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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Going from soft to sharp

Beijing was not happy about Premier William Lai (賴清德) reiterating his support for Taiwanese independence at the legislature on Friday last week. The state-run Global Times published an editorial lambasting Lai for his “presumptuous” words. It also suggested the Chinese government consider initiating a new avenue of attack against Taiwanese independence advocates.

Taiwanese commentators have criticized what they feel is the excessive nature of this suggested approach, and of its implications for free speech and sovereignty. However, what is also interesting is the editorial’s frank description of the context of Beijing’s “united front” strategy.


Lai stresses independence, free speech

Premier William Lai speaks at a forum on free speech held by the Ministry of the Interior in Taipei yesterday, ahead of Freedom of Expression Day on Saturday.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday reiterated his position on Taiwanese independence and called on China to respect freedom of speech, as Beijing ramped up its rhetoric.


High-ranking US official may attend AIT opening

The American Institute in Taiwan’s new compound is pictured in Taipei’s Neihu District on Sunday.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

A high-ranking official from the US Department of State is likely to visit Taiwan to mark the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) new compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) in June, a government official said.


Transitional justice more than statues

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) on Tuesday announced the winners of a banknote design contest, which he held up as part of an effort to remove authoritarian symbols from the nation’s currency.

The DPP has over the past year taken aim at various authoritarian symbols as part of implementing transitional justice, most notably calling for the removal of statues and other references to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from the nation’s schools. The issue has been a major point of contention as activists vandalize statues and push the government to act quickly to remove them, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and older veterans strongly condemn such actions.


A trade war would harm China more than the US

The US-China trade war has begun.

At first, China threatened revenge, saying it would “fight to the end” and warning the US to “pull back before it is too late.” When the threats were ineffective, China pretended to care more for the US than the US itself, saying a trade war would harm other nations and the US.

The trade war is certainly going to harm China more than the US. Without a war, China would continue stealing intellectual property and enjoy a substantial trade surplus, and the US would never be able to turn things around.


Surrender, opposition to US are silly ideas

Taiwan’s pro-unification media outlets and academics all have a rigid formulaic response to any issue related to Taiwan’s difficult international situation: Destroy the relationship between Taiwan and the US and between Taiwan and Japan, and if Washington is friendly to Taipei, slander the US and accuse it of playing the “Taiwan card” as a way of dealing with China.

The subtext of this response is that Taiwan should avoid being used by Washington, that moving closer to the US will only increase China’s pressure on Taiwan and that cross-strait relations should be improved to counterbalance the relationship with the US.

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Lee Ching-yu, wife of detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che, yesterday tries to board her flight to China at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Photo: EPA

Lee Ching-yu (李淨瑜), wife of detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), was yesterday prevented from boarding a plane to Beijing to search for her husband after her “Taiwan compatriot travel document” was canceled by the Chinese government.