The visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chair Chen Yunlin marks a historic moment in cross strait relations. Chen is the highest ranking official of the PRC ever to visit Taiwan. His five day visit to Taiwan includes talks on economic and transport links.
While some welcomed his visit many Taiwanese were extremely concerned that it threatened the nation's sovereignty. It comes after newly elected President Ma Ying-jeou told a Mexican magazine in August that relations between Taiwan and China were between two regions. This downgraded the state to state formulations made during the terms of the two previous Presidents, Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui.
Chen arrived in Taiwan on Monday 3 November. Approximately 7,000 police were mobilised to prevent any protests. However, the actions of police went far beyond merely preventing any disruptions to Chen's visit. Bloggers had plenty of comments on the actions of the police.
CoffeeShop was one of three women who were assaulted and detained by police for carrying Tibetan flags. She wrote:
I sincerely request every blogger and online friend to read this. Don't use every kind of action to go out and protest against Chen Yunlin and the police.
Because, Taiwanese people, I'm afraid the next one to be on the receiving end of this kind of violence will be you. I'm really scared.
Du Gu Mu（獨孤木） @ disappearing ROC asked if legal gatherings can make Chen Yunlin understand Taiwan's democracy.
Melon Daily wrote that they never imagined the police would snap the national flag.
This one police officer acted harshly to the ROC flag which is the national symbol of ROC. But on Zhongshan North Road [near the Grand Hotel] a group called the China Unification Promotion Party was able to wave the Chinese five star flag to welcome Chen Yunlin's motorcade.
June Beans Charles said the orders of superiors overruled the law.
The police suddenly don't even recognize the laws of the nation, they're just following the orders of their superiors. Obviously they're carrying out their duties without regard to the law. Obviously they're destroying the ordinary people's freedom. Obviously they don't know the appropriate way to take action. But in the police officers’ eyes you can see a natural expression. It's as if they are happy to destroy the people's freedoms. It's as if they see safeguarding the interests of higher authorities as more important than protecting the people's interests.
This is just the attitude of a warlord!
Aren't these actions peaceful enough? However, the police have made vows to protect the solemn and sacred laws which prohibit everyone coming together for parade or assembly, no matter whether its reasoned or passionate, peaceful or violent.
To speak even a bit more extremely, in the eyes of the police the people's existence is violence, the people's will is violence. It seems that the middle class think violence, except for state violence is always wrong, so why don't they need to have an inquiry about this violence if people's existence is violence?
English language bloggers also had something to say about the police. Eric at Taiwan Dream Foundation wrote that the arrival of Chen Yunlin looked like a return to martial law and was also a huge waste of police resources.
How does Ma Ying Jeou ( 馬英九) and his government deal with a person like this? By deploying 10,000 Taiwanese police just to protect Chen Yun Lin's eyes and ears from seeing and hearing the voice of the Taiwanese people. By the way, the entire police force in Taiwan numbers 70,000 to put the 10,000 into perspective. If Ma Ying Jeou is so worried that Chen Yun Lin might see the R.O.C. flag or hear someone say that Taiwan is independent and not a part of China, then he should just give Chen Yun Lin a blindfold and some ear plugs. Problem solved, and just think of all the money Taiwan could save.
A-gu at That's Impossible: Politics from Taiwan writes of some incidents that make it seem like martial law really has returned.
I think it's fair to say the government really is going WAY too far. The excuse that police are only taking measures designed to protect Chen's safety and avoid illegal demonstrations is simply not true. Martial law really is in the air. Arbitrary detentions and “banned songs” are back from the dead.
Lao Ren Cha responded to the way the media often labels Taiwan independence supporters as extremists.
They're not extremists! Well, some are. If you want extremists – those guys with that van on Dihua Street who advocate China joining the USA as the 51st state (well, 53rd after Canada and Iraq I suppose) fit the bill better. They're activists, and more people agree with them than foreign correspondents seem to realize – but so many independence-minded people don't dare say so, and realize that recognized, de jure independence is unrealistic now. That doesn't make those who voice their views extremists. It means they're exercising their right to free speech.
Looking at the last protest, I don't think 600,000 people (the author himself offers this figure below) can be labeled as ‘extremists’ – they're a legitimate political bloc.
tony4tw laments the attack on freedom of speech and calls on all bloggers to unite and take action.
As a Taiwanese citizen here in Taiwan, we are asking for your help. Today, we were getting oppressed to our freedom of speech. Tomorrow, will we loose our right to any forms of freedom? After China’s invasion of Taiwan, Taiwanese will all be marched to the concentration camp! Therefore, all the Taiwanese beseech all the Plurkers to help us by passing out our message. Without your help, we are all alone! With your help, we will be able to raise awareness and fight the Goliath.
As Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan continues there are sure to be many more loud voices in the blogosphere making their opinions known.
