71st UN General Assembly General Debate

Taiwan has been excluded from the United Nations since 1971. But discontent is mounting, and despite it being fairly close to impossible that Taiwan will actually be included, we press on. We are still lucky that we have some friends that are willing to speak up for us, but nothing has changed. Here are just some tidbits.

From Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru:

I would like to address the situation of Nauru’s close friend, Taiwan. According to the UN Charter, our mission here is to “reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

Mr. President, therefore, the twenty three million people of the Republic of China should enjoy these same fundamental rights. Taiwan has contributed to the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). They are promoting the Sustainable Development Goals domestically and internationally, and they are helping lead the way to a low-carbon economy.

Taiwan is a key stakeholder in the international community and we should make efforts to regularize their participation throughout the UN system so that we can all benefit from their substantial contributions.

Continue reading “71st UN General Assembly General Debate”

Here and There

Ever since President Tsai Ing-wen and her government refuse to confirm the so-called “1992 Consensus”, which China insists is the foundation for friendly cross-strait relationship, several incidents have happened to show us what happens when Taiwan stops going along with the “One China” principle. Tour groups from China have decreased, and China has been more aggressive in reducing Taiwan’s international participation. China could do that because it is a major international power and has a large and lucrative consumer market foreign companies want access to. Like most rich and powerful bullies, it can afford to bully Taiwan and get away with it, and certainly is not apologizing for any of it.

Here are just some of the more recent incidents that major international media don’t really report, and I am sure more will come:

On April 19, a 5-member Taiwanese delegation was ejected from a OECD steel committee meeting held in Brussels, Belgium. China claimed that Taiwan did not send officials with high enough rankings. Taiwan has been participating in the meeting since 1998 as an observer. Continue reading “Here and There”

Chinese Taipei?

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Every four years, whenever the Summer Olympics comes along*, I inevitably get the question, “why is Taiwan called Chinese Taipei in the Olympics?”

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Taiwan’s official flag, Chinese Taipei Olympic flag, and the Olympics rings

CNN provides an explanation for this, but I want to give it more context. Continue reading “Chinese Taipei?”

Kuo Hsing-chun won bronze in Rio!

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2016 Getty Images – Lars Baron

Kuo Hsing-chun, 22, of Taiwan won the bronze medal for women’s 58 kg weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 9 August 2016. Kuo is of the Amis indigenous tribe from Taitung. She previously competed and won gold medal in the same category in the 2013 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, and the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships in Wrocław, Poland.

Taiwan currently has one gold medal and two bronze medals.

Hsu Shu-ching won gold at Rio!

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2016 Getty Images – Lars Baron

Hsu Shu-ching, 25, of Taiwan won the gold medal for women’s 53 kg weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 7 August 2016. Hsu previously competed in the same category in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and tied for second place for total weight lifted but was awarded the silver medal due to lower body weight. Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan, who was first place in 2012, has been accused of doping and was stripped of her gold medal, making Hsu the gold medal winner for 2012.

On the same day, Taiwan’s women archery team, Tan Ya-ting, Lin Shih-chia, and Le Chien-Ying won the bronze medal against Italy.

Taiwan President apologizes to indigenous peoples

On behalf of the Government of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen today issued a formal apology to the country’s indigenous peoples in a ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Taiwan is home to about 550,000 indigenous peoples (~2.3% of Taiwan’s population), who research suggests started living on the island about 8,000 years before the Sino-Tibetan Han migration began in the 17th century. They are Austronesian peoples. Much like indigenous peoples in other parts of the world, these native peoples became victims of forced land acquisition, mass murder (some may say genocide), forced cultural assimilation and acculturation, and culture, language, and identity lost when different colonizing powers and populations started arriving on the island. Today, they face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. Continue reading “Taiwan President apologizes to indigenous peoples”