Sunday, April 6, 2014

What a 14 year old student in Taipei thinks about the Sunflower Movement

The following was written by a junior high school second year student in Taipei. 
(Name withheld)
The question isn’t exactly if China will invade Taiwan or not.  China has already decided to try and "reclaim the break away province" that is not the break away province.  One thing I want to make clear is that Taiwan is an entirely different country and we have always been a different people.  We are Taiwanese, not a kind of Chinese.  It's not like we are a break away province trying to gain freedom, we were here BEFORE China even noticed us.  Anyways Taiwan's history before China tried to control us is pretty complicated so I won't go into detail about that.
Before I keep going, I'll have to give an explanation on what the KMT are.  In the 1900s Chang Kai Shek and Mao Zhe Dong were both leaders fighting to get power of China.  Chang Kai Shek lost and fled to the island of Taiwan to get away from Mao.  Now don't get me wrong, he was not fighting for freedom in China, he just wanted the power for himself.  The reason these two people are fighting is because they want the powers for themself.  Okay now that (I think) I've gotten that straight I'll move on.  When Chang Kai Shek came to Taiwan he established a dictatorship here.  Don't believe what most textbooks say about him, he was not a nice guy trying to help out Taiwan.  Yes, he was not a communist, but he was a fascist and that's almost the same thing.  He called himself "general" but in reality he was a dictator.  He killed many thousands of innocent people and put Taiwan under martial law.  So this is the guy that led the KMT or Kuomintang. This is the political party that likes Chang Kai Shek, wants China to take over Taiwan, and doesn't want Taiwan to be a democracy.
So coming back to present time.  Unfortunately in 2008 people were not thinking of that and voted for Ma Eng Jioh the guy that is chairman of the KMT party.  (I know many people who didn't, but there were a lot of people who were drawn in by his nice speeches and promises of good stuff, kind of like what happened with Obama.  There are also people who just care about power and money that would vote for him.  It is also possible that there were some fraud votes.) Now that he's in office and has the power, he's been trying to get Taiwan to become part of China.  It wasn't really happening very well (at least it was happening very slowly) until the following happened: The KMT signed a trade tract with China.  Let me explain more about this pact before I go on.
Sounds fair, it might even benefit Taiwan, right?  This doesn't sound really bad, does it? At first, maybe, but let me give you the details.  It's like the "Trojan Horse" of China.  Normally trade pacts should take YEARS to look over and discuss, ESPECIALLY with a communist country like China.  Not this time, the way that the pact was passed was very sneaky.  They met to supposedly "discuss" the trade pact but instead they "discussed" for 30 seconds then suddenly said, "Okay, it's passed."  You have to start wondering about that, don't you?  Before I go on I need to give more about the details of the trade pact.  First of all, China has 1600 missiles pointed at us.  Do you really negotiate a "real" trade pact with a country that has missiles pointed at you?  Secondly, this is not just trading food or different material, this is allowing workers from China to flood into Taiwan and work in major industries.  Again, at first this doesn't sound bad.  But think a little bit longer.  So a Chinese worker eventually owns a Taiwanese industry and everything seems fine.  Then, since he's the boss, he can eventually tell all the Taiwanese workers to leave and that he just wants his own Chinese workers, making less work for Taiwanese and more work for Chinese.  It’s starting to sound bad, right?  Here's another thing.  All businessmen that have been here for 6 years can vote.  Well that means that they are going to vote for the KMT, and since there are so many of them then there isn't a chance that the people who want democracy and oppose the KMT will have enough votes.  It's a slower process than an immediate invasion, but it slowly floods out all the Taiwanese and makes Taiwan overrun with Chinese.  As the Chinese make more work and slowly take over higher positions, Taiwan is basically gone.  This is exactly the same thing that happened to Hong Kong.  Did you know that some of Taiwan's biggest supporters are people from Hong Kong?  They went through this exact same thing and realize what will happen to Taiwan if we pass the pact.  Hong Kong actually wasn't Chinese; they were Cantonese.
So now that I'm done with the trade pact, I'll get to what's going on now.  So many people were outraged at this trade pact because we felt like Ma was betraying Taiwan.  (Well, he was.)  On March 18th, 300 students gathered together and got in to occupy the Legislative Yuan (the Congress Building) where the pact was going to be signed.  Before I go on let me get something straight: These students are clean, organized, and most importantly entirely peaceful.  They take care of their trash and even started cleaning off graffiti.  The protest they are doing is called “civil disobedience.”  We were so happy that they took the initiative to do this because we would not have known what to do.  Anyway the police tried to get in several times but failed.  So the police took to not letting anyone out and not letting anyone in.  Well to show their support, more then 10,000 people came, sat, and are still sitting around the Legislative Yuan where the students are inside.  Right now even more people have gone to sit there and show support.  The president, Ma, has refused to talk to the students and is totally ignoring us.  In fact, they are still trying to get the pact passed even though they can't go to do it at the building. Well after a while another group of people went to occupy the presidential cabinet building.  This time, Ma sent riot police to go and kick them out of the area.  Imagine, riot police!  These students were just peacefully sitting there!  Well they got in, beat the students until many were bleeding, and set the water cannons on them.  It was so sad to hear the sirens going down the street.  (We live pretty close to the parliament building.)
Then a rally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, March 30th, 1-7 PM for all to show support to the students and want Taiwan to be a free democracy.  Everyone wore black to signify the "black box" (or in the USA the expression means "behind closed doors") in which the pact was made and brought sunflowers that signified hope and transparency to all.  Guess what?  700,000 people came!  I was at the rally; there could easily have been that many people.  They covered so many streets and almost everyone couldn't hear the speeches being made because there were too many people that we couldn't get to the stage.  It was amazing!  That was around a week ago.
Well now, our president and the KMT are still ignoring us.  I mean, ignoring 700,000 people??  They are still doing their best to ignore us and, unfortunately, they have the wealth and power to do that.  Ma wants to arrest the students now and they're still trying to get the trade pact passed.  That is where the prayers are needed now.
OK, now where the USA comes in is that first of all, there is hardly anything on the news over there about a rally that had 700,000 people fighting for democracy.  All that's really being reported is stuff that China reports on, which, of course, is mostly lies because they want to cover up all that they are doing (Like beating up peaceful and unarmed students until they are bleeding).  So while Taiwan is struggling for democracy and freedom, the news in the USA is showing Michelle Obama doing some tour in China... it's like they want to “get good” with communist China and aren't paying attention to a struggling democracy.  Well, I hope that explains what’s going on over here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Urgent: Riot Police reported at the Legislative Yuan

