Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Social Network Site Groups form to Defend Taiwan's Sovereignty

If you support Taiwan, it is a good first step to publicly speak out and not remain silent. One way many have done so is to join online groups on social network sites such as Facebook that let others know they support the truth about Taiwan's sovereignty and independence from China and from any other country in the world.

After that first step, take a few more if you really want to have an effect. You can use your groups to network and inform each other of important events, issues, votes, etc. And then the member need to actually act. That can range from writing letters to the editors of newspapers, writing letters to public officials, speaking out, and also speaking on the local level -- in schools, among colleagues at work, to neighbors. Groups could periodically post short informative flyers on important issues that each member could commit to printing 10, 50, or 100 of them and distributing the flyers in the mailboxes of their neighbors -- especially if the group members live in Taiwan. This would be a way to counteract the stranglehold on the media that the KMT government has.

Following is a sampling of some of the groups. Just think: with these thousands, just imagine what an impact they could have if they actually regularly took the next step of getting publicly involved with their voices, and their actions.

As people unite, not just with common cause but also with action by every single person, what may seem like small things could really become a powerful force for the good of Taiwan.

台灣建國解放軍 Taiwan is My Country only has 20 members so far.

Taiwan Go has 322 members. It is a student group to promote Taiwan joining the UN. "台灣要向前走 ~
走向聯合國 ~ 走向世界 ~ 雖然聯合國不是最正義的世界組織 ~ 但是加入聯合國是推向世界的第一步 ... Taiwan has to move forward, towards the United Nations, towards the rest of the world, even though the UN isn't everything, at least it is the first step..."

#@#%% IT!! My Nationality is NOT 中國(台灣)!!! has 52 members.

Face it Chinese people, Taiwan has been independent forever has 718 members. "In response to the creation of Face it Taiwan is part of China, Here comes the historical truth. Like it or not, Taiwan has been on its own forever. Ever since the aboriginal Taiwanese appeared on the island, its culture has evolved in its own fashion. Though most people in Taiwan have Chinese origins, that is very false to say Taiwanese= Chinese. Let me put it this way, are Germans = Austrians? and also if you look it like that, Swiss are Germans, Italians, and French... "

Taiwan Independence has 324 members. They state: "This group is for those who support the declaration and recognition of Taiwanese independence. Taiwan is already a de facto independent state with a free and consolidated democracy. This group calls for its formal declaration of independence."

Face It -- Taiwan is NOT part of China had 13,187 members as of 2009/1/1

Support the Independence of Taiwan (R.O.C.) has 2041 members. "Discussion is welcomed, communism is not."

Taiwan Guts United has 164 members. Their five principles:
五大行動綱領 Our Five Principles









Other groups:

Swedish Taiwan Independence Group has 87 members. "We want independence for Taiwan. We support Taiwans efforts to apply to the UN with the name Taiwan instead of the R.O.C. We agree with Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang's quote, 'model democracy of multi-party politics that needs more support from the international community'."

Dave's Independence of Taiwan has 41 members. "FOR THE SAKE OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM...INDEPENDENCE IS THE ONLY PATH!"

Another Taiwan Independence group but with only 7 members so far: "For those that are for Taiwan's self determination and know that Taiwan is an independent nation. China claims Taiwan but doesn't even have a single building on Taiwan and hypocritically says Taiwan has yet to "reunify". Taiwan is a modernized, westernized, democratic, and free nation. The future of Taiwan, belongs to no one but the Taiwanese!"

UN for Taiwan has 1702 members.

Recognize Taiwan has 1382 members. This group celebrates all the creativity and industry Taiwan has offered to the world and recognizes that a free and democratic Taiwan was essential for its development.

United Taiwanese Against Oppression has 77 members: "As a human beings, we demand no less than what has been afforded to six billion others -- that is to be treated equally and with respect both to ourselves and our country."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Picture Worth 1000 Words

What does this image mean to you?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amnesty International Statement on upcoming December 7 student protests


AI Index No: ASA 38/001/2008
3 December 2008

Taiwan: Police should avoid using excessive force at upcoming protests

Amnesty International has urged Taiwan's police force to comply with international guidelines on the use of force and crowd control at the planned student protests on Sunday 7 December.

