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  • sallyintaiwan 12:40 pm on December 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: politics, ,   

    Panda Politics 

    With the Taipei Zoo only two bus stops away from campus, it’s a little crazy it took me so long to finally check it out. I finally had some time recently to go (if you’re ever in Taiwan, go on a rainy day! No lines for the Pandas!)

    Those who know me might roll their eyes at this post, knowing me as someone who turns everything possible, political… but really, believe me, the cute pandas in the Taipei Zoo are in fact, political. Like any panda, in any zoo around the world, the two pandas in Taipei are gifts from Mainland China. This practice has even has a name: Panda Diplomacy—I recently learned that the idea isn’t new! It dates back to the Tang Dynasty when Empress Wu gifted pandas to Japan. The US received their first two pandas after Nixon’s historic visit. It’s China’s unique way to practice diplomacy with nations it has developed certain relations with.

    When 團團 (TuanTuan) and 圓圓 (YuanYuan) came to Taiwan in 2008, they were hugely controversial. One of Taiwan’s two main political parties, the Democratic Progressive Party (who strongly associate themselves with Taiwanese independence) fiercely protested the acceptance of these pandas. They see the pandas as propaganda by the Chinese government to pull Taiwan closer to reunification—after all, they’re names together 團圓 (Tuan Yuan) literally mean “family reunion”… However the party in power, the Kuomintang, welcomed the pandas. While the DPP requests that its party members do not visit the pandas, they still get long lines of visitor every day that required each guest to view the pandas only at their assigned time given to them upon entry to the park.

    You won’t get an opinion from me about whether or not the pandas should be here in Taipei, but I will testify that they are adorable!

  • sallyintaiwan 2:36 pm on November 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , politics,   

    Moves Like Jagger 

    Recently, Taiwan celebrated it’s National Day.  This meant a day off from school, mostly to study for the next day’s midterm (!) but also an opportunity to celebrate!  The flag raising ceremony at Taipei city hall began at 7:30 am ~ a friend and I got there early enough to see the flag raised while the national anthem played, and of course we didn’t miss the “morning exercise” (which involved repeating dance moves over and over again to She’s Got the Moves Like Jagger…not kidding!)  The most interesting part of the morning, for a politics junkie like myself, was the presence of these two giant banners on either side of the flag, easy to see and read, written in both Chinese and English:



    Suddenly, hailing to the national flag on Taiwan’s national day became just as important reminding the public that these controversial islands belong to the ROC!  I know Japan’s recent purchase of three of these islands from a private owner has cause major anti-Japanese protests in the People’s Republic of China but until Wednesday I never realized Taiwan’s stake.

    I find the history of the islands fascinating; here is a general (hopefully not too confusing) history of the islands:

    At the end of the first Sino-Japanese War (which China lost) in 1895 the Treaty of Shimonoseki (drafted by then United States Secretary of State John W. Foster) was signed.  In addition to other stipulations and an indemnity, the islands, including Taiwan (rhetoric at the time seems to talk about them as one entity) after almost 200 years of Qing Dynasty rule, were ceded to Japan.  Thus, the islands and Taiwan were under Japanese occupation until the Potsdam Declaration at the end of World II, when Japanese sovereignty was declared limited to its four major islands, and other minor islands, which did not include the islands in question or the Island of Taiwan.  The declaration did not say to whom the islands and Taiwan belonged; But they were largely controlled by the US from 1945 until 1972.  In ’71 the PRC and Japan both began to make claims of sovereignty… please, take one guess why….

    OIL!  Of course…  A UN report came out in 1969 claiming the POSSIBILITY of an oil and gas reserve in the area around the islands.  In my research it looks like there is little solid confirmation of this report.

    What makes it all the more interesting is the place where the ROC and PRC agree: both claim the islands are part of Taiwan, but of course a form of transitive logic kicks in and they’re part of China if you acknowledge the “One Country, Two Systems” rhetoric.

    Thus, the world is left with a series of islands with a serious identity problem… and three names: Senkaku (Japan,) Diaoyu (PRC,) and Diaotutai (ROC)

    The whole situation is a bit complicated to me but the objective of this propaganda however doesn’t seem so confusing after all.

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