Taiwanation

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Taiwanation is a wristband campaign by the Young Professional Group of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs that is trying to raise public awareness for the struggle for Taiwan's de jure independence.  
 
Cynics may say that the wristband thing is a bit played out, and I guess in some ways, it is, but no more or less played out than political T-shirts.  However, I think political discourse of all kinds is important.
 
The issue of "Taiwan Independence" is controversial, even within Taiwanese society.  I am what is known in Taiwanese slang as an o-a-hanji, a "taro-sweet potato."  The descendants of Chinese mainlanders who fled to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War are "taros" and the so-called "Taiwanese", the descendants of settlers from China over 400 years ago who intermarried with various aboriginal tribes are "sweet potatoes."  As a product of a mixed Mainlander/Taiwanese marriage, I am "taro-sweet potato."  
 
For me, the issue of Taiwanese de jure independence is not a matter of ethnicity.  Many Taiwanese of recent mainland Chinese descent and many ethnic "Taiwanese" as well feel a kind of sentimental attachment to China and Chinese culture and ethnic identity.  This is not surprising considering that until recently, the government and the media in Taiwan perpetuated a policy of cultural suppression and Chinese Nationalist myth-making that legitimized the the KMT's rule.  In any case, I am opposed to any sort of excessive or obsessive nationalistic or ethnic pride.  It is just plain tacky and more often than not, it is racist. 
 
Chinese ethnic identity is a totally different thing from Chinese national identity.  There are plenty of people of Chinese descent around the world who are not Chinese citizens.  Singapore is majority ethnic Chinese, but you don't see the PRC making a claim of sovereignty there, do you?  And many Taiwanese are over 400 years removed from their "roots" on the Chinese mainland anyway.  That is longer than many white Americans' ancestors have been in the US, but nobody would claim that the US should still be part of England.  In fact, historically, Taiwan has NEVER been part of the People's Republic of China.  The original inhabitants are the various aboriginal tribes.  Later, settlers came from mainland China, not as colonists or conquerers, but as economic refugees from hardship on the mainland.  Taiwan was then colonized briefly by the Dutch and the Spanish.  Then the Qing Dynasty of China took it over.  Then they lost it to the Japanese who stayed for 50 years.  After WWII, it was "liberated" by the Republic of China, which remains the governing system on the island today.  No PRC in that timeline anywhere.
 
The issue of Taiwanese independence is about changing the law to reflect what is a de facto reality.  Taiwan is a nation, which it's own democratically elected government, it's own culture, it's own defined borders, it's own currency, and all the other trappings of a nation-state that set it apart from the People's Republic of China. 
 
Alright, enough of my rant, I can talk about this for ages, check out the website to find out more.
 
Another website for the Taiwanation campaign here

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leesean

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