The organization also joins calls for the Control Yuan, the body mandated by the Taiwan Constitution with supervisory power over the Executive branch, to conduct an independent inquiry into alleged excessive police force during November's protests.

The Wild Strawberry Student Movement has staged sit-ins since 6 November to protest against what they consider the use of excessive force during the Taiwan visit of Chen Yunlin, chairman of the China-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. Civil society groups in Taiwan are investigating multiple claims that individuals suffered head injuries and broken fingers at the hands of police during the protests.

According to police reports on 8 November, approximately 10,000 police officers had been deployed during Chen's visit; 149 police officers and 200-300 individuals were injured; 18 were arrested.

Taiwanese civil society groups claim that police have applied the Assembly and Parade Law arbitrarily to silence dissent. According to the students' spokesperson, they will not seek police approval, as required by the law, but will only "report" their plans to law enforcement authorities, in line with amendments advocated by the Movement.

The Movement is organizing the protest on Sunday 7 December to criticize the government's failure to amend the Assembly and Parade Law.

Amnesty International said Taiwan's Control Yuan should address the serious concerns raised by civil society in Taiwan and the government should cease the practice of using the Assembly and Parade Law to deny freedom of assembly and allow individuals to protest peacefully. Amnesty International also called on Taiwanese police and judicial authorities to ensure that they investigate any protesters accused of engaging in violence in a fair, transparent, and timely manner in compliance with international standards.

On 3-7 November 2008, Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, led a 60-member delegation from the People's Republic of China to visit Taiwan and meet with President Ma Ying-jeou.

The police barred protesters displaying Taiwanese and Tibetan flags and anti-China slogans along the routes taken by the envoy and confiscated or damaged some of these items. The police also closed a shop near the hotel where Chen Yunlin had dinner with Kuomintang honorary chairman Lien Chan when the shop loudly broadcast music from an album titled 'Songs of Taiwan'.

There were additional reports of arbitrary detention and police brutality, some of which, according to the police, were in response to the violence of protesters.

Following the visit, hundreds of students have staged sit-ins across Taiwan protesting the police's handling of the protests and demanding amendments to the Assembly and Parade Law, which has been misused to prevent protests.

On 6 November the students started their sit-ins outside the offices of the Executive Yuan or (Executive branch), where they were eventually removed by police on the grounds of illegal assembly. They continued the sit-ins at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall and organized a daily demonstration calling for immediate amendments to the Assembly and Parade Law, apologies from the president and head of government and the resignations of the heads of the police and national security.

On 18 November Taipei police announced a list of 66 "troublemakers", who had allegedly thrown gas bombs and stones at the police and spat at the Taichung mayor. There were also reports that the police had pressured journalists and their supervisors to hand over video tapes to identify suspects who allegedly took part in the violence.

END/ Public Document

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email:
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Learning from the History of Other Nations -- Ireland

Ireland and Taiwan do indeed have many historical parallels.
See the article below. (Used with Permission) - DEMO!

[St. Patrick's Day and Taiwan
- by Joel H. Linton

St. Patrick's Day celebrates a modern nation that almost did not come to existence one hundred years ago. You see, Ireland had been absorbed by the British Empire for a long time. An alien language, English, had been forced on the inhabitants, and the Irish speakers had been ostracized as "country bumpkins" and penalized when they spoke their native mother tongue. In the British Empire's attempt to solidify its grip on the island nation of Ireland, they tried to remove any respect for the cultural and linguistic elements that made the Irish distinct from the English. Many will see the similarity to what the Japanese and KMT regimes tried to do in Taiwan beginning in 1895 through 1987.

By the late 1800's there was a question whether Ireland would forever be absorbed by the British empire and her native tongue would be silenced forever. It had already lost the majority of its population to emmigration. The economic depression that was partly due to the Empire's policies toward Ireland and partly due to the Irish potato famine caused huge numbers to flee to the United States and make a new life there.

What would bring Ireland back from the brink of oblivion?

