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Showing posts with the label taiwanese history

Taipei's Beimen MRT Station and Its Hidden Treasures

Two days ago I took for the first time the new Songshan-Xindian MRT line (松山新店線, Line 3), which opened on November 15 (I wasn't in Taiwan at the time). The new line is an extension of the former Xindian-Danshui Line , which connected Xindian, in the southern part of New Taipei City, and Danshui  (淡水), in the north. This South-North axis has now been split and two distinct MRT lines have been created: the Danshui-Xinyi Line  (淡水信義線), and the aforementioned Songshan-Xindian line. One interesting result of the completion of the MRT network is that all of the five city gates of Qing Dynasty Taipei Walled City now have stations named after them - Ximen (西門, 'West Gate'), Dongmen (東門, 'East Gate'), Beimen (北門, 'North Gate'), Nanmen (南門, 'South Gate') and Xiaonanmen (小南門, 'Little South Gate'). This highlights the infrastructural importance of the gates and of the boulevards which the Japanese constructed after the city walls' demolition

Is Taiwan Chinese? - Or, Taiwan and Chinese Nationalism

Time and again I stumble upon pro- or anti-Chinese articles that try to prove or disprove that Taiwan is a part of China. And I always wonder why - in the year 2014 - we are still discussing such issues as if the past had taught us nothing. Recently I read another one of those posts in which the author tried to show that Taiwan 'never belonged to China'. This question is as irrelevant to Taiwan's future as the question whether Alaska ever belonged to Russia is for the United States. There is a clear distinction between politics and history, and this distinction should be maintained and explained, so that people do not confuse the two categories. Chinese Nationalism and the New State Theory First of all, we must understand why the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that Taiwan is part of its territory. Simply put, when the Qing Empire was defeated, humiliated and colonised by Western powers, Chinese intellectuals began to absorb Western ideas, among t

The 1979 Kaohsiung Incident

The Kaohsiung Incident of 1979 (Chinese: 高雄事件, pinyin: Gāoxióng Shìjiàn)  marked a turning point in the history of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. It was one of the last acts of repression of political dissent carried out by the Guomindang one-party state. Although in the short-term the old brutal ways of the regime triumphed, in the long run the opposition was strengthened, and the most progressive forces of Taiwanese society, including many liberal Guomindang politicians, realised that the days of authoritarianism were numbered.  Many opposition leaders involved in the Kaohsiung Incident were soon to form a new political elite of the ROC, who would advance the cause of democracy, human rights, and constitutional government. Although many within the ruling Guomindang also endorsed democratisation, the contribution of those people who were unjustly arrested and punished by the state because of their ideas to the progress of Taiwan's political system and civil society