UPDATE: For those who are not aware, here is a link to a live video feed to the protest areas around the legislative building:  

If you can, go the the Legislative Yuan now to be a witness (April 4, 2014). Riot police have surrounded the place. The students need our support.  If anyone gets confirmation or further updates of what is happening, please post it in the comments section.

The riot police have assembled at the Parliament building. Looks like they will move towards the 300 students tonight. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Taiwan’s Very Own Boston Tea Party

An Open Letter to the People of the United States of America

Why does the USA ignore Taiwan? Many American friends have asked, “Why haven’t we heard anything about what’s going on in Taiwan?”

1) A lot of USA media gets their China/Taiwan related news from China-controlled sources. China and the KMT doesn't want to draw international attention and both work tirelessly to feed propaganda to the world.

2) America, a former beacon of democracy, has in recent decades, sycophantically kissed up to communist China and ignored democratic Taiwan. America has forgotten its democratic roots and ideals. The US administration would rather 'get in good' with a socialist state which continues to commit horrific human rights crimes than support one of the most democratic nations in Asia.

On March 18, Taiwan’s ruling party KMT joined forces with China to turn over Taiwan’s economy to China’s control. If China controlled Taiwan’s economy, it would only be a matter of time before Taiwan’s 23 million people fell to China’s communist rule. As hundreds of students in civil disobedience began an unprecedented occupation of Taiwan’s Parliament, and as tens of thousands of Taiwanese gathered outside its Parliament to support the protest, America’s media reported only of Mrs. Obama’s ‘cultural exchange’ tour in China. We, Taiwanese, can only sadly note that recent American administrations no longer resemble the heroes of democracy we have all so admired in US history.

