Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Who is new center for?

The Republic of China (ROC) national flag has once again been raised in the US, this time at 10:10am on April 18, at the opening of the Chinese Culture Center in Milpitas, California, of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco.

We all remember that Representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) caused a lot of trouble on Jan. 1 when he raised the ROC flag on behalf of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington at the Twin Oaks Estate. We will have to wait to see what the impact will be this time.

Outgoing San Francisco TECO Director-General Bruce Fuh (傅正綱), the host that day, credited the ROC government for funding the building of the cultural center and the volunteers from the local community who completed the project. He said he hoped the new center would provide more and better services for overseas Chinese and encouraged the compatriots using the center to connect Taiwan with Silicon Valley.

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) sent a video message saying that he hoped the new center will carry out the Taiwanese concept of cultural statehood and cultural rejuvenation to promote Taiwan’s visibility in the world.

California State Assembly Member Evan Low (羅達倫) said that California has attracted a lot of Taiwanese Americans and he expected the new center to be a bridge to promote cultural exchanges between the US and Taiwan, while Kansen Chu (朱感生), another state assembly member, expressed pride in being an immigrant from Taiwan, but identified himself as an overseas Chinese.

It was very confusing to listen to the remarks from the host and VIP guests. Does the newly remodeled center belong to the Chinese or the Taiwanese, to China or Taiwan? What is the ROC? Is it not known as China? How come there is ROC Taiwan? Does it mean that Taiwan belongs to China? Who paid for it? Who is the owner of the building?

The center was purchased in 2008, but due to management inexperience and other unknown reasons, it took more than seven years to remodel the building. It was originally scheduled to be opened late last year. Now, it is officially open to the public and the bill has been footed by Taiwanese taxpayers.

However, Fuh credited it to the ROC government without mentioning Taiwanese taxpayers. Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Steven Chen (陳士魁) said the center is the home of overseas Chinese, and he of course included Taiwanese as Chinese.

However, Taiwanese are not Chinese.

There is a big fuss every year about Taiwanese taxpayers’ money being spent to serve overseas Chinese. The official name of the OCAC is the Overseas Community Affairs Council, but under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) it has always worked as the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission. And the official name on the billboard shows “Chinese Culture Center of TECO in San Francisco,” rather than the Taiwanese Culture Center.

The Chinese Culture Center is flying the ROC flag on US land and Taiwanese taxpayers paid for it.

Is that acceptable by US federal law or California state law? Why was it rejected in Washington, but was acceptable in Milpitas? Will it be acceptable to Taiwanese taxpayers that OCAC serves only overseas Chinese and not Taiwanese?

If not, fix it.

Taiwan cloaked in the ROC jacket is dead and going nowhere.

John Hsieh

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