commodity, camphor, was produced in the Barus area of western Sumatra and on Borneo. The Far East also produced a substance known by this name but its chemical composition was different and it was never valued as highly as imported camphor. Song sources list foreign camphor as an import from Srivijaya and Champa. There are also references to imports from Butuan and occasional shipments by merchants from Persia, Chola and Cengtan (on the Arabian Peninsula?). It is obvious that Butuan and Champa received their camphor from Borneo while the other imports originally came from the Barus area. Wang Dayuan refers to camphor products in his chapters on Champa, Trengganu, Samudra, Xialaiwu, Danmaling (Ligor?), Brunei, Pulau Rondo (Longxianxu), Dudu'an, Srivijaya and Suluoge. Camphor, it is clear, continued to be available in the Yuan period along both the western and the eastern trunk routes.45
Ptak has written a whole book on the area's camphor trade before 1500, and obviously knows his stuff.

Quanzhou is more or less right across the Strait from Taiwan. Taiwan was absolutely stuffed with camphor trees in those days and early Chinese settlers found it right away (here for overview). Production of camphor was actually illegal until 1725, when the government became the monopoly purchaser of private camphor production. Taiwan did not become part of the global camphor trade until after 1850.

So the people of Quanzhou had rich camphor source right next to them, but went to areas south of the Philippines to get camphor, so little did they know of Taiwan.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Kaohsiung is underwater

Some vids of the disaster unfolding down there as the storm sits over southern Taiwan. In Taichung it is gray and raining, very depressing, but no serious flooding.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Some Random Charts of Taiwan People be Passin' Around

The carbon footprint chart I put on Flickr. If you mouse over it you can zoom in on it.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The ROC loses another prop: buh-bye El Salvador

These really should be weaponized. No one can resist their power.

Dammit, El Salvador. I had hoped to avoid writing a blogpost today, but then Taipei severed diplomatic relations with that nation this week after its leadership allegedly demanded exorbitant sums to maintain its recognition of the ROC, including massive payments to the ruling party. El Salvador then switched recognition to China. A Taiwan scholar tweeted around:
Recap to what happened today about #China - #ElSalvador - #Taiwan quandary: @MOFA_Taiwan refused to be blackmailed by Salvadorian government asking for exorbitant sums of money to fund 2019 elections + port infrastructure. Salvador’s been pressuring TW during past 2 months
A new thing was signaling of support for Taiwan by Republican Congressmen on Twitter who tweeted indignantly about the switch:
Ted Yoho @RepTedYoho
U.S. + like-minded countries cannot wait much longer to prevent #China ’s reach. China is actively pursuing #Taiwan’s remaining allies through diplomatic + economic coercion. We cannot stand idly by, while China bullies its way into power.

@SenTomCotton: “The Chinese Communist Party should know that every time it bullies a country into severing ties with Taiwan it only strengthens the bonds between the U.S. and the Taiwanese people.” Agreed.
Marco Rubio of Florida threatened El Salvador over the switch. Also new was that Taipei dumped El Salvador before it switched, a good move.

Solidarity commented:
Peeling off an ally after every Tsai trip abroad is one way to undermine the narrative of that trip, too
Jessica Drun posted the thoughts of one of El Savador's opposition politicians in this thread, describing them....
He regrets the decision (interestingly calls "Taiwan" "China Taiwan"), notes distance of El Salvador from community of democracies, calls the move "treasonous," and calls the move the end to a disastrous government. Interesting to see the domestic politics angle in all this.

In the media...

Chris Taylor has an excellent piece (read it!) observing that this marks the end of "dollar diplomacy". Taylor obviously knows his stuff:
The so-called 1992 consensus is subject to competing interpretations, and is widely perceived in Taiwan as an ex-post facto fabrication on the outcome of discussions between representative bodies from China and Taiwan in Hong Kong in 1992.

China takes the consensus as an affirmation of its ‘One China Policy,’ and its position that Taiwan is an indivisible part of it. Tsai, with the backing of the DPP, refuses to acknowledge the consensus.
This is probably the first piece in the international media to use the term "fabrication" in conjunction with the 1992C. Taylor also gets the connection to independence and quotes DPPer Yu Shyi-kun and turncoat Hsu Hsin-liang on the topic:
As former Premier Yu Shyi-kun, leader of a Taiwanese delegation to the inauguration of President Donald Trump, reflected, the loss of small diplomatic allies to China amounts to more domestic budget for Taiwan.