My hope is this: That there still shines a beacon of democracy somewhere within the people of America. Here we are on the battlefield in Taiwan, staging our very own Boston Tea Party against the powerful KMT/China coalition. But for us this time, the stakes are not ‘taxation without representation.‘ What is at stake is the forever loss of our democratic nation to communist China. And if our beloved nation of 23 million falls, it will not only be our own loss, but a loss to the entire free world.

Would you stand with us? Would you support our fight for democracy and freedom from China’s rule?

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke.

Praying for courage, for Americans and Taiwanese alike,

Judy Linton (Taiwanese American living in Taipei)

On 3/30, rallies will take place all across the world’s major cities. Locations and times listed below.

To understand more why a ‘mere trade-agreement’ would lead to China’s eventual take over of Taiwan, check out:

To see why Taiwan’s future affects the USA, these 2 articles touch on the issue:
1) What Would America do if China Invaded Taiwan?
2) From A Ukrainian Winter to a Taiwan Spring

Please consider showing your support:

New York, US  15:30
Boston, US
Washington, Pennsylvania,US  2014/3/28
North Carolina, US
Pittsburgh, US
Texas, US  13:30
Michigan, US
Seattle, US
San Diego, US 13:00
Los Angeles, US  14:00
San Francisco, US 2014/3/29 13:00
Southern California, US  14:00
St. Louis, US
Oregon, US  15:00
Chicago, US  14:00
Dunedin, NZ 14:00
Auckland, NZ
Sydney, AU
Brisbane, AU 15:00
Canberra, AU
Melbourne, AU 14:00
Cairns, AU 16:00
Adelaide, AU 15:30
Tokyo, JP 14:00:
Kyoto, JP 14:00
Fukuoka, JP  14:00
Seoul, SK  13:00 mob)
Busam,SK 13:00 mob)
Manila, PH 17:30
Hong Kong 13:00
Milan, IT 10:30
Vienna, AT 13:00
Berlin,GE 14:00
Frankfurt, GE  13:30
Amsterdam, NL 15:00
Paris,FR  14:00
Toulouse, FR 14:00
Strasbourg, FR 14:00
LONDON, UK  13:00
Dublin, IE 10:00
Stockholm, SE
Barcelona, ES 16:00
Valencia, ES 12:00
Madrid, ES 2014/3/29 11:30
Lake Zurich, CH 14:00
Brussels, BE 14:30
Vancouver, CA 2014/3/29 16:00
Montreal, CA 15:00
Toronto, CA  2014/3/29 17:30
Calgary, CA 12:00

To Effect Lasting Change ... Remember November

This email from Jerome Keating:

"The protests continue and the Ma government tries to either stonewall them, ignore them or even use their spin-doctors to claim the students are the violent ones.

But while all this is important; it is also time to remember this in the future. I have witnessed too many protests in Taiwan where people protested, felt good and went home. Only to have to get out and protest again after they were stonewalled and nothing changed.

A big protest is being planned for Sunday, but change will only come at the ballot box. Everyone needs to mark their calendars for November 29, and put this reminder there. "Remember all that Taiwan went through, and in particular the Sunflower Revolution, Don't let it be in vain."

Read the following to remind you and spread the word.
Taipei Times editorial 3/28/2014

An excellent video about the Sunflower Movement to share with those unfamiliar with Taiwan.

There is one thing not accurately portrayed in the video: the comparison between Hong Kong and Taiwan is too simplified. Hong Kong was never self-governing. It was leased by the Manchurian Empire to Britain for 99 years. Taiwan is completely self-governing and has never been ruled by China.

Taiwan is the original homeland of the Austronesian peoples. Its east coast has remained free for thousands of years (Taiwan is the Austronesian homeland) even when its west and north were successively governed by the Dutch, Spanish, the Cheng Kingdom, and then finally the Manchurian Empire. Taiwan's west coast was under nominal Manchurian rule over several centuries, but that ended when the Manchurian Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity in 1895. (In 1895, Taiwan's people declared a Republic of Formosa and with a president and cabinet but it was quickly crushed by Japanese troops.)

