Last week, I was in Tokyo for an event marking the fifth anniversary of the Japan Uighur Association. While there, I met with World Uyghur Congress president Rebiya Kadeer, who was visiting Japan, and talked with her about visiting Taiwan.
Kadeer gave several talks while in Japan. During an international press conference in Tokyo, the topic that members of the foreign press were most concerned about was whether the handing over of power to China’s new leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), would provide any possibility for reform, as well as the current conditions of the Uighur people.
Kadeer said Uighur religion and culture still suffered major restrictions and that Uighurs continue to be killed and sentenced.
It is for comments like these that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have labeled her a “Xinjiang separatist.”
Therefore, although she is willing to enter into talks with the CCP to bring about reconciliation and consolidation, it still seems that this will be very hard to achieve.
Some of my like-minded friends recently established the Taiwan Friends of Uighurs, which, apart from concerning itself with the human rights situation of Uighurs, hopes that the CCP will carry out concrete reforms.
They also hope to remind the Taiwanese that if their nation fails to retain its sovereignty, it will end up in a similar situation to Xinjiang and any protest movement by the Taiwanese will be viewed as “terrorism.”
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) arrived in Taipei from New York last Sunday. Chen has had a remarkable life.
It is intriguing how he managed to escape from his home in Shandong, even when it was under full guard by CCP security officers, especially as the CCP was spending as much as 60 million yuan (US$9.77 million) a year on Chen in the way of “stability maintenance fees” and as much as 700 billion yuan a year on security across China.
On Tuesday, Chen delivered a speech in the legislature about how human rights should be the basis of cross-strait peace. Chen’s speech showed clearly that he has a much better understanding of what peace is than President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Ma has surrendered to China in exchange for peace, which will result in the CCP’s violent rule of Taiwan.
It is fitting to remember the peace treaty that Tibet signed with China back in 1951, which China ignored just a few years later.
The handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997 was part of another international agreement between China and, this time, the UK, which was submitted to the UN.
Now, China’s People’s Liberation Army guns can be seen pointed at Hong Kong’s affluent Central District, threatening Hong Kongers. It is no wonder that Chen said it is preferable to have legislators pushing each other around in the legislature than a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Just as Chen was delivering one of his speeches, opposition legislators were engaged in a shoving match with KMT legislators. Opposition party lawmakers were trying to stop the Ma government from making an arbitrary decision on the cross-strait service trade agreement and letting it automatically come into effect without consulting the public.
These legislators demanded that the agreement be reviewed and voted on clause by clause.
The service trade agreement will leave Taiwan wide open to China and have an impact on millions of Taiwanese.
However, the Ma administration has used back-room deals to sign the agreement with China. It has also used “cold violence” to strip the Taiwanese of their most basic rights.
Given this, it is not at all wrong for the public and legislators to use extreme methods to protest this situation.
Taiwanese cannot be like the Chinese, who have become slaves under thousands of years of traditional Confucian education.
We need to use the blood that pumps in our veins to get rid of this slave mentality, if we are serious about protecting the universal value of human rights.
If peaceful and rational protest does not work, and when sovereignty and human rights are in danger, because those in power use sinister means and violent suppression, all men and women should unite in stronger protest.
Further, if a person is not angered by unfair speech and events, and acts as if they never happened, I would say that that person does not have any human feelings whatsoever.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Drew Cameron