Former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, head of Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies, which is a private think tank, has echoed such views, arguing that small diplomatic allies impose an unnecessary economic burden on Taiwan. Losing them “is not really important,” he said.
Kudos to Taylor for this excellent reportage...

The international reporting, alas, was too often the usual mix of tropes and ignorance. The Guardian wrote, for example:
The latest diplomatic switch leaves Taiwan further isolated on the international stage. Beijing claims that Taiwan, which operates under its own government, currency, and military, is an inseparable part of China and says it will not maintain ties with any country that has formal diplomatic ties with Taipei.

Relations between China and Taiwan have reached a low under Tsai, who belongs to the Democratic Progressive party, which advocates independence for the island. Since her election, Beijing has ramped up efforts to poach Taiwan’s allies. Now, just 17 countries recognise Taiwan, after Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic cut ties and recognised Beijing instead earlier this year.
The Guardian did extensively quote Tsai and also Joseph Wu (yay!), but still The Formula there bolded in red tells us only what Beijing thinks, and not what Taiwan thinks. Typical. In the international media, Beijing's claims are almost never interrogated or challenged. The Straits Times ran a very similar quote, with Taiwan also silenced.

Note the bolded sentence in the second paragraph, in which the Guardian tells us that "relations have reached a low", apparently without the intervention of human agency. Relations are low because of Beijing's decisions. Indeed, the Guardian report assigns the blame to Tsai with "under Tsai". The piece is by the Guardian's Beijing reporter, which no doubt accounts for the slant.

Oh, and in coincidental conjunction with this event, a number of people were tweeting around that support for Taiwan independence among Hong Kong's young has risen strongly (survey). Apparently there is something about being ruled by China that just makes people yearn not to be ruled by China.

There's not much to say that hasn't already been said. The Straits Times piece, which is far better than the Guardian piece, has a nice quote from the most excellent Jon Sullivan, who gets it...
"If the ROC is completely unrecognised I believe Beijing's calculation is that it will be easier to delegitimise the government in Taipei and prime demoralised Taiwanese and international society for unification," said Jonathan Sullivan, Director of China Programmes at the University of Nottingham.
Note Sullivan's careful choice of point of view and words. "If the ROC..." -- almost every newspaper article simply says it was "Taiwan" that lost recognition. The problem with that is simple: no nation on earth recognizes Taiwan, they all recognize the Republic of China as the sole and legitimate government of China. The international media either doesn't understand this, is too lazy to explain, or prefers to emphasize Taiwan because that increases the clickbait value of the article. Thus Sullivan's precise use of "ROC" and "government in Taipei" because Sullivan understands that Taiwan has neither lost nor gained anything.

Taiwan cognoscenti understand well that the ROC is a virtual state propped up by thin threads connecting it to reality -- the diplomatic allies, control of Kinmen and Matsu (where the ROC truly resides in the hearts of many of the people), and control of islands in the South China Sea (see J Tkacik's recent excellent piece in TT on Kinmen/Matsu), and its territorial claims in the Senkakus. The SCS islands, the Senkakus claims, and the diplomatic relations are the only places where the ROC truly exercises, in evanescent form, the international powers of a sovereign state.

As Sullivan knows (and is cited on further down in the Straits Times article), many independence supporters view the loss of relations as inevitable and desirable, because each such loss brings the hated colonial ROC government to its own inevitable death, leaving only Taiwan, which will then be independent. That is why Beijing has never taken back Matsu and Kinmen -- because they give Taiwan a tenuous connection to China, and that is why it permits Taiwan to have diplomatic allies. After all, poaching them gives the media the opportunity to write lots of clickbait headlines...

Allies come and go, but Taiwan abides.
Daily Links:
REF: I've placed President Tsai's statement on termination of relations with El Salvador below the READ MORE link...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Taiwan is 98% Han Chinese

Who lives here...

Hokkien immigrants to Taiwan originated from Quanzhou prefecture (44.8%) and Zhangzhou prefecture (35.2%). -- Wiki

A group of South Indian merchants, most probably Tamils, financed and endowed a Hindu temple at the principal Chinese international port, Quanzhou in the twelfth century CE -- source

....Yet it is clear that Quanzhou was host to traders who were themselves devotees of Shiva, and that at various times these traders amassed enough influence within the community to erect monuments to their god.

