Amid overcast skies and a steady rain that fell for much of the afternoon, more than 200 Taiwanese converged on Times Square Saturday to call for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN, and to raise New Yorkers’ awareness of the island nation and its political struggles.
“If you want to love Taiwan, then you have to learn about Taiwan,” said Eric Tsai (蔡宗霖), 23, co-director of this year’s Keep Taiwan Free rally.
Tsai, who was born in California and grew up in Taiwan, said they also circulated two petitions among attendees: one to demand that Taiwan’s government amend a law requiring at least 50 percent voter turnout to pass a referendum, the other to ask that US Secretary of State John Kerry review the one-China policy recognizing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate representative of China.
Photo: Chris Fuchs
Since 1993, overseas Taiwanese in New York have participated in this annual rally, also attended by the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (台灣聯合國協進會). In the past, Tsai said, thousands of protesters would descend on the Manhattan streets outside the UN, which gave the island’s seat to the PRC in 1971.
Taiwan is one of only three countries not in the UN. The PRC has repeatedly blocked efforts by Taiwan to join, arguing that the nation, which it views as a breakaway province, is not a sovereign nation.
Photo: Chris Fuchs
Organizers chose to hold this year’s event in Times Square and did not march to the UN since the 69th General Assembly does not convene until Sept. 16, Tsai said. They were also hoping to attract a younger generation of Taiwanese to augment the ranks of older participants who have been active in this movement for decades, he said.
The dreary weather Saturday did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the three-hour rally. To keep the crowd energized, live bands performed on a makeshift stage, penned in by metal police barricades, and the Taiwanese American Association of New York (大紐約區台灣同鄉會) Santaizi (三太子) Troupe, dressed in colorful head-to-toe costumes of various gods and deities, strutted their stuff in front of smiling protesters waving yellow-and-black flags that read Keep Taiwan Free.
Photo: Chris Fuchs
This year’s event also helped educate everyday New Yorkers about Taiwan, organizers said. Dressed in Keep Taiwan Free t-shirts, many attendees lined up along the sidewalk barriers set up by police, handing out literature and flags to passersby as they made their way down 42 Street.
One participant, Melissa Daly, 23, said she made the trek in from nearby New Jersey with her friend Jenny Wang (汪采羿), her high school classmate, also 23, and the event’s other co-director. But Daly said she also has a personal investment in the movement — she is half-Taiwanese.
“When people think Taiwan is part of China, I always feel the need to say something,” said Daly, whose mother was born and raised in Taiwan.
Jason Chen, 23, also attended the rally after learning about it through his friend Daly. Like the others, Chen, whose parents are from Taiwan, echoed a similar sentiment that Taiwan should finally be allowed into the UN to join the international community of nations.
He also said he views himself as a cultural ambassador for Taiwan.
“When people ask, I try to be informative and paint a good picture of Taiwan and Taiwanese values,” Chen said.
In the long run, organizers explained, outreach to overseas Taiwanese and Americans alike is an important step toward countering the growing threat that China poses to this democratic island nation.
“It takes time,” Wang said. “But right now, we’re in Times Square. People are going to see this, and maybe they’ll Google it. It’s little events like this one that make a difference.”
South Korea has long been known for its manufacturing prowess, but the Netflix hit Squid Game is taking the country’s cultural clout to another level that augurs well for a new driver of economic growth. While Korean pop acts and TV dramas have been scoring hits overseas for years, only a handful — boy band BTS, for example — have managed to win many fans outside of Asia. Squid Game, set to become the most-watched show worldwide on Netflix, is changing all that. Building on the success of last year’s Oscar-winning film Parasite, the new Netflix show about indebted people fighting in
One of the things I learned early on in being a lifelong atheist is that, in the US, atheism requires a sustained, rocklike stubbornness in resisting the constant flow of pressure from public, performative Christianity. For people who hold nonconformist, evidence-driven, humanistic beliefs, being in the larger society often feels like being under that German soldier in that scene from Saving Private Ryan, stabbed to death inch by slow inch, while he whispers: “shhhh, shhhh.” That’s what it means to be pro-Taiwan. Those of us engaged in public speech about Taiwan, its international status, the threats it faces, and what kind of
Oct. 11 to Oct.17 After more than two decades of fighting the Japanese government for local autonomy, the “Taiwanese Lion” found himself running the show in 1950. The fiery political activist Yang Chao-chia (楊肇嘉) was a 58-year-old public servant by then, serving as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) minister of civil affairs. His nemesis, the Japanese colonial government had left at the end of World War II, and the new government had tasked him with running Taiwan’s first direct mayoral and county magistrate elections. Yang started his career as an activist pushing for a Taiwanese representative assembly in the Japanese Diet.
Courtney Donovan Smith isn’t the kind of person you’d expect to have dirt under his fingernails. Yet between 2011 and 2018, Smith — who’s both a businessman and a political commentator — nurtured and enjoyed a rooftop garden that covered more than 200 square meters. Well known in Taichung circles as co-publisher of Compass, a bilingual city guide, and a frequent contributor to ICRT’s news programs, Smith started the garden soon after he moved in to a two-floor apartment in the city’s Situn District (西屯). “I got a few plants and put a table and some chairs on one of the two