taiwan history

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Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center conducted a study on public symbols of the Confederacy. The center found more than 700 Confederate monuments on public land in the U.S. — with nearly 300 in the states of Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina alone.

Around the country, a fresh push is on to remove Confederate statues, the great majority of which were erected well after the Civil War.

A protest linked to the proposed removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., became a scene of violence, and officials elsewhere are moving swiftly to remove statues, hoping to keep their own towns and universities becoming similarly embroiled. Monuments in cities including Baltimore, Annapolis, Austin, Durham and New Orleans have already been taken down.

Though the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments is uniquely American, the U.S. is not alone in reckoning with public symbols of the past.

In Reckoning With Confederate Monuments, Other Countries Could Provide Examples

Photos: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images, Prylepa Leksander/AFP/Getty Images, Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images and Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Have You Heard of the Taipei Slasher Attacks?

In 1956, local press coverage of random attacks by an unknown person with a razor created two weeks of widespread fear. At least twenty-one victims were reported. The media’s reporting of the victims and their suffering caused a panic to grip the city. Parents were afraid for their children to school, families were afraid for their loved ones to go to work.

Then the police announced: there was no slasher. Of the twenty-one reported injuries, “five were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts other than razors, and one was a complete fantasy.” This had just been a case of mass hysteria, inflamed by the press coverage. The Taipei Slasher was dead.

The 228 Incident

Today is the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident in Taiwan.

This incident refers to the brutal crackdown of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime against Taiwanese civilians who demonstrated all across Taiwan to protest the authoritarian government’s corruption and oppression. It was not a simple one-day incident that occurred on February 28, 1947. Rather, it was a long period of suffering and violation of human rights on a large scale. An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people died during the uprising and subsequent crackdown. The 228 Incident marked the beginning of Taiwan’s White Terror, a period of severe political oppression. 

On February 27, 1947, a widow was selling illicit cigarettes from a small stand in a Taipei park. Two agents from the Monopoly Bureau sought to seize her goods and cash. Her resistance drew the attention of a crowd, and one of the agents struck her head with his pistol, inciting the anger of the crowd. An agent fired for an escape route, but instead, fatally shot a bystander. 

On February 28, 1947 in Taipei, a group of two thousand protesters marched from the park to the Monopoly Bureau, demanding the execution of the agents, the resignation of the bureau director, and the revision of monopoly regulations. Finding the bureau closed, the protesters proceeded to the Governor-General’s office where they were met with troops opening fire. A radio station broadcasted the event, and finally, the tensions and frustrations that had been building up within the Taiwanese ever since the Republic of China took over broke loose and caused an island-wide anti-government uprising. 

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By the time Lin [Taiwanese Captain Lin Zhengyi] arrived in 1978, the war was more psychological than physical. The armies still shelled each other, but only on schedule: the mainland fired on odd-numbered days; Taiwan returned fire the rest of the week.
— 

Taiwan and China had a system for how to deal with their next-door neighbor that they hated and thought was not legitimate. Whatever works, right?

Quote is from Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China, by Evan Osnos.

aph taiwan’s “birthday”

Typically, in Hetalia, the “birthday” of a personification is often the country’s national/liberation day. For Taiwan, this casts her in a very awkward position in which her national day in fact celebrates Republic of China, and her canon birthday isn’t celebrated in Taiwan. 

October 25, 1945 

This is her canon birthday as seen on her profiles. It is Retrocession Day, or when Taiwan was ceded back to Chinese rule from Japanese colonization.

However, it is not really celebrated in Taiwan. There is no day off, no events– many people seem to be forgetting that this is even a holiday. I think Himaruya assumed that, like many other countries, this “liberation from Japanese rule” is a marker of celebration. 

The reality is, the martial law and white terror that followed Taiwan’s retrocession is nothing worth celebrating, and China often uses it as “evidence” of reunification, which has very little support in Taiwan these days. Anti-Japanese sentiment is nearly nonexistent in Taiwan today, and many people had considered the R.O.C. regime that followed Japanese colonization to be worse in the brutal early years. Therefore, October 25 is really an odd date to set as APH Taiwan’s “birthday.” 

October 10, 1911

This is the current national day in Taiwan. It celebrates the founding of Republic of China in 1911. Back then, Taiwan was a Japanese colony. 