Meanwhile across the strait in China in 1911, the Chinese finally overthrew the foreign-rule of the Manchurian empire in China and established a republic in China that quickly turned into a dictatorship. But Taiwan had no part in that because it was part of the Japanese Empire.

After World War II, the Allied Powers took over Taiwan and in 1951, Japan relinquished its claim to Taiwan without designating China as a successor state. Taiwan should have been free at that point, but the U.S. allowed the Republic of China dictatorship to flee to Taiwan when they lost the war in China. They quickly seized control of Taiwan and suppressed the Taiwanese' people's right to self determination. It was not until 1996 that there was a full-fledged democracy in Taiwan. But the Communist government of China has never ruled Taiwan and has no right to claim Taiwan or annex it. Phrases like "break-away province" or "the two sides-split amidst a civil war" are incorrect and misleading propaganda that gets parroted by the international media.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Profile Pics to Declare Your Solidarity with the Taiwan Sunflower Student Movement

Immediately after the violent removal of occupiers of the Executive Yuan, facebook users began to declare their solidarity with the students by turning their facebook profile pictures black. So in addition to the sunflower symbols, due to the violence. The black also represents the "black box" hidden closed door's negotiations, the opposite of the sunflower's image of democratic openness and transparency, operating in the daylight.

Following are some other facebook profile images used to express solidarity with the students' demands.

A Plea from Taiwan: Update 1

UPDATE 1 (Students occupy Parliament week 1):

The students occupied the Parliament for five long days before President Ma made a statement to the press and the Premier met with the student leader. The Premier was sneering and the President repeated his usual line of how the Pact would improve Taiwan’s economy. Neither one addressed the students’ demands nor did they acknowledge that they had violated democratic processes.

On that evening, thousands of protestors went to a second location and occupied the Presidential Cabinet grounds. Some students managed to enter the actual building. Aside from damage to the main doors and two broken windows, there were no other signs of damage to the building. There was no vandalism. The already occupied Parliament Building is under the Speaker’s jurisdiction but this Cabinet Building is under the jurisdiction of the President. Although the students had to wait over 100 hours to hear a non-statement from the President, it took only a matter of 2 hours for the President to give orders to “use whatever means to remove the protestors.” 600 riot police and several hundred more officers gathered along with water cannon trucks. 

Most students began to sit down and huddle together, innocently believing that as long as they themselves remained peaceful, the police would not hurt them. But the police kept lining up and pushing and tensions escalated. An acquaintance of mine was trying to escort an elderly lady to safer grounds when a policeman yelled at the lady, “This is not your business, old lady, go home!”

The old lady replied, “I’m not here for myself. I’m here for them and their future!” at which point she started weeping, and all the students around her got teary-eyed.

All TV stations and journalists were ordered to leave the area. Once the media presence left, the riot police (with their badge numbers intentionally hidden) descended on the students, beating them with batons and hitting their legs with their shields. It is ironic that these police even had their shields with them since the students were completely unarmed and in passive postures. My friends and I simply cried as we watched these events unfold over facebook. 

Smartphones captured footages of police brutally beating defenseless students while onlookers screamed in chorus, “Stop hitting us! Stop hitting us!” Many students were weeping and asking the police, “Why is the government treating us this way?” By dawn, with the final sweeping of the water cannons, the Cabinet grounds were cleared. No measures were taken to evict those at the Parliament Building, where 300 still remain securely barricaded, with thousands of supporters gathered outside.

We couldn’t believe it. The use of such violent force on our dear passive students. I’ve tried to share a few video footages but all these footages keep mysteriously disappearing from facebook and youtube, no matter how many times the post is reposted. It is really eerie to know that censorship is already happening here. (The censorship has been confirmed to be linked to a Pro-China media company and ‘opinion monitors.’ Beijing (and maybe Taiwan?) employs people whose job all day long is to delete social media messages it deems harmful.)

 My friends and I have not had much sleep. When we meet, we pray and strategize and sometimes choke back tears. Our hearts ache as we grieve the pending loss of our beloved homeland. We pray God will give us wisdom to know how to proceed.