Their position within the city is further evident from the extensive iconographie material evocative of Shiva and the Shiva cult that was incorporated into the motifs of the Kaiyuan Temple, the dominant Buddhist temple of the city, during later reconstructions. Unfortunately, none of the images can be dated with any precision, but all are considered to belong to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. They include several uses of Ungarn and other motifs that are equally strongly connected with the god, such as the sacred cow.36 Shiva is not the only Indianized image found there; Vishnu, for example, is also featured, though less often.37 -- source

A late thirteenth-century bilingual Tamil and Chinese-language inscription has been found associated with the remains of a Siva temple of Quanzhou. This was one of possibly two south Indian-style Hindu temples that must have been built in the southeastern sector of the old port, where the foreign traders' enclave was formerly located. [It reads]:
[Tamil]: "Obeisance to Hara (Siva)! Let there be prosperity! On the day Citra in the month of Chittira in the Saka year 1203 (1281 A.D.), the Tavachchakkarvarttigal Sambandhap-perumal (a Saiva religious leader) caused, in accordance with the firman (written permission) of Chekachai Khan (the Mongol ruler), to be graciously installed the God Udaiyar Tirukkadalisvaram Udaiya-nayinar (Siva), for the welfare of the illustrious body of the illustrious Chekachai Khan." -- source

...Another historian records, "A large number of Moslem, Nestorian, Catholic, Manichean and Hindu inscriptions are found in the area. ... The inscriptions are in Arabic, Syriac and Tamil." -- source

Cao'an (Chinese: 草庵; pinyin: Cǎoān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chháu-am; literally: "thatched nunnery"[1]) is a temple in Jinjiang, Fujian. Originally constructed by Chinese Manicheans, it was viewed by later worshipers as a Buddhist temple. This "Manichean temple in Buddhist disguise"[2] is seen by modern experts on Manichaeism as "the only extant Manichean temple in China",[3] or "the only Manichean building which has survived intact".[4]

The temple is located on the southern slope of Huabiao Hill near Shedian Village just west of downtown Jinjiang.[5][6] Jinjiang is part of Quanzhou, which was known historically as "Quanzhou Prefecture"; the location is some 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of downtown Quanzhou.[4] -- Wiki

...From the beginning of the Yuan, foreign troops loyal to the Mongols, from Yangzhou and Huzhou, were stationed in Quanzhou. They were allied with the Persian community in Quanzhou. During the decline of the Yuan Dynasty, the foreign troops turned against the Mongolian elites in an attempt to set up their own state. When the foreigners discovered the weakness of the Yuan troops in their attempts to suppress rebels in Xinghua, they initiated rebellion. The leaders of the rebellion were the descendants of the powerful trading families of Pu Shougeng and Nawuna, the Trade Superintendent at the time. This rebellion of foreign ethnic groups, called the Ipsah Rebellion by historians (Chen, 1992, p. 8; Zhuang, 1980b), lasted 10 years and involved a large area including Fuzhou, Quanzhou, and Xinghua. According to Maejima (1973,1974) and Zhuang (1980b), the first 5 years of the rebellion were characterized by a struggle between Persian forces in Quanzhou and Xinghua, while the latter 5 years were dominated by a rebellion started by Nawuna and Pu Shougeng descendants who wanted to expand trade but were restricted by the Mongols. Zhuang states that the immediate cause of the outbreak was the Muslim disapproval of the building of a Hindu temple on the site of the former governor’s residence (Zhuang, 1980b, pp. 23–24). -- source

In the early fourteenth century, the most prosperous merchants in Quanzhou were Muslims of both Chinese and non-Chinese origin. Epigraphic and other evidence points to the strong position of this group in Quanzhou's society.

-- source

The Ding or Ting family of Chendai in Quanzhou claims descent from the Muslim leader Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar through his son Nasr al-Din or Nasruddin (Chinese: Nasulading).[62] The Dings have branches in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia among the Chinese communities there, no longer practicing Islam but still maintaining a Hui identity. The deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Muslim Association on Taiwan, Ishag Ma (馬孝棋) has claimed "Sayyid is an honorable title given to descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, hence Sayyid Shamsuddin must be connected to Prophet Mohammed". The Ding family in Taisi Township in Yunlin County of Taiwan, traces descent from him through the Ding of Quanzhou in Fujian.[63] Nasruddin was appointed governor in Karadjang and retained his position in Yunnan till his death, which Rashid, writing about 1300, says occurred five or six years before. (According to the Yüan shi, "Nasulading" died in 1292.) Nasruddin's son Abubeker, who had the surname Bayan Fenchan (evidently the Boyen ch'a-r of the Yüan shi), was governor in Zaitun at the time Rashid wrote. He bore also his grandfather's title of Sayid Edjell and was Minister of Finance under Kublai's successor.[64] Nasruddin is mentioned by Marco Polo, who styles him "Nescradin".[65][66][67] -- Wiki