Our current government is the Republic of China, which is why “Double Ten” is our national day. It’s understandable that Himaruya did not use this as Taiwan’s birthday because it has definite political implications of recognizing Taiwan’s government as legitimate. Even so, it would still be a weird date to set as Taiwan’s “birthday” by the virtue of how it celebrates a past regime of China and has, well, nothing to do with Taiwan itself.

China edition: no birthday

Yes, you’ve heard right. In the Chinese version of Hetalia, “a part of China” was added to Taiwan’s profile and her birthday was omitted. This was done to kill any possible inclination that Taiwan is separate from China. 

May 23, 1895

This is when the Republic of Formosa was founded. Technically, this was the first democratic republic in East Asia and the first regime founded by Taiwanese people. However, it was more of a violent reaction towards Japanese colonization. Republic of Formosa was intended to garner Western sympathies by the virtue being a democratic republic. Taiwan at the time was really looking to Qing China than anything else. 

February 1, 1662

This is when Koxinga established the Kingdom of Tungning, the first establishment of Han Chinese control of Taiwan. It was also the first regime in Taiwan to be technically independent of China. The Kingdom of Tungning was basically the last vestige of the Ming dynasty, whom Koxinga and his family were loyal to. This date is not recognized in any capacity but can still be considered a possible birth date for the personification we know as Taiwan.


The sad conclusion is: Taiwan does not have a national holiday celebrating Taiwan. That means birthdays are likely to hold very little meaning to APH Taiwan because these days are either not for her or not celebrated. Depending on your interpretation, you can still pick one of these dates and make a case for it or perhaps find a more suitable date for Taiwan’s birthday. In the meantime, I believe it’s worth celebrating her anyways for who she is and represents! 

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December 10th 1979: Kaohsiung Incident

On this day in 1979, the Kaohsiung Incident occurred in Taiwan (officially called the Republic of China), marking an important moment in the country’s democratic revolution. Throughout the 1970s, opposition had been growing to the one-party state, and President Chiang Ching-kuo of the Chinese Nationalist Party agreed to hold elections in 1979. The elections were, however, cancelled, and dissidents were arrested. Activists thus chose December 10th (Human Rights Day) to take to the streets of Kaohsiung in protest against the repression of democracy. Police were summoned to break up the peaceful crowds, which resulted in sporadic violence and mass arrests; it was later revealed that the police and army were in position before the planned protest began. The following year, prominent members of the unoffiical opposition - the ‘Kaohsiung Eight’ - were tried for sedition and jailed. The case generated a great deal of sympathy for the political dissidents, both in Taiwan and from Taiwanese people living abroad, who lobbied their host governments, boosting the democratic movement in Taiwan. In 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party was founded, with many of its leaders coming from the defendants and defense lawyers of the Kaohsiung trial. The founding of an official opposition was a decisive moment in Taiwan’s transition to democracy and universal suffrage in the late 1980s. Taiwan remains a thriving and successful democracy, though mainland China still bars Taiwan from membership in international organisations like the United Nations.

MAY 29: Qiu Miaojin (1969-1995)

Today would have been Taiwanese author Qiu Miaojin’s 48th birthday. Her novels Notes of a Crocodile and Letters from Montmartre made her a counterculture icon and one of the foremothers of the LGBT rights movement in the Chinese-speaking world.

Qiu Miaojin in Paris. Credit Photograph from New York Review Books (x).

Qiu was born on May 29, 1969 in Changhua County. She was an impressive student and was able to attend the prestigious school, Taipei First Girls’ High School. She eventually graduated from National Taiwan University with a degree in psychology. After working as a counselor for a while after school she began writing and worked as a reporter for a magazine titled The Journalist. After winning a Central Daily News award for her short story titled Prisoners, Qiu move to Paris in 1994 to further pursue her writing career and to take up graduate studies. At the University of Paris, she studied psychology and women’s studies and published her first landmark novel. 

Qiu’s breakout novel was Notes of a Crocodile. Semi-autobiographical, Notes of a Crocodile tells the story of Lazi and her rollicking group of gay friends who ignore their university studies for adventure and love affairs in 1990s Taipei. When it was first published in 1994, the novel shook mainstream audiences to the core due to its unflinching look at the deeply underground gay scene of Taipei. However, it also excited those from the underground and over the years the novel and Qiu Miaojin herself has earned cult classic status.

