Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Vote for a US-friendly candidate

New York City was imbued with Taiwanese flavors earlier this month: The New York Mets’ annual “Taiwan Day” celebration at Citi Field was held on Sept. 7 to much fanfare, with tens of thousands of baseball fans shouting: “Let’s go Mets — let’s go Taiwan,” while at noon that day, nearly 1,000 supporters of Taiwan took to the streets of Manhattan on a 4.8km march, chanting: “Keep Taiwan free,” as they campaigned for the UN’s inclusion of Taiwan and championed other appeals.

The Mets’ “Taiwan Day” celebrates Taiwanese cultural heritage and is the longest-running, largest-scale celebration of Taiwan held by any of the 30 major league teams. Featuring art performances, promotional commercials and family activities, the event generates real curiosity about Taiwan.

Since the first celebration in 2005, renowned Taiwanese — including Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (李安), director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮), tennis player Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳) and Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) — have been invited to toss the ceremonial first pitch.

This year, the first pitch was thrown by Internet celebrity and YouTube host Tsai A-ga (蔡阿嘎).

Taiwanese immigrants first began to settle in the Flushing area of the borough of Queens — where the Mets’ ballpark is located — in the 1970s. As they traded, opened shops and started banks, the neighborhood became known as “Little Taipei” or “Little Taiwan.” Since then, media outlets have been established and a Taiwan Center founded.

Later, as Chinese immigrants settled there, Flushing became more prosperous and greater in scope than the city’s historic Chinatown in Manhattan.

The Mets’ celebration grew out of this immigrant context — the event is not only about sports, but also about business and culture. It aims to pay homage to the home country of Taiwanese-Americans, who have contributed so much to the community.

The Manhattan march has been an annual show of support for Taiwan for nearly 30 years, but this year’s rally bore greater significance. Originally held to show support for Taiwan’s participation in the UN, the march has evolved into a reaction against the oppressive Chinese government, as Beijing has been violently suppressing dissidents and persecuting its own people.

In Hong Kong, a proposed anti-extradition bill sparked mass protests by pro-democracy advocates striving for freedom and human rights. The demonstrations, going into their fourth month, have drawn worldwide attention and the Manhattan march grew into an event to show support not only for Taiwan, but also for the oppressed in China, such as Hong Kongers, Uighurs and Tibetans.

Frances Hui (許穎婷), a former member of pro-democracy campaign group Scholarism, traveled from Boston to participate in the rally. The 19-year-old student, who is now studying journalism at Emerson College, wrote an opinion piece titled “I am from Hong Kong, not China” for her school’s newspaper, the Berkeley Beacon, in April.

The article immediately sparked an outcry among Chinese students, but Hui remained undeterred. With the changing of Hong Kong’s situation, she took the initiative in launching rallies to show support for Hong Kong in the Boston area.

At this year’s Manhattan march, Hui urged the public to understand the deceptive nature of the “one country, two systems” framework and called on Hong Kongers and Taiwanese to collaborate in safeguarding democracy and freedom.

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