In some ways, the sun still rises and sets. As I’m typing, people are going about their business and I can hear children’s sounds coming from a nearby park. A lot of people here actually don’t really know what’s going on. What the TV stations report is completely different from what is happening at the scene. The media continues to smear the students as an ‘unruly mob,’ with cameras zooming in on supposed overturned furniture or vandalism. (One reporter was actually spotted to be overturning a trash can herself so as to make the scene look more chaotic.) The hourly news shows practically no footages of police brutality. The students interviewed on TV somehow all seem to be confused and incapable of articulating what they are protesting. (Contrast this to a journalist’s interview with the student leader barricaded inside the Parliament: The View from Taiwan)

You have to wonder, why aren’t the talk shows inviting leading Taiwan economists and businessmen to discuss their views on this trade agreement? Or invite top university professors who have written papers on this Pact to discuss their views? Or better yet, why not do a thorough investigative reporting of the current state of affairs in Hong Kong, which signed a similar Pact with China just ten years ago? Nope. The TV stations day in and day out report the same smear campaign towards the students, and that kind of propaganda is what millions of Taiwanese watch all - day - long.

The morning after the police crack down on the protesters, just when our hearts were still breaking over the violence done to our students, a morning talk show somehow neglected to interview student protesters, and instead interviewed the Deputy Interior Minister, whose office at the Cabinet was supposedly entered by students during their momentary occupation. Besides scolding the students, he also complained that the students ate the biscuits which were on his desk. In light of all that’s happened, with millions of Taiwanese around the world shedding bitter tears, this man is talking ‘biscuits.’ Just a clear illustration that these governing officials really have zero connection to the people of Taiwan.

(Side note: A doctor and his friends pooled together $1000 USD and bought 150 boxes of biscuits (1500 biscuits) and had them delivered directly to the Cabinet Building attention Deputy Interior Minister. The enclosed note reads:
“Since we sympathize with those students at the hospitals suffering through the painful process of recovery, a group of us online have decided to repay the students’ debt. These 1500 delicious biscuits are all for you. Because we are all peaceful reasoning respectable citizens, we always return what we’ve borrowed. Thanks to Deputy Interior Minister for your biscuits!” 
I tell you, as our hearts feel so downcast and powerless nowadays, we need a little levity now and then...)
A nice non-Taiwanese Christian once told me, “Well, if China took over Taiwan, then I’d just share the Gospel with them.” My dear, if China took over Taiwan, you’d be put in jail for sharing the Gospel with them! If China took over Taiwan, 23 million people would lose their freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to petition, to assemble, etc. etc. By the way, for those of you reading this on facebook... facebook is banned in China.

It has been one week now since the students occupied Taiwan’s Parliament. Taiwan’s ruling party KMT has joined forces with China to turn Taiwan’s economy over to China. If this Cross-Straits Trade Agreement gets passed, Taiwan will eventually fall to communist China. Yes, I know, it wouldn’t be as immediate as a military invasion. It would take, oh, maybe a couple of decades more or less. But it would still be certain death.

So for now, President Ma and the KMT simply wait, expecting that the students will get tired and give up. Once our fervor wanes and our attention turns elsewhere, then they can surreptitiously pass the agreement under the table. How long can the students hold out at the Parliament? Should we just yield to our tiredness and give in, or should we persevere?

- Judy Linton

"The wise and magnanimous patriot, by forecasting the distant but certain dangers of his country, affects himself in advance with a zeal and grief and desire, as ardent as those which duller souls can feel under the actual experience of the present calamity. It is this anticipative passion, kindled through the imagination, which nerves his soul to prepare, to watch, to strive, to bleed for his country's defense, while others are as yet unconcerned, and are perhaps accusing him of extravagance." - Robert L. Dabney, A.D. 1870
神學家 Robert L. Dabney,一八七0年


Some thoughtful articles on Taiwan:

• What Would America do if China Invaded Taiwan? What Would America Do If China Invaded?
• From A Ukrainian Winter to a Taiwan Spring From a Ukrainian Winter to a Taiwanese Spring