Aside from her literary reputation, Qiu is most known for her tragic suicide at the young age of 26. When she died in 1995, she left behind her unfinished second novel, Letters from Montemartre. Once again, the novel is semi-autobiographical and many scholars consider it to be Qiu’s de facto suicide letter. Told through a series of letters, Letters from Montemartre tells the winding and heartbreaking love story of two women. Following its protagonists across the globe from Paris to Taipei to Tokyo, the novel offers readers insight into Qiu’s own personal experience of feeling trapped in between cultures and sexual conventions. You can learn more about Qiu Miaojin in the novel Forgetting Sorrow by Luo Yijun or in director Evans Chan Yiu-shing’s new RTHK television documentary about Qiu which will be released with English subtitles later this year.

-LC

Fort San Domingo (or Hongmao Castle/紅毛城) is the perfect example of Taiwan’s complex history. It was originally constructed as a fort for the Spanish. Then, the Dutch built a new fort on site called Fort Antonio. During the Qing Dynasty, the Chinese government controlled this place. However, the British took over and made it their trade consulate. Taiwan’s government finally retrieved this piece of land from the British in 1980.

Danshui (淡水), New Taipei, Taiwan

大家好!

My name is zen, and I am now officially the Ambassador of Taiwan in @hetaliafandomhub. What that means is, as a representative of my country, I am a source of information for anything about Taiwan (history, politics, culture, geography etc). So if you ever have any questions, please ask away!

My interpretation of APH Taiwan will be grounded in real life Taiwan from a Taiwanese perspective rather than the Hetalia canon. It operates on the idea that APH Taiwan is a personification of, primarily, identity. All the information I give will be based upon extensive research, my own knowledge, experiences, and personal interpretation. I am dedicated to staying true to the Taiwanese perspective and will endeavor to ensure “accuracy” with respect to that.

Although I do have some older informative posts about APH Taiwan, I am looking to re-organize and readjust my portrayal and information. I will probably be making some informative posts here and there, but really, I looking into the possibility of setting up a reference blog specifically for APH Taiwan and by extension, irl Taiwan to organize information in a way that is easily accessible, comprehensible, and reliable. 

That’s all I have for now, thank you ! 再會!

Today marks the birthday of a pioneer of Taiwan’s New Wave film movement, and one of Taiwan’s most prominent filmmakers, Edward Yang.  Born in Shanghai in 1947, Yang was actually raised in Taipei where he began to study Electronic Engineering before eventually moving to Florida and receiving his Masters Degree in Electrical and Computer engineering.  Apart from a brief stint at the prestigious USC Film Academy, Yang’s early years were driven by more practical career choices, with his passion for cinema left lingering on the back burner.
 
As fate would have it, his career path led him to Seattle, where in 1972 he watched Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God.  The film reignited Yang’s love of film, and illuminated the world of European cinema to the young engineer, with the films of Antonioni becoming a primary source of inspiration.  This inspiration would soon lead to fruition, as over the next decade he directed a series of programs for Taiwanese TV.  It was in 1983 that Yang would finally get his chance at a feature length directorial debut, entitled That Day, On the Beach. 

Over the course of the next 20 years, Yang would release seven films, each seemingly more critically acclaimed than the preceding; a feat considered more impressive by the fact that his third film earned him the Silver Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.  His seventh and final film, Yi Yi, received critical accolades including the prestigious Best Director Award at Cannes.  Despite the success and notoriety of his films, Yang’s film catalog remains difficult to track down, mainly due to the director’s insistence of making films for art’s sake, and not financial gain; a testament to his philosophy that mixing art with business will result in the influence and eventual corruption of the art form.

October 22nd, 1633 | The Battle of Liaoluo Bay

You might know it as 料羅灣海戰. No? Maybe Liàoluó Wān Hǎizhàn.

So back in the beginning of the 17th Century it was customary for a trading company to be set up only for the duration of a single voyage and to be liquidated upon the return of the fleet. Investment in these expeditions was a very high-risk venture: pirates, disease, and shipwrecks all had a nasty habit of ruining the bottom-line. But throw in the ever fluctuating prices in the spice market and if you did manage to haul some goodies back from Asia there was no guarantee of profit.

The solution was to form a cartel, control supply, and fix prices. The English - being devious little bastards - did this first, which put their competitors - the Dutch - in a bit of a pickle, because now they faced the very real possibility of ruin. So they did the right thing: they formed their very own cartel as well: the “Dutch East India Company.”

It was granted a monopoly over Asian trade, but also permitted it to build forts, maintain armies, and conclude treaties with Asian rulers. And just to give you an idea about how significant these guys were going to get: they were the first multinational company, the first to issue stock, had quasi-government powers, had the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiated treaties, coined money, and established colonies. They’d totally fit in a Shadowrun environment.

