Shortly after the melee in Tainan on Tuesday, in which China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) was besieged by pro-independence protesters, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said: “It is not our way to treat guests with violence,” while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) labeled Zhang as unfriendly to Taiwan, adding that: “No one can tolerate seeing one’s enemy.”
So what does Zhang represent for Taiwan — is he friend, or foe? The record speaks for itself.
On June 28, 2001, Zhang, then spokesman of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said: “It is dangerous for Taiwan to include the word ‘Taiwan’ on its passport.”
On Sept. 26, 2001, he said: “It is the general trend and people’s yearning that the Taiwan issue soon be resolved, with the goal of a unified China … the issue of Taiwan cannot be delayed indefinitely.”
On Nov. 26, 2003, on the eve of the vote on the Referendum Law (公民投票法) in Taiwan, Zhang said: “We oppose the Taiwan authority’s attempt to use the legislation of a referendum to engage in separatist movement and pave the way for independence … we will react strongly if an unlimited referendum law is passed.”
On May 24, 2004, he said: “We will smash the separatist schemes of the Taiwanese independence movement at all costs.”
Despite his views on Taiwan, physical assault cannot be justified. Taiwan is a country of laws and brooks no violence to achieve political objectives.
Thousands of Chinese have visited Taiwan since July 4, when policies allowing a greater number of Chinese to enter the country were implemented. Not once have we heard reports of Chinese being assaulted verbally or physically by their hosts.
Zhang, therefore, was the exception, and the reason he was targeted has far more to do with his track record on Taiwan than blind hatred for Chinese.
Prior to the melee on Tuesday, Zhang was asked by reporters to comment on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) remarks that “no war across the Taiwan Strait [would break out] in the next four years.” His response was the following: “There will be no war if there is no Taiwan independence.”
Aside from its arrogance, the comment also represented a deadly threat to all Taiwanese who seek independence for their country.
Shortly after the incident, ARATS filed a formal letter of protest “strongly condemning a barbaric action of violence,” while the Presidential Office, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Cabinet officials also condemned the act. Less than 12 hours after the incident, Tainan City Police Bureau Commissioner Chen Fu-hsiang (陳富祥) was demoted to the post of deputy director-general of the National Highway Police Bureau.
Contrast this efficient condemnation of violence with the Presidential Office’s response to the physical attacks on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (許世楷) by Su An-sheng (蘇安生) earlier this year.
It took the administration three days to utter a word.
One might wonder whether condemnation of violence hinges not on whether the victim is friend or foe, but rather whether he or she is Chinese or Taiwanese.
Liberal democracy and communist autocracy are at the initial stages of a historic battle. Taipei has chosen its side in this fight and has sought to frame “cross-strait relations” as an international issue, while Beijing says that Taiwan is an “internal issue” and a hangover from the Chinese Civil War. Taiwan’s status as a nation has new clarity and the international community is beginning to defend Taiwan’s democracy. The Washington Post has praised Taiwan’s diplomatic achievements and Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has said that it would be inconceivable for Australia not to join Taiwan and the US in a conflict with
At a time when China continues its assertive policy toward its neighboring countries, the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bhutan last month to resolve a longstanding border dispute. However, this is not the first time China and Bhutan have taken such efforts on this issue. Over the years, China has expanded its claim over territory in Bhutan. China claims over 764km2 of Bhutan’s territory, which includes Doklam, Sinchulung, Dramana and Shakhatoe in the northwestern region and the Pasamlung and Jakarlung Valleys in the central part of Bhutan. Although the two sides held
Among the voices expressing concern for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai (彭帥) over the past two weeks, one was barely audible — that of her long-time former doubles partner Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇). Following their defeat in the WTA Finals championship match in Mexico on Nov. 18, Taiwan’s Hsieh and her Belgian partner Elise Mertens fielded questions via a Zoom call. Chinese state media had just released an incredibly suspicious e-mail, purportedly from Peng, and Canadian tennis Web site Open Court broached the issue. With the entire tennis world chiming in, seeking Hsieh’s opinion seemed obvious. However, the Web site’s reporter prefaced her question
At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Central Committee, held earlier this month, attendees passed the “Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party Over the Past Century.” The resolution divides the CCP’s rule of China into three historical phases. The first phase was led by Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who enabled Chinese to “stand up.” The second phase occurred during the tenure of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), who enabled China to “become rich.” The third phase began with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who