Quanzhou initially continued to thrive under the Southern Song produced by the Jin–Song Wars. A 1206 report listed merchants from Arabia, Sumatra, Cambodia, Brunei, Java, Champa, Burma, Korea, and the city-states of the Philippines. One of its customs inspectors, Zhao Rugua, completed his compendious Description of Barbarian Nations c. 1225, recording the people, places, and items involved in China's foreign trade in his age. Other imperial records from the time use it as the zero mile for distances between China and foreign countries. Tamil merchants carved idols of Vishnu and Shiva[38] and constructed Hindu temples in Quanzhou. Over the course of the 13th century, however, Quanzhou's prosperity declined due to instability among its trading partners[30] and increasing restrictions introduced by the Song in an attempt to restrict the outflow of copper and bronze currency from areas forced to use hyperinflating paper money. The increasing importance of Japan to China's foreign trade also benefited Ningbonese merchants at Quanzhou's expense, given their extensive contacts with Japan's major ports on Hakata Bay on Kyushu. -- Wiki

Serving kung fu tea and speaking a south Fujian dialect, Guo Jingzhuan, 52, a ship owner from Shiyu village in east China's Fujian Province, is proud of his seafaring ancestry.

Almost all the residents in his village are descended from Arabian merchants, who travelled to Quanzhou hundreds of years ago, when the city was one of the world's most vibrant ports. Guo is planning to buy another 10,000-tonne freighter later this year to join what he calls the "100,000 tonnes shipping club." -- source

The Fujian city of Quanzhou, today a prefecture level city of approximately 8 million inhabitants, grew to be one of the world’s largest ports during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. A main stopover in maritime silk route, Marco Polo talked about the city in his travel memoirs.

During the Yuan Dynasty it was home to an estimated 100,000 Arab traders and was also an important center of shipbuilding. Later, during the Ming Dynasty, Quanzhou helped supply and stage China’s largest period of naval exploration. Between 1405 and 1433, China launched seven expeditions under the command of Admiral Zheng He whose explorations took his fleet to Southeast Asia, Arabia and Africa. -- source

....The earliest Chinese ethnic group came from the Quanzhou area of southern Fujian. They often came as shop keepers, factory owners or workers and they settled along the coasts or in ports. The immigrants from Zhangzhou, also in southern Fujian, came later and tended to settle on the inland plains and engage in agriculture. The Hakka, mainly from eastern Guangdong, came later and settled in upland areas. After the Hakka, much smaller groups came from other areas of Fujian such as Fuzhou and Xinghua. These groups tended to live in cities and engage in the three trades concerned with the three knives: tailors who used scissors, cooks who used kitchen knives, and barbers who used razors. Even in the 1970s, Quanzhou people tended to be in commerce and industry, while Zhangzhou people engaged in agriculture (C.-L. Chen 1972: 130).

The three big ethnic groups – the Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and Hakka – engaged in substantial armed struggle. Of these, only the largest group, the Quanzhou, who accounted for about 45 percent of Taiwan’s population at the end of the Manchu period (calculated from C.-L. Chen 1972: 129–130), fought among themselves on the basis of origins from different counties (Lamley 1981: 283). The Zhangzhou Hokkien, who accounted for about 35 percent of Taiwan’s population,and the Hakka, who accounted for about 13 percent at the end of the Manchu period (calculated from C.-L. Chen 1972: 129–130) remained much more united as groups (Lamley 1981: 283). Yet, even the two Hokkien groups could unite when faced with a large Hakka opponent, as in the Hsia-tan shui river basin (now the Kaoping River [453 ]) on the border of modern Kaohsiung and Pingtung in southern Taiwan (Lamley 1981: 294). -- source

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ACT #12: US is Salami Slicing?

An overgrown monument to a more romantic past...

My 12th for American Citizens for Taiwan on the possibility of the US adopting China's salami slicing tactics
Are quiet port visits by US navy ships in the offing? Quite possibly. Consider that the US navy does not have to send a warship — it possesses many different kinds of vessels that are utterly unwarlike, from research vessels to hospital ships to repair vessels to ordinary cargo vessels. A smart salami slicing style move would be to send one of those, then gasp in mock astonishment when China goes into paroxysms of rage: “it’s not even a warship.” Or the US could send the USS Blue Ridge, a command ship which visited Shanghai in 2016, which would enable Washington to piously claim it is engaged in displays of evenhandedness.
Go thou and read!
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

The 85C mess and BBC *sigh*.

