Mainland does itself disservice with Hsieh's Weibo shutdown
The China Post news staffTaiwan is one of the few places where partisan lines are not drawn between the categories of “left” and “right” — they are rather drawn between differences of cultural identification. Last year, former Premier Frank Hsieh became the highest-level Democratic Progressive Party member to visit mainland China. With regard to his trip, Hsieh said that one cannot deny his or her roots due to political differences, drawing praise from the pan-blue camp.
February 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Dyed-in-the-wool opposition members have long argued for a Taiwanese identity separate from a Chinese identity. Some in Taiwan have said that the roots of their forebears and the history of the land on which they live do not determine their identity, in the same sense that Americans are not English. The same people however seem to have forgotten that there are groups of Americans who identity themselves as Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans and Chinese-Americans, among others. To point out the obvious, the first halves of the compound nouns refer to a person's ancestral roots and/or cultural identity, while the latter halves indicate his or her nationality. The two do not contradict each other.
Fewer and fewer people in Taiwan are less likely to call themselves Chinese for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that they simply don't think of themselves as such, which is fine because people are free to think whatever they please; former President Lee Teng-hui, for example, famously referred to himself as being Japanese. One of the other reasons is that the adjective “Chinese” has been stigmatized by its association with two repressive regimes: one that existed on this island, and another that still exists across the Strait. Some people in Taiwan, typically those whose parents or grandparents came from the mainland after 1945, are afraid to call themselves Chinese for fear of being seen as enemies. “Taiwan” and “China” as cultural identifiers have become increasingly mutually exclusive in public discourse. De-sinicization has been an ongoing process in Taiwan. To cite a recent example, what was previously called Chinese New Year is now increasingly being referred to as Lunar New Year.
What exactly does a person mean when he or she says that Taiwan is not a part of China? Apart from the claims of conspiracy theorists, it should be rather obvious that Taiwan does not fall under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China. According to the constitution, the name of the country — in which this paper is published — is the Republic of China; however, there are people who will argue against the R.O.C.'s legitimacy or even “existence.” When a person says that Taiwan is not a part of China, he or she might be saying that Taiwan is culturally distinct from China, i.e. “the people of Taiwan are not Chinese.”