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Freitag, November 07, 2008

Becoming China

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Taiwan street dog rescue ( )

There are things you can only do once in your life, and becoming China is certainly one of them. I am living in Taiwan, formally called "Republic of China", a country which had been founded on the Chinese mainland right after the monarchy. In 1949 the government, army and a small part of its population had been fleeing to the island of Taiwan (also called Formosa), where the Chinese government (Kuomintang party) had established a strict rule, also suppressing the local population dreaming of once ruling over the Chinese mainland again.

Taiwan: possibly China? It seems our president is answering the question now...

This has never happened and now the Republic of China / Taiwan is a sovereign state with its own government, army, visa rules, taxes, currency and all the stuff that makes a state. If we are Taiwan or China is an open question here on the island and there seems to be a kind of 50:50 split about it among the population, but at least most people agree we are not the People's Republic of China, as we have our own President, all the stuff like own currency and army mentioned above and pay our taxes to Taipei and not to Beijing.

Since we had a pro-formal-independence government 2000-2008 under president Chen, which wanted to rename "Republic of China" into "Republic of Taiwan", things were going towards a ruff ride to independence, with the People's Republic threatening to attack Taiwan and the president shouting "Taiwan YES, China NO" on TV. This made me become very pro-Kuomintang and anti-independence, as war was seemingly at hand.

flag of the Republic of China / Taiwan

But as this pro-independence president Chen had engaged in a nightmarish large corruption scandal, the Taiwanese voters had hardly another choice than to vote for Kuomintang party in 2008, letting this so-called "Blue Party"/Kuomintang grasping power in both the presidential palace and the parliament. The new president Ma promised to keep the status-quo between China and Taiwan, even if he was suspected as being too pro-Chinese by many observers. However, with the head of the Chinese reunion commission from the Mainland visiting Taiwan right now and having him met president Ma, I get the feeling we are moving towards reunion and Taiwan becoming something like Hong-Kong rather quickly. The leader of the Chinese reunion commission looking somewhat like North Korean leader Kim Il Sung with his hairstyle, is holding bold speeches here in Taiwan and the Taiwanese government did not even dare to show its own flag (!), the flag of the Republic of China / Taiwan at the meetings. Reason is, China (as in Mainland China or People's Republic of China) calls Taiwan a renegade province of China and thus does not accept its statehood.

Separating from the mainland of China in 1949: Chiang-Kai Shek (grave)

Taiwan's president Ma went as far as calling Taiwan a "region of China" ahead of the talks and now has his police taking away the Taiwan flag/Republic of China flag from protesters here in Taipei. To explain it again: Mainland China does not like this "Taiwan flag" as it obviously points out the statehood and independence of Taiwan. President Ma also does not use his title "president of the Republic of China" when talking to the Chinese delegation. A record shop playing a Taiwanese (and not Mandarin-Chinese) song had been forced to close during the time the Chinese envoy was passing through, the shop owner was injured.

I guess we are "becoming China" rather quickly, so let me have a bit of fun as long as I still can:


OK, that being done I ask you people from the People's Republic of China to forgive me, but free speech isn't exactly a common thing in China and so as long as we are still Taiwan I just had to enjoy that liberty.


And come on, this isn't exactly a bad thing. Actually it means "intercourse with China" and isn't that exactly what we are doing right now?





Klaus hat gesagt…

Hallo Rüdiger,

zu dem Thema habe ich mir angesichts der jüngsten Demos auch ein paar Gedanken gemacht, so gut das halt von Hamburg aus möglich ist:

Wir haben es gut, wir haben im Notfall deutsche Pässe. Kein Wunder, dass so viele schwangere Taiwanerinnen Verwandte in den USA besuchen, um ihre Kinder dort zur Welt zu bringen.

Ludigel ("Bob Honest") hat gesagt…

Hier in Taipei, wo ich arbeite, sind die meisten Leute pro-Ma, also pro-Kuomintang und sehen sich damit als Chinesen in einem demokratischen eigenen Staat an. In der Kantine schuetteln die Leute den Kopf, wenn die Protestierer von der Oposition gezeigt werden und sagen, die sind verrueckt. "Gewalttaetig und korrupt" ist die oppositionelle DPP, die da demonstriert, ist die Meinung vieler hier in Taipei, die sich mit ihren chinesischen Vorfahren identifizieren.
Hmmmm... es geht bei uns Auslaendern die Horrorvorstellung um, dass viele in Taiwan gerne Chinesen werden wuerden, wenn man dann weiter gute Geschaefte machen kann und das ihnen die Demokratie nicht viel bedeutet.
Suedlich von Taipei scheint das anders zu sein bzw. es geht darum, ob sich die Leute als chinesisch oder taiwanesisch ansehen. Hoffentlich hat Ma nicht die Buechse der Pandora aufgemacht.

Ludigel ("Bob Honest") hat gesagt…

Also English comments welcome :-)