Thu, Jul 04, 2013 - Page 8 News List


Television the real monster

I congratulate the Taipei Times for the 82 Facebook likes the editorial “Smartphones are making us dumber” (June 26, page 8) had received as of Saturday.

This is no mean feat.

However, the piece ignores the historical context. What did previous generations do with their spare time before the proliferation of smartphones? They zapped through TV channels.

From the 1960s to the 2000s society did not do much else apart from sit on the sofa starring at the box, passively soaking up content created by others.

In better-off countries, a family of four would have typically had four TV sets running in four separate rooms on any given evening. Social interaction: zero or very little.

Fast-forward to the smartphone age. At least the “zombies” described in the editorial do something. They interact and maybe create content, however silly.

Television is the monster, not the smartphone.

Jens Kastner


The truth about Taiwan

At the fourth “Witness Taiwan Democracy” forum on Saturday, Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) criticized those who assert that Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China (ROC) and that the ROC is Taiwan. He quoted former US secretary of state Colin Powell’s statement: “There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy,” made on Oct. 25, 2004, in China.

Hau told the audience that Taiwan is not an independent, sovereign country, but he seriously misled them by then saying that no one in the world would say that the ROC is not a sovereign country.

Hau, like most Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians, twists Taiwan’s status by metaphorically wearing a two-sided jacket, one side labeled ROC and the other Taiwan. When abroad, they have no hesitation in abusing Taiwanese goodwill, but when they return home they reverse the jacket to show the ROC side.

If Hau paid any attention to international affairs he would remember that Dennis Wilder, White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs, on Aug. 30, 2007, said: “Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is not at this point a state in the international community. The position of the United States government is that the ROC, Republic of China, is an issue undecided, that it has been left undecided, as you know, for many, many years.”

Hau should remember that the ROC is not a member of the UN. It is crystal clear that the international community believes the ROC is an exiled government, not a sovereign country.

No one questioned that Taiwan was part of Japan’s territory during World War II and after the war Japan renounced all rights, titles and claims to Formosa and the Pescadores.

Taiwan came under Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) military occupation from Oct. 25, 1945. The ROC left the UN in 1972 and the US downgraded it as the governing authority on Taiwan within the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. Today, the ROC is an exiled government relying on Taiwan to keep it alive.

As far as the development of Taiwan’s democracy is concerned, it is important to understand the truth and facts, not the twisted rhetoric. Yes, Taiwan is not a sovereign nation, nor is the ROC. Yes, Taiwan is not independent yet, but Taiwanese are entitled to delayed self-determination.

John Hsieh

Hayward, California

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