*Thanks to Portnoy for his assistance with this article.
I thought Bush stepped down, so there’s no more terrorist funding?! Maybe I am wrong, maybe Obama has already funded Taiwan?! hahhahahahah
Ok, the Taiwanese that rioted, they should be treated harsher than the tibetans, although China was afraid of Bush, so they let the tibetans murders free.
Anyway, the rioting people in Taiwan are pigs, dogs, Zhu cu bu ru! I urge China to march the military into Taiwan and take over while this is a good chance. Taiwan started the fight, give them some!
Listen Chen Shui Fang and supporters!
When you died, your soul will be trapped in hell FOREVER because you sucked Taiwans’ resources, and it dried up!
I already suggested you to care your countrymen more than another country’s “ex-president.”
About the law-making and law enforcement, we will take care of it ourselves. You do not need to worry about it.
By the way, is Sanlu sued by the Chinese who lost their babies due to the melamine-contaminated milk powder? How is law enforcement in China? Contaminated food is more bloody than its appearance.
As a Taiwanese, I don’t think “Get Real” understands the right to express opinion. But I strongly agree “Get Real”’s suggestion that Chinese citizen should stay away from Taiwan.
I remember I was crying when I saw the picture about Pope’s funeral. I was sad about the great man passed away but the reason I cried was our national flag in the picture. I was thinking: “This might be the only foreign land allowing us to have our own flag”. It’s not difficult to find the video clips online to see how Chinese grabbed away our national flag violently from our athletes, or any other international activities participants. Now we need to fight to have our national flag at our land!
I am not promoting this “enemy” relation with Chinese people. I don’t deny Chinese culture in Taiwan. The question is how you grow up plays the big influence on how you think. I live in USA now and I have a friend from China. She thought that everyone was picking on Chinese government during Olympic game. I think the “education” in China just “super”! I kind of expected that Chinese people would appreciate the freedom after they move to USA and they would see what is happening in China better and realize they need to improve how the government works. I have another theory now. When Chinese people are able to move to another country, they probably live pretty well in their own country and they don’t have much complaint and they don’t want to see the problem either. Give me good material life and I can shut up. How about people live in the inland area? Chinese government has money to depress Taiwan’s diplomatic position and they needed the donation for the earthquake disaster. Don’t get the wrong idea that I oppose the help for the disaster. But can’t you see why we shouldn’t “pick on” Chinese government?
I am so disappointed at President Ma (if I can’t pick on Chinese government, at least I have the right to pick on our own government). The only most efficient thing he did is to drag down Taiwan. I am so proud of those people who joined the protest and expressed their opinion peacefully!
There must be some reasons why Taiwanese people resent Chinese people so much. Taiwanese people treat foreigners from other places in the world just fine. It must have something to do with the fact that PRC government keep claiming Taiwan their territory and prohibit Taiwan’s national flag to appear on international events. (And we see how rude Chinese people get when Taiwan’s national flags happened to show up.) When I saw the incidents on TV (the insults, the throwing), I thought it was the Chinese people seeing Taiwan’s national flag again, then I realize it was the other way around.
Is the Republic of China flag the proper flag to be flying in Taiwan?
According to the legal record, Taiwan was sovereign Japanese territory until the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on April 28, 1952. However, in this treaty, the sovereignty of Taiwan was not awarded to “China.”
Wouldn’t it then be reasonable to say that the ROC flag should come down? So, why is the ROC flag still flying over Taiwan today? Perhaps the answer is that the ROC government in exile is firmly entrenched in Taiwan. See http://www.taiwankey.net/dc/rocexile-ex.htm
Carol, do you want to see China and USA and Taiwan go to war, do you want world war III?
Shame on you, what happens to world peace? People like you will cause WWIII, do we want it?! NO! We need dialogue, not UNcivilized rioting, looting, and murdering. That’s UNdemocratic, and it’s given democratic a BAD name!
I thought your have your own forum, why are you trolling other peoples’ forums?!
Of course I care about my countrymen, that’s why I voted democratic for USA!
Why did you go to so many “forums” to show your resentment toward Taiwan’s ex-president? Mr. Chen is not the president now, and he was neither Chinese or American’s president.
It’s so funny that you think I have no right to join the conversation. I am sorry that you disagree with my opinions I wrote here, but I have every right to join the conversation.
By the way, do not threat Carol under the name of peace like your Chinese government! People like you who threat others are people who want to go to war. Shame on you!
Are you living in Tainwan? Are you Tiawanese? Dont be so shallow to make the comments that you dont know what the siutations in Taiwan.
By the way, to the people like as Knight, get real who may come from China,a communistic country, criticized the decocracy in Taiwan and told Taiwansese what is the democracy look like is such as Ridilicious and hilarious. How do you know what the democracy is? Have China democratized? Tke good care of your country, dont show how foolish you are.