Thursday, March 4, 2010

Commemorating 228

I just noticed my post from last year, and thought I'd update with some news from this year. I'd first like to start off with:

1. this article from a Chinese civil rights activist - relates what happened in TW with current issues in China. Here's a quote:
Commenting on Taiwan, Wang Dan, a leader of the Chinese democracy movement and a prominent figure during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, said that freedom is never won easily, but always lost unknowingly.

2. Another article from the same source - discusses evolution of the subject of 228 (it was taboo for 48 years: 1947-1995).

3. UW event - ties in the US role in the event. Most notably, these quotes:
The US Consulate in Taipei reported back about these events, but was told by Washington to do nothing.

To imagine for Americans what the “228 Massacre” meant for Taiwanese, picture the British, after the Boston Tea Party, then rounding up all of whom we now view as the founding fathers and summarily executing them. The ramifications of this on democracy and human rights in America would have been profound, perhaps to the point of America still being under British rule.

4. search for hidden files - article detailing attempts to uncover truth about the incident

5. Liberty Times article - more about the missing files

6. China Times - President Ma's speeches at Tainan and Taipei

7. Lin Family murder - mother and daughter killed on 2/28/1980 believed to be acting for KMT. There's an unfortunate ambiguous translation - "common" should be replaced with "shared" in the article.

8. editorial on apologies - well reasoned article pointing out that Ma did not directly apologize for the events of 228, among other points.


#2: The timeline is eye-opening for me, because I didn't realize this subject was considered taboo until 1995. Now I understand why so many of my peers (myself included) didn't know about it until they went to college. It also makes me appreciate how emotional the older generation gets when the subject comes up.. I would be too if I wasn't allowed to speak of a terrible tragedy for 48 years, and my children were completely ignorant and uninterested because of it.

#8 is a surprisingly balanced editorial - this guy knows his stuff. If I had to pick a subset of articles from this list, I'd take the first 3 plus this one.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

228 Massacre

February 28, 1947 was the catalyst for uprisings against the corrupt Chinese government in Taiwan. Uprisings which were later suppressed brutally and which began decades of martial law and the period known as the "White Terror".

For more on the history, please visit this site.

In the interest of completeness, I looked up a few articles on the events this year:

1. report from India - only "foreign" report I could find, added for perspective's sake.

2. sit-in rally - group of people made the words "do not forget 228" in Liberty Square.

3. Tsai's Criticisms, Lin Criticisms, Civic Truth Group- a couple articles with criticisms of Ma and his actions/lack of action. The civic truth group article is more of a plea to open KMT party files on 228-related cases.

4. Ma's promises - an article reporting Ma's promise to restore funds and probe 228 cases. I only included one because they're all about the same. If #2 is any indication, it looks like a reaction to the criticism on a crucial day. And possibly a reaction to the heckling during his speech. We'll see if he follows through.

5. 2 day conference - commemorating the 62nd anniversary

6. historical bias - accusations of historical bias about the incident, though it seems the guy is pretty biased himself.

#6 is ironic because history is inherently biased. History is basically the telling of a story (His+story?), and every story has a side.. there's really no such thing as un-biased history... You could accuse people of biased reporting of an event. Or untruths in the story or specific accounts... but a "biased history" is really just stating the obvious.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Letter to Ma Ying-jeou

(The following was written by my cousin for her high school English project--BRAVO!)

January 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Ma Ying-Jeou,

Though you have never explicitly stated it, it is obvious to the public that your main goal as Regional Leader is to unite Taiwan with China. But what is the point of this “unification”? What has China ever done for Taiwan?

China has missiles aimed at Taiwan and continually threatens to fire them.

China has always had a low opinion of Taiwan. To it, Taiwan is just another Tibet.

China hasn’t helped Taiwan’s economy as you had hoped it would when you worked on the cross-strait negotiations, with the direct flights and the opening up of tourism between the two countries. As anyone can see, Taiwan is still in a huge economic mess.

China has ceaselessly humiliated Taiwan, telling it what it can and can’t do. For example, at the Olympics, it demands that Taiwan take up the name of Chinese Taipei. It also continuously blocks Taiwan’s efforts to join international groups such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

China has been and is still waiting for Taiwan to completely bow down to it. Chinese President Hu Jin-tao wants Taiwan to “cease {its} Taiwan independence secessionist activities and never again go against the common desire of the entire race nation.” Although you may agree with him, know that Taiwan will fall even lower in respect once it submits to this low status, if it had any in the first place after all your kowtowing.

Not only are you more than willing to feed the people of Taiwan to China, but you are also willing to abuse them. I have seen your police officers brutally beat and drag away harmless protestors, and you cowardly accused them of being “violent.” Taiwan is a democratic country where the people have rights; the KMT government shouldn’t plunge it back into martial law. It wouldn’t do to repeat the massacre that occurred in Taiwan on February 28, 1947. The government told the protestors it was ok to come out into the open because they wouldn’t be punished. The people listened, and they were promptly slaughtered, like pigs in a butcher shop. Need I tell you which government it was that betrayed the Taiwanese people?

China is not Noah’s ark; it cannot and will not save Taiwan in any way. In fact, if Taiwan boards this “ark”, it will sink in a political storm and drown, forgotten under the ocean. I implore you to stop demeaning Taiwan with your “unification” talks. Don’t let Taiwan disappear off the map because it is now just “China”. Also, please stop trampling on your own people to shut them up and make yourself look good to the Chinese. They don’t respect you; they never have, and they never will.