06 November, 2008

Siege in Taipei

I've been so wrapped up about the U.S. election I've been neglecting some of the news from across the big pond. Skyping my mother tonight she reminded me that we Americans were not the only ones struggling for democracy yesterday. The Taiwanese also have a wee donnybrook of their own in Taipei. As I previously blogged, an ongoing visit from a high-level Chinese envoy is attracting a bit of attention from Taiwanese democracy advocates.

Since my mother has been attending demonstrations in the Taiwanese capital, I've been quite worried about the escalated police presence and recent government detentions of opposition lawmakers and party officials. Denied permits to demonstrate against the Chinese diplomat, many Taiwanese have resorted to besieging government buildings hosting Beijing's top negotiator to Taiwan. According to my mother, who was at a Taipei protest yesterday, police efforts to break up demonstrations have resulted in scores of injuries to the civilians. Another rally is scheduled in Taipei today and organizers are expecting 100,000 to march.


I admire my mother for acting on her convictions. Democracy is a fine thing to stand up for. Since my father's passing in September my mother has been very keen to express herself on this issue. However, I also question if Taiwan and China's toxic history with each other is clouding the people's judgement. After all, the Chinese negotiator is only in town to sign accords to expand shipping and flights between the two countries.

Nonetheless, Taiwan has a special place in my heart. It's the land where my grandparents are buried and it is a fellow democracy. Go you good thing!

*Photos - Banner in the top photo declares "Taiwan is a country," referencing China's campaign to deny Taiwan de jure nationhood. Bottom photo - no explanation necessary.

8 comments:

Broke But Still Drinking said...

The guy in the white shirt looks like he could cause some serious problems if they don't get him under control.

TCL said...

Me thinks he could use more drinks. Another tall boy of Taiwan Beer.

Megan said...

I thought that the envoy being there was a step in the right direction?

TCL said...

megan - It depends on one's view on the subject. For me, I think easier travels and better communications, especially at a people-to-people level, is a good thing. For my mother, she doesn't think one should be forced to negotiate under the threat of a few thousand missiles pointed at her country.

Megan said...

Well, I can certainly see her point of view there!

Baino said...

You know I watched 2 news programs last night and not a twitter about demonstrations in Taiwan or the unrest! Shameful considering we regard ourselves as a South East Asian country!

TCL said...

baino,

On the one hand, Taiwan is a small island with only 24 million in population.

On the other hand, it's one of the major hot spots in the world with both sides armed to the teeth.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I went to Taiwan many years ago and the thing that struck me was the sense of fierce independence from the Chinese and also a subconscious sense of threat from them too. I'm therefore not surprised at how people have responded to the Chinese envoy and I think I'd feel pretty wary too. The Chinese have always made it clear that they don't really recognise Taiwan's "independence" from China.