Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Open-minded and welcoming

Something else I meant to discuss in my previous post about Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) address to the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Taipei yesterday was his insistence that Taiwanese should be “open minded” and welcoming when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visits Taichung later this month for the fourth round of cross-strait talks. Wu’s point was that as the meeting will only touch on “technicalities” that will ostensibly benefit Taiwanese, people should show restraint in their protests targeting the envoy’s presence on Taiwanese soil.

Little did I know, as I was scribbling my notes, that moments later, Wu would be telling media outside the venue that “only irresponsible people or idiots want Taiwan independence.” So much for open-mindedness, respect and hospitality.

Back in October last year, when ARATS Vice-Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) was “jostled” during a visit in central Taiwan, many in the pan-blue camp and across the Strait were up in arms, accusing Taiwanese of violence and so on. Very little mention, however, was made of the fact that a few days earlier, the same Zhang was issuing a threat against all Taiwanese who support independence. “There will be no war in the Taiwan Strait,” Zhang had said, “as long as Taiwan does not declare independence.” Tens of thousands of people, if not more, could die if China attacked Taiwan, and a top envoy made the threat explicit. And yet, Taiwanese had to apologize because Zhang could not manage to remain on his feet when a group of elderly Taiwanese surrounded him. Poor thing.

The same day Wu was calling on Taiwanese to be nice to Chen, a Taiwanese student in South Korea was reportedly being harassed by a group of Chinese for displaying the Nationalist flag at a Korean-language speech contest. For years, Taiwanese young and old have been harassed for showing the flag — that is, when they are actually allowed to do so. For years, Beijing has endangered the lives of Taiwanese by excluding Taiwan from regional and international organizations such as the WHO, ICAO, the IPCC and others. At a series of academic forums in Taipei last month, retired PLA generals and Chinese academics again threatened war and contended that the independence movement was “doomed” (hardly a nicety), and yet, we should remain hospitable.

How much longer will Taiwanese bend over backwards to be nice and hospitable to Chinese officials who through word and deed are doing the exact opposite? When will Taiwanese finally stand up and ask for the respect that they deserve?

7 comments:

Ben Goren said...

Duplicity doesn't quite sum it up. Bare faced cheek seems more appropriate. When will the Taiwanese stand up for themselves? When the middle aged and middle classes put their country before their wallets .. but then I suspect 400 years of colonisation has taught them to do the opposite.

Thomas said...

Wu's comment was stupid, and he knew it if the backtracking announcement made by his office after he said it. According to the Liberty Times, his office said that Wu really meant to say was that there were no advantages to seeking independence for Taiwan.

Hmmm.... idiots vs. no advantages. Do you believe that Wu simply misspoke? Me neither. One thing is for sure. Saturday's poll didn't make the bigwigs any less arrogant.

Anonymous said...

"Only idiots want Taiwan independence". How arrogant he is. My fellow Taiwanese, can you not see the real direction this administraion is leading this country to? Do you really want to go back to the old days when thugs can arrest you and make you disappear just because you don't agree with the government? Wake up and be proud of yourself.

Anonymous said...

if the ROC recaptured the mainland what would be the fate of Taiwan? of course Taiwan would have to be made part of ROC. so it's not that he wants Taiwan to be assimilated to China, but that these guys still think that they will someday govern all of China and that taiwan will be a province of china. i am not sure i buy into the manchurian candidate idea that kmt politicians are actively working for their PRC masters .. KMT politicians might just be caught in their own logic of one china...

Άλισον said...

I hope the next opinion poll to be conducted by any institution or media will include age and income group factors so that we can have a better picture of which group(s) of people in Taiwan are pro-independence and which are pro-wallet as Ben said.

I don't think I can accuse any particular age or income group(s) yet before I see some statistics.

About "Only idiots want Taiwan independence", if you want to find out how many percentage of Taiwanese are idiots, it's very simple. Since the status quo is shifting, why not just make the poll questions very simple and clear, choose between independence or unification, then you will find out how many percentage of people in Taiwan are idiots.

Anonymous said...

One can always ignore it when being called an idiot by a moron. The thing that worries me more is people who elect a moron as their leader and don't feel anthing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Everyone on the green side seems to forget that Taiwan already is independent.

Talking about "jostling" and justifying it by what Zhang said just goes to show that there is no real difference between the two sides in Taiwan politics. Both seek to justify their words and actions after the fact, no matter how removed that justification is from the actual situation. Saying that it wasn't assault & battery on Zhang is like saying Wu Den-yih never made the idiots comment.