Morning at Fengyuan train station

BBC's report on the 85C mess... is a mess itself.
The LA branch of Taiwanese-owned 85C Bakery Cafe gave the coffee, along with an enthusiastic welcome, to Tsai Ing-wen when she dropped in last Sunday.

But many Chinese customers - who visit the chain's branches in mainland China - were furious, calling for a boycott.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and the Chinese public are often quick to jump on anything that is seen as endorsing Taiwanese independence.
Warmly welcoming Ms Tsai, the leader of a pro-independence party, was seen as unacceptable.

Yet, when the bakery chain tried some damage control, quickly putting out a statement distancing itself from pro-independence sentiments, it only sparked more anger - this time in Taiwan, where people accused the company of bowing to Chinese pressure.
That summary is pretty much correct. We will come back to the bolded parts in a second. J Michael Cole pointed out in a piece at Taiwan Sentinel that this "bottom up" nationalism in which netizens attack foreign firms who don't conform.
After photos of the encounter were made public, Chinese ultranationalists kicked into action and accused the chain, which operates 859 stores in China and made 64% of its Q1 revenue there, of supporting Taiwan independence. Threats of a boycott (described by the South China Morning Post as a “zealous online campaign”) were sent to the company’s Weibo account, and its Taiwan website was was knocked offline by what is believe to have been a cyber attack. The next day, Long Mingbiao, deputy director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), said China would “never allow” a company that (purportedly) supports Taiwanese independence to operate in China.

Thus threatened, the company — which was founded in 2004 and is now registered in the Cayman Islands — issued a three-point apology on its China website. The company thanked the Chinese for “educating” it, reaffirmed its “firm support” for the so-called “1992 consensus,” and stated its hopes for the “peaceful unification” of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait while “opposing any behavior and remarks that separate the brotherhood of the two sides.”
Actually, it's all nonsense, as lots of companies that support independence operate in China. Cole rightfully worries about the threat of ultranationalism, but I wonder if these incidents can be taken at face value -- how much of the "ultranationalism" comes down to internet minders as orders from Beijing, so that Beijing can arrange incidents like this. But it probably doesn't need to...

But, back to the BBC. Take a look at the text bolded there. BBC in the first five paragraphs twice tells us how "the Chinese" feel. It mentions that Taiwanese accused the company of bowing to Chinese pressure, though why "bowing to Chinese pressure" is a problem is not mentioned aloud (it is assumed as subtext). A curious silence, that grows...

After telling us that Taiwan's status is a sensitive issue -- but what is its status under international law, BBC? We are never told, though that is quite clear -- its status remains undetermined. BBC never mentions that. BBC never mentions what the people of Taiwan want in the text.

Well, there's a picture caption that says "Many Taiwanese don't want to be part of China." How many, BBC? There's extensive poll data on that. Oh, there is another caption that says (in wonky English) "Taiwan remains defiant of Beijing's sovereignty claims". But why are they defiant? How is democracy mentioned in the text related to this defiance?

Those are the only things we hear about how (some?) ordinary Taiwanese feel, and they are picture captions, not main text.

The next paragraphs, one after another, offer China boilerplate...
  • China considers the island to be a renegade province...
  • China insists that other countries can only have diplomatic ties with China...
  • ...Beijing has become increasingly assertive over its claims...
What does Taiwan feel? It's a mystery. What is this independence that is sometimes spoken of in the article, yet never explained? BBC has endless space to explain to us how poor put-upon China feels, but nary a sentence in the main text on how Taiwanese feel about China... nor is any Chinese claim interrogated or deconstructed. Nor are any ordinary Taiwanese quoted about how they feel. As is so often the case in the international media, Chinese claims are repeated without challenge (consider this BBC report on the Baltics and Putin, by contrast, with its extensive man-on-the-street reportage).

BBC then gives some details of what happened in the visit to the 85C outlet. Then, back to the "analysis":
Although Ms Tsai has been a moderate voice on the independence issue since her election, she is viewed by the mainland as a dangerous separatist.
Whew! BBC almost said something about Taiwan without telling us what China felt! At least they stated that Tsai is a moderate as if that were a fact in the world. Kudos to them for that tiny advance toward truthfulness.

