taiwan history

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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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

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!

The Years of Rice and Salt 

An alternative history where Europeans become instinct in the 14th century during the Black Plague, where Muslim and Chinese civilizations through the span of over 700 years become super powers.

Though it’s a great concept, a lot of the history isn’t quite accurate.

The Siamese-Burmese War

For example, XV claims to be the “Burmese League”. Before European colonization of South Asia and Burma, Burma and Siam were in a constant neighboring war. The Burmese invade, the Siamese fight back, it was a tug of war over Thailand.

However during the 1800′s, Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam were under the rule of Siam, and often offered military troops to fight against the Burmese. But in the history where the French never colonized Indochina and the British never colonized Burma, there may be a possibility that Burma could have been successful. For Burma to take over the rest of Indochina? It depends.

Geographically, all borders of Burma is mountainous, excluding the eastern borders that remained relatively flat. There was a possibility that they could have conquered Northern Thailand, and the rest of Central, Eastern and South Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam, Malaysian peninsular and Laos became part of “Siam”.

The Rise & Fall the South Vietnamese Empire

Before French colonization, the Vietnamese survives a civil war in the North, with thousands fleeing to Khmer Krom (Now known as South Vietnam), and successfully overthrows the Champa Kingdom to become Central Vietnam and the capital changed to Hue. The weakened Khmer Empire eventually succumbs to the Vietnamese and became South Vietnam.

Siam and the Cambodians go through a short war against the Viets in the Mekong Delta, before establishing a peace treaty and co-own South Vietnam.

Vietnam could essentially exist as North & Central Vietnam.

The Chinese West

It was said that China was the first Old World member to explore the New World in 1421, by a great Naval Admiral named Zheng He. Upon his return, the Chinese Dynasty changed from an open and public nation of discovery, to a closed and isolated nation.

During the 19th century, the Qing Empire was rather very destructive and expansive empire, crushed and opposed Muslim and Chinese Ethnic rebellions in Southern China. To the North was nothing but cold frozen plains, the west was desserts, to the south were large mountainous ranges. There was nowhere else that China could go, but East.

Without the British, Dutch, Portuguese and French colonizing the Pacific, the Chinese would have done it, to even possibly retaking over Northern Vietnam and Southern Vietnam, depending on the relations the Siamese and Qing Dynasty’s relations, which were actually pretty good in trade, and not only in the fact that China went to war against Burma.

The Japanese Isolation

In the 19th Century, Japan closed itself off from the rest of the world. No one was allowed to enter or step foot on the island of Japan at all. In fact, it was because of American aggression, that forced Japan to open itself up again, but not before they opened up to Western ideals and technology, that made them politically and militarily strong enough to fight off European colonizers.

In the event that if the West had cease to exist, there is a possibility that Japan would remain Japan itself, and plus some Northern Islands. The Qing Dynasty during that time was in control of the Korean Peninsula.

However, let’s just do say that Japan does become militarily advanced either way, they would have secured Korea, Manchuria and parts of Siberia quickly without having to fight Russian forces, and the Qing Dynasty’s stubborn passions for non-Chinese advancements.

It’s Peace Memorial Day in Taiwan, and also the 68th anniversary of the 228 Incident/Massacre. My grandpa was a victim (they kidnapped and tortured him and his brother by pouring coke down their nose), so unlike many kids who use this national holiday to go out and play, this day is important to me. But it’s been more than half a century since, and looking at what’s happening around the world right now, I guess humans really just don’t learn from history…

For those who want to know a little bit more: brief summary