They ended up eclipsing the rest of Europe for manpower and ships in Asia, and netted millions of tons of trade goods, and they did so at the end of a pike, because if you didn’t fit into their bottom line or somehow boost the numbers in their Excel sheet, they’d pretty much curbstomp you until PROFIT! exploded from your skull.

In 1619 Jan Pieterszoon Coen was appointed Governor-General of the East India Company, and he had a vision that they could become pretty damn powerful in Asia: not just economically, but also politically. Which kinda sounds like the crap we have to put up with today, doesn’t it? The first move was the send 19 ships to Jayakarta and drive out the resident Banten forces there. ‘Cos that’s what mercantile companies do. Then while still sifting through the ashes they established their headquarters there and for the rest of the year starved to death or outright killed the native population. Because: PLANTATIONS!

Trade in the area bloomed under Coen’s guidance: silver and copper from Japan were used to trade with India and China for silk, cotton, porcelain, and textiles. These were traded within Asia for much coveted spices or simply brought back to Europe. Business was good and - on a day when maybe Coen was feeling less aggressive - a peaceful trading post was set up on an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, thus being the only place for 200 years where Europeans could trade with Japan.

But there was one market that was proving to be a tough nut to crack: China.

Now there had been a little trade going on as the Ming Dynasty had started to relax its policy of banning maritime trade. But that being said, the companies hold of the area was minimal and trading was far lighter than Coen would like. Additionally the Ming had really let their navy go, so piracy was rife. The East India’s man on the spot was the governor of Taiwan, Hans Putmans. Putmans decided to try and leverage favor from the Ming by helping in their anti-piracy efforts, believing that the Chinese admiral Zheng could help out by putting in a good word. He couldn’t, but he didn’t actually mention that when he accepted Hans’ help. Pissed off that he had thrown his weight in on the struggle only to get nothing out of it, Hans did what any governor would do: he attacked the Zheng’s base by surprise and elbowed it into the ground, sinking every single spanking new ship.

Which is probably not the smoothest of diplomatic negotiations.

The Dutch started to sail around the area like they owned the place, I’m talking Scumbag Steve stuff here; they pillaged at will, captured villages, and generally behaved like obnoxious tourists. Putman - amazingly - believed that this would get the Chinese to agree to trading with him, rather than … oohh … getting pissed off and attacking him. I’m still not quite sure *how* Putman came to this particular strategy for encouraging trade, but there we go.

What it *DID* do was to unite Chinese political enemies together and cause them to start planning a counter attack. And honestly who can blame them?

Zheng rebuilt his fleet: 50 large junks. But not the type of junk you’re thinking of here, I’m talking European style: bristling with cannon, reinforced gun decks, and side-firing ports. In fact Putman himself would later comment “Never before in this land so far as anyone can remember, has anyone seen a fleet like this, with such beautiful, huge, well-armed junks.” Zheng also got the local villagers to help out after offering a few coins and crammed them onto 100 small fireboats, and fireboats are always fun in naval warfare. Each fireboat was offered a reward: set fire to a Dutch ship, you’ll get 200 silver. Come back with a Dutch head, you’ll get 50 silver.

Talk about motivation.

The Dutch had 8 warships and 50 pirate junks and on October 22nd 1633 the two sides met. Zheng ordered his guys to ignore the pirates on the Dutch side and instead concentrate on the warships, and - understanding that he really couldn’t win in a cannon fight - he planned on using his fireships to do the heavy lifting.

The Dutch at the time the two sides met hadn’t even raised anchor and because they didn’t expect the large junks to come straight at them while shouting “come and have some, you bugger!” they didn’t have time to actually move and get out of the way. Fire ships started running amok - the sailors onboard jumping just before impact - and three warships were sunk.

Hans decided it was time to get out of town; negotiations were going badly.

Ming officials hailed the victory as a “miracle at sea” and it reestablished them as the authority in the Taiwan Strait.

Putman - of course - got into heaps of trouble.

NOT.

His bosses basically just said “you better stay out of that area, just in case our ships get damaged.” And that was it. He quit his pirate activities, suddenly realizing that it wasn’t working the way he wanted it to.

Ironically, Zheng earned himself much prestige and power on his return to China. SO much so in fact that he ousted his former boss, took control, and granted the Dutch trade rights. He then went on to become one of the richest men in China with - and get this - an annual income estimated at three to four times that of the whole Dutch East India Company.