We then get a post from social media in China...
"85C is a 'Taiwan independence' two-faced company," said one post on social media..."
...but nada from social media in Taiwan.

BBC then describes the damage control, saying of 85C's moves...
It reiterated its "firm support" for the 1992 Consensus - a loose agreement between Taiwan and China that there is only one China, without defining what that means.
This is just plain Beijing-slanted fictionalizing. There is no "agreement" between Taiwan and China called the 1992 Consensus -- no consensus was reached at the 1992 meeting in Singapore between the unelected representatives of two authoritarian parties. Rather, after 2000, KMT and CCP politicians working to suppress democracy and independence in Taiwan agreed to pretend to each other that there was a 1992 Consensus (which they differ on!). The "agreement" is between the KMT and the CCP, not Taiwan and China. Sad.

Finally, after the company's damage control moment, we get some Taiwan point of view:
In Taiwan, it sparked accusations that the bakery was bowing to pressure from Beijing.

A spokesman for the presidential office in Taipei called accused China of carrying out an "uncivilised act" which would "hinder the world market order and freedom of speech".
An actual quote from the Presidential office. Apparently Taiwanese netizens are not worth quoting, and BBC gives us no information on independence though it gives extensive information on China's belligerent expansionism (and goes into some depth further in the article). Instead, BBC assumes "independence" without mentioning so much as a poll or the word "identity". Without that, "bowing to pressure" is meaningless.

You suck, BBC.

REF: FocusTW report, Taiwan news on the fall in stock value
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Taipei election hilarity plus LINKZ

All roads lead to home

Hardly had I posted last week on how the Taipei election was giving me the sadz when that selfsame day the venerable Ting Shou-chung, now in his 2,461st run for Taipei mayor, decided to exceed even Pasuya Yao and restore my faith in the mainlander Old Guard's ability to lose China. Er, Taipei.

Speaking at a press conference on women and children's safety last week, Ting, the KMT mayoral candidate in Taipei, Storm Media,(my translation) reported on TingFAIL. Wanting to appear the law-and-order candidate...
Ting stressed that through past big data analysis, people with traits such as being male, not being married, living alone, unemployed, lacking in sex, and with poor interpersonal relationships may have a tendency to abuse children or randomly kill people. These people are time bombs. If you can make good use of data in the future, and cooperate with medical units, police agencies or social welfare organizations to strengthen pre-visits, monitoring, and control of these people to "reduce their harm", you can achieve crime prevention. 
In Taiwanese society, especially to the mainlander mind, the solution to all social problems is always "more control". Ting was pilloried on the net for his lack of imagination and strong need for control. Recall in the 2016 election run up when also-ran Soong said that only those who were faithful to their wives and children can be faithful to their country. In this view violators of traditional morality like single, unemployed men are violators of the Confucian order, weakening the nation...

But wait! There's more...!

Apple Daily ran this photo of Ting with his logo. JUST TAIPEI is another one of those almost-a-slogan-sounding English phrases that Taiwanese politicians love. The Chinese says "Taipei Future In [my] Hands. A typical play on words, Ting's Chinese name sounds like the phrase "in ___ hand". The screw, though, is priceless. Netizens in Taiwan are well acquainted with the many meanings of the word in several languages. This promises endless amusement.

You thought Sean Lien's hilariously incompetent campaign was an anomaly? One reason that mainlanders, especially elites, are having increasing trouble winning offices as Taiwan's democracy deepens is because part of being a colonial ruling class gives one a strong sense of entitlement. Even Ting, a longtime party stalwart in Taipei, with decades of political experience, can't overcome that handicap.

Meanwhile Pasuya Yao, the DPP's Taipei mayor candidate, upon hearing that Ting had taken out an AK-47 and peppered his own foot, decided to try and stay in the race to the bottom. Seizing upon Ting's mention of housing, Yao once again mentioned his policy of housing rent subsidies, 3K a month for singles and 5K a month for married couples. This attempt to buy votes with tax dollars met with a torrent of abuse on the intertubes, not merely for the stupidity of the policy itself, but because instead of letting Ting stew in his own remarks, Yao brought the spotlight back to himself, demonstrating both policy and political ineptitude.

It's no wonder that independent Ko Wen-je is enjoying a comfortable lead in the polling for Taipei. Keep on trucking, Ting and Yao!
Daily Links:
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Quake Alert

Had a little quake of 4.0 in nearby Nantou, but it felt big. During the quake, which went on for a few seconds, I got this "presidential alert" on my phone.
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