"The most important move towards revitalizing nationalism [in Ireland] came, ironically, not through the groups formed for strictly political reasons. One evening in 1893, seven men met in a small room in Dublin. They were all [Irish] Gaelic scholars with mutual concern to preserve the language. To this end they decided to form a cultural society which was to be called the Gaelic League. The two leading lights of the society, Eoin MacNeill and Douglas Hyde, could not have forseen the enormous implications of the movement which, as well as preserving Ireland's cultural heritage, was destined to become the most important source of inspiration in the Irish fight for independence." (p. 124)

They had their own paper, the GAELIC JOURNAL, which carried stories in both English and modern Irish. One of its sections gave lessons in basic Irish. That might not seem to be much. But it steadily became popular to be able to speak Irish. The Gaelic League had branches also among the emmigrant populations in other countries, including the U.S. People began to unite around being "Irish".

"The Gaelic League was giving the country an identity, a difference which justified her becoming independent." (p. 124)

There was another group that had been established close to the same time. In 1884, some men founded the Gaelic Athletic Association, to protect and promote traditional Irish games which were in danger of being lost due to the introduction and promotion of English sports.

"So, by the end of the nineteenth century, there were two powerful groups, one intellectual, the other athletic, with a highly developed awareness of being Irish. Meanwhile, in the Parliament [of the British Empire] they were pursuing a policy of "Killing Home Rule by Kindness," by introducing liberal reforms in Ireland." (p. 126)

(Now does this not sound familiar to any of you who look at the later years of the KMT military dictatorship under Chiang Ching-Guo or the current attitude some of the time coming out of communist China?)

This included a land reform act in 1903 that caused tenant farmers to be able to purchase land on easy terms.

Although finally in around 1914, when Britain was getting into World War I, there was a "Home Rule Bill" going through Parliament, the Irish nationalists began to recruit and train an army secretly. They took over the General Post Office in Dublin and put up a banner proclaiming The Irish Republic with a new flag.

The push for independence did not result in a full-scale war for independence, but the presence of their own army committed to the Irish cause undoubtedly gave them the courage to declare independence.

Military strength may not lead to war, but to a prevention of war. The foreign army will decide not to invade. And the new nation will have the confidence of the people to break free, and take responsibility for itself and finally declare formal independence.

It is no surprise that those wanting to force unification with China would seek to and continually block the ability for Taiwan to build up its military strength.

Three things to put in place: Linguistic Respect. Cultural Respect. and Respect of the Ability of Self Defense. In this sad day and age, military strength is a necessary part of deterrence of aggressive neighbors. You must be ready for war to prevent war from even starting.

If Taiwan had these three, they would feel free to declare once and for all formal independence, and not fear that China would try to invade. Although Taiwan is independent now and has its own military, that military strength is steadily eroding.

Taiwan has the money. They could upgrade their military. But Taiwan does not yet have the will. That will comes from a cultural transformation to respect for being Taiwanese, whether descendents of the first inhabitants Austronesian peoples, Hoklo, Hakka, or a recent immigrant Mandarin speakers.

Let St. Patrick's Day be a reminder to all of us to get working. Any suggestions? Did any of you catch a vision?

Funny how the color of Ireland is the color of Taiwan independence.

Please forward this letter to anyone whom you think would benefit from it. Also, maybe next St. Patrick's Day, we can convince either the government of Taiwan or high profile organizations, or academic institutions like NTU, NTNU, and Academia Sinica to invite high profile scholars from Ireland to come speak on this historic time in Irish History, --- the topic "How Ireland was able to become Free and Independent from the British Empire" That's one idea we could implement. Do you have any others?

(written Saint Patrick's Day 2006)

NOTE: the quotes above are from Your Irish Ancestors by J. Anderson Black, © 1974 Paddington Press Ltd. New York
For further reading on language's impact on nations, see: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
An interview, a review, the publisher]


There are two movies that help explore the agony and disagreements that accompanied the fight for freedom in Ireland. Some wanted to be more conciliatory and gradual; some wanted a definite, clear and complete break.

Michael Collins (1996) 邁克爾Collins

The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) 震動大麥的風


Siá Tâi-Oân ê Oē
Taiwanese Identity