Norwegian massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik obviously knows less than he thinks he does about Taiwan, or he wouldn’t hold it up as a model of monoculturalism, a problematic and highly improbable political philosophy to begin with.
In a 1,500-page manifesto that he e-mailed before he allegedly detonated a car bomb in Oslo and gunned down dozens of young people on an idyllic island, Breivik repeatedly referred to Taiwan’s so-called anti-immigration policies as a model for Europe, lumping this nation with Japan and South Korea and praising their adherence to racial purity.
What a farce.
Breivik knows little about the dynamic in Asia. If you were to put a Filipino, a Chinese, a Japanese, an Indonesian, a South Korean and a Thai next to each other, Breivik would likely applaud the group for keeping its racial identity pure.
Breivik, in his hate for anybody not European, not Christian and not white, looked around the world for superficial examples that would support his warped vision of reality. Somehow he lit upon Taiwan, maybe because it does have somewhat stricter immigration policies than some Western countries.
However, these policies do not make this nation a monoculturalist society. In Taiwan at the moment, there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners. The majority of them come from Southeast Asia and China. Tens of thousands of cross-cultural marriages are now providing one of the most reliable sources of newborn babies in a nation that has a plummeting birthrate.
Although foreigners from all over the world — Westerners, Africans, Asians and South Americans — might find it difficult to become Republic of China citizens, they have the right to look for employment, gain residence and eventually gain permanent residency. They are allowed to own property and invest in businesses. Calling Taiwan a country that maintains racial purity is a gross misunderstanding of the facts.
When was Taiwan ever a racially pure nation? Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), in his rambling way — saying Taiwan possessed a “juicy culture” — had a point: Taiwan has absorbed the cultures of many parts of the world. First there were the Aboriginal tribes, then an inflow of Han Chinese, many of whom married Aborigines. The Han were followed by Dutch and Spanish influences, then more waves of Chinese, not all of whom spoke the same language. Taiwan was then colonized by the Japanese, who left many imprints in the culture and society, before the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) brought yet another version of Chinese culture that allowed and encouraged Taiwanese to embrace aspects of US culture.
What Taiwan has been left with is a fairly vibrant culture that is abundantly open and friendly to outsiders, and readily incorporates aspects of foreign cultures. This is far different from the monoculturalist society that Breivik envisioned, and that’s before mentioning the mix of religions found in this nation: animist, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian and Muslim.
Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are safe, comfortable places to live, not because their societies restrict foreign influences, but because their societies have inculcated a good set of morals into their people.
Breivik was looking around for an excuse to justify his murderous rampage and hopes to find modern-day examples of some mythical racist society he believes Nazi Germany could have created. It would be best if he didn’t look to Taiwan, because this place is nothing like what he envisions. In fact, it’s unlikely his ideal for a country exists anywhere on this planet.
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
In 1955, US general Benjamin Davis Jr, then-commander of the US’ 13th Air Force, drew a maritime demarcation line in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line. Under pressure from the US, Taiwan and China entered into a tacit agreement not to cross the line. On July 9, 1999, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) described cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state” relationship. In response, Beijing dispatched People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into the Taiwan Strait, crossing the median line for the first time since 1955. The PLA has begun to regularly traverse the line. On Sept. 18 and 19, it
Midday in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 16, was sunny and mild. Even with the pandemic’s “social distancing” it was a perfect day for “al fresco” dining with linen tablecloths and sidewalk potted palms outside one of New York City’s elegant restaurants. Two members of the press, outfitted with digital SLR cameras and voice recorders, were dispatched by The Associated Press to cover a rare outdoor diplomatic meeting on one of these New York streets. American diplomat Kelly Craft, Chief of the United States Mission to the United Nations, lunched in the open air with Taiwan’s ambassador-ranked representative in New York, James