On Nov. 12, the birthday of "founding father" Sun Yat-sen (孫中山), some people closely attached to the pan-blue camp, after paying their respects at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, laid portraits of Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) and Exam-ination Yuan member Lin Yu-ti (林玉体) on the ground and pelted them with eggs.
\nOn the same day, a bomb was placed near the Ministry of Education, and an old soldier cut his throat in protest over the recent dispute about ending Sun's status as "founding father."
\nLin and Tu's irresponsibly voiced proposals to remove questions about China's history and geography from the entry-level national civil service examinations and to modify senior high-school history materials to separate the history of Taiwan from that of China have sparked a conflagration in the pan-blue camp and made high-ranking pan-green officials anxious.
\nIn political reality, Taiwan and China are two hostile powers, but unlike most enemies, this is because China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, a status Tai-wan rejects. In this situation, talking about sovereignty or cultural independence in Taiwan is inevitable, especially as the government elected by its people has sufficient power to govern itself, whereas China has no jurisdiction over Taiwan at all.
\nChina's belief that talk in Taiwan of sovereignty and cultural independence is a slippery slope to independence is used as its rationale to criticize and threaten Taiwan.
\nThat Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state is a fact, and that its culture has its developmental uniqueness is also widely recognized. But Taiwan has been profoundly influenced by Chinese culture. Pro-independence people, and indeed all Taiwanese, read Chinese, speak Chinese, eat Chinese food and may also take Chinese traditional medicine.
\nCultural and political independence should be dealt with separately, but given an inability to demand political indepen-dence, some people instead make a big fuss over cultural independence. Superficially, this might seem to be aiding Taiwan independence, but in reality, it makes the whole situation worse.
\nIf you say that the nation's "founding father" is a foreigner, would you also regard Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan, (
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has over the past few months continued to escalate its hegemonic rhetoric and increase its incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. The US, in turn, has finally realized how its “strategic ambiguity” is increasingly wearing thin. Similarly, any hopes the US had that the PRC would be a responsible stakeholder and economic player have diminished, if not been abandoned. Taiwan, of course, remains as the same de facto independent, democratic nation that the PRC covets. As a result, the US needs to reconsider not only the amount, but also the type of arms
Taking advantage of my Taipei Times editors’ forbearance, I thought I would go with a change of pace by offering a few observations on an interesting nature topic, the many varieties of snakes in Taiwan. I will be drawing on my experiences living in Taiwan five times, from my teenage years in Kaohsiung back in the early sixties, to my last assignment as American Institute in Taiwan Director in 2006-9. Taiwan, with its semitropical climate, is a perfect setting for serpents. Indeed, one might say serpents are an integral part of the island’s ecosystem. Taiwan is warm, humid, with lots of
China constantly seeks out ways to complain about perceived slights and provocations as pretexts for its own aggressive behavior. It is both victimization paranoia and a form of information warfare that keeps the West on the defensive. True to form, China objected even to the innocuous reference to Taiwan at April 16’s summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Neither leader’s prepared remarks even mentioned Taiwan, out of deference to the Japanese side. Biden’s opening statement was modest: “Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for US-Japanese alliance and for our shared security.
Determined to keep a permanent grip on power, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has abandoned former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) dogma of “hiding our capacities and biding our time” along with the “peaceful development” line that prevailed under former Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). Instead, he is treading a “wolf warrior” path of diplomacy that resorts to coercion, debt entrapment and hostage-taking. Externally, Xi’s China has claimed that it would never seek hegemony, yet it challenges the free, rules-based international order wherever it can. While insisting that it will not export its ideology, it has