Independence v. Unification

Two independence movements were buzzing in Taiwan in the past few weeks, with Catalonia seeking independence from Spain and Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly for separation from Iraq. Both ongoing events sparked new discussions on whether Taiwan should be holding an independence referendum, and how China and the rest of the world might respond if a vote took place.

Much like other complicated political problems in the world, however, it is not as simple as an independence referendum. For one thing, there remains large divides within the Taiwanese population on the status of Taiwan as an independent state as well as what that state, if actually independent, should be called. The Taiwan National Security Surveys designed by Duke University and conducted by National Chengchi University in 2016 showed that more than 70% of people surveyed agreed with the following statement:

 台灣是一個主權獨立的國家,它現在的名字叫做中華民國。
[Taiwan is a sovereign independent country, and its current name is the Republic of China.]

Continue reading “Independence v. Unification”

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2017 Universiade opens in Taipei

The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, opens tonight in a ceremony at Taipei Stadium in Taiwan’s capital city. More than 7,000 athletes from 144 countries are competing in 22 sporting events. The ceremony features cultural and music performances, speeches from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin (Russia), and lighting of the ceremonial flame. The parade of nations was interrupted by anti-pension reform protesters, resulting in most athletes having to enter the stadium after all flag bearers have passed through. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced the opening of the games. Continue reading “2017 Universiade opens in Taipei”

Government to abolish Mongolian & Tibetan affairs commission

roc_mongolian_and_tibetan_affairs_commission_logoTaiwan’s Executive Yuan today approved a draft bill to abolish the Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC), a ministry-level agency responsible for Mongolian and Tibetan affairs by the end of this year. Much of its portfolio has already been transferred to the foreign ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council, leaving it as a primarily cultural promotion agency. Its current staff and portfolio will be absorbed by the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Culture. The commission maintains the Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center in Taipei. Continue reading “Government to abolish Mongolian & Tibetan affairs commission”

Taiwan is called what in the 2017 Universiade?

Update (11 August): After much reporting by Taiwanese media, the media guide published by the organizing committee has changed all geographical reference of the island in the kit to Taiwan. FISU’s page about the 2017 Universiade retains odd language using Chinese Taipei.

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The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, will be held in Taipei, Taiwan during 19-30 August, 2017. Touted as a great opportunity to showcase Taiwan on the international stage after Kaohsiung hosted the World Games and Taipei hosted the Deaflympics, both in 2009, Taipei is busy preparing for games and the opening ceremony, which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to attend.

Despite all the fanfare and being the hosting country, Taiwan is not called Taiwan during the games. The English media guide introduces Taiwan under the title “Introduction of Our Island-Chinese Taipei” and continues with “Chinese Taipei is long and narrow[.]” Continue reading “Taiwan is called what in the 2017 Universiade?”

Oil spill covers Green Island shore

Seashore of Green Island off Taiwan’s southeastern coast was found covered in heavy waste oil on March 10. A local resident first posted about the spill on Facebook, prompting the government to rush to contain and clean up the waster oil. The oil appeared to have been illegally dumped north of Green Island by a large vessel.

Environmental Protection Administration official estimates today that the clean up will take a week to complete, while a vessel has been identified as possibly responsible for the spill. EPA and foreign ministry officials have not named the ship company nor its nationality.

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?”