2/24/2007

Chinese Exploit Formosa Worse Than [Japanese] Did

I came across an interesting article from June 10th, 1946 in Time, the magazine that made Chiang Kai-shek and Song May-lin "Man and Woman of the Year" three years prior while searching for the March 14, 1946 headline of The Washington Daily News, which ran with this: "Exclusive Inside Report: Chinese Exploit Formosa Worse Than Japs Did".
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"At last, eight months after V-J day, sugar-starved China was getting supplies from its new sugarbowl, Formosa. Ships were plying the 400 miles from Kiirun to Shanghai with the first of 150,000 tons of Japanese stores confiscated by the Chinese Army that took over the island, under U.S. tutelage, last fall. But the resumption of trade with tropically lush, industrially rich Formosa was a sweet-&-sour business.

Formosans complained that the Chinese occupation army was looting stocks, letting crops, refineries, railroads and power plants go to rack & ruin. Just as angry Shanghailanders, who could buy only from the government-backed Formosa Sugar Co., feared that a colossal sugar corner was being rigged in the already disastrous black market."
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I think it was decided that the railroads and power plants were packed off to China to feed the war effort or just to be sold off so that corrupt officials could pocket the money.

"Of the Moon & Sun. The Japanese, who seized Formosa after their first war on China 50 years ago, ruthlessly exploited its land and people. Formosa made Japan the world's fourth sugar-producer; it yielded enough rice to feed all the Mikado's armies as well as coal and tin, gold, silver and copper; teak and camphor (70% of U.S. mothballs) and aromatic Oolong tea. At mountain-ringed Jitsu-Getsu-Tan—Lake of the Moon and Sun—the Japanese built the nucleus of a power system that put Formosa industrially ahead of the Philippines."
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Chen Yi (Taiwan's first KMT governor) put a member of his own family at the head of Taiwan's multi-million dollar tea industry.

"The Taiwan (after the island's Asiatic name) Development Co. rigidly controlled industry and trade, brought half a million Japanese to live among six million Formosans (chiefly Chinese who have pushed the Malayan headhunters into the mountains). World War II brought B-29 raids to Formosa, and liberation brought the scarcely more welcome visitation of Chinese bureaucracy. (Formosans use the adjective "Chinese" as a synonym for inefficiency and confusion.) The new Chinese Governor Chen Yi found the raid-battered Formosans docile. He promptly put his nephew in charge of the Taiwan Co., which bought coal at 200 yen a ton and sold it at 4,000. Black-market gold sold at 300,000 Chinese dollars an ounce, against $180,000 in Shanghai. Even in fertile Formosa, mass starvation threatened.

Japan Got the Atom. Chen Yi rounded up scores of 'collaborators' while his pooh-bahs made themselves snug. Last week "Down with the Governor!" posters appeared all over the island. In two towns, hungry natives burned sugar godowns. Formosans greeted the few visiting Americans with: 'You were kind to the Japanese, you dropped the atom on them. You dropped the Chinese on us!'

Thoughtful Chinese on the mainland began to agree with the Formosans. Said Ta Rung Pao, China's counterpart of the New York Times: 'Fundamentally speaking, China was not qualified to take over . . . she lacks the men . . . technique . . . commodities . . . capital. She governs, but is inefficient. She takes, but she does not give. This is the government's shame.'
Most foreign observers in Formosa agreed that if a referendum were taken today Formosans would vote for U.S. rule. Second choice—Japan."

Note: None of these companies, stolen from Taiwan by the KMT, originally had China or Chinese in their names.

War Time Propaganda

My brother sent this to me. In 1942, the US War Department designed this comic book as part of a pocket book distributed to GI's fighting in the Asian theater. I remember seeing more of this kind of advice at a museum in Singapore claiming that the Japanese were generally cowardly and couldn't see at night (wrong on both counts and updated in this comic).
I've read that negativity directed towards the Japanese, especially in comparison to Chinese, predated the war and that Roosevelt also had a strong dislike for the former. This probably had a lot to do with the Soong's and their connection to the Roosevelts, the Methodist Church and various US publications including Reader's Digest and Time (which name Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling man and woman of the year). In 1943, Soong May-ling became the second woman and first Chinese person to address the US Congress. Her little brother, T.V. Soong, is reported to have been a regular guest at the White House, where he played poker with the president.
It goes without saying that Japan threatened US interests in the Asian Pacific region a lot more than China.


A lot is made of the bushido code of the samurai: "Rippa ni shinde kudasai" or "Please die beautifully!" or "Don't let those barbarians get their smelly paws on you!" is what Japanese families might have told their relatives going off to fight. Still there were lots of Japanese in POW camps in New Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada.



2/23/2007

Power Line Park

This is a cool little park by my apartment in Taipei. A power line dissects it, and there is even some farming off to the side.


I often wonder how people are able to farm in a park. Isn't the land public? Is this one of those cases where there's a deed and nobody knows who it belongs to? Are the cops too embarrassed to talk to the kindly old folks that are maintaining it?

There's the bench I often sit on to read. Today, a dog was barking at me furiously. Then three old women came along, speaking with mainland accents (Wenshan 文山 is a mainlander community in Eastern Taipei) and one of them remarked: "It figures. Doggie-dog doesn't like ghosts." We had a bit of a chat, and explained to them that I was actually a man and not a ghost; I told them they could pinch my arm if they were still unsure.



This is the public restroom provided by Power Line Park. 公廁 means "public toilet".

2/21/2007

Stuck in Taipei with the Thailand Blues Again


Da-an Park at noon. So this is what Taipei looks like on Chinese, I mean Lunar, New Year? Where have the people gone?



Rear window view. All dressed up and nowhere to go.





Wanlong MRT Station at 6:00 pm

2/18/2007

Canadian MP on Organ Harvesting in China and on Taiwan Independence

I came across two interesting (one chilling) reports by David Kilgour, Canadian Liberal Party MP from south Edmonton. One is on an interview he gave while visiting Spain about the organ harvesting of Fulan Gong Practitioners that seems to be going on in China. The other is about meeting President Chen in the Ukraine and more generally Canada's hypocritical Taiwan policy.
In the former, Mr. Kilgour alleges that:
"Fulan practitioners are victims of live organ havesting throughout China. The allegation is that organ harvesting is inflicted on unwilling Fulan Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations, puruant to a systematic policy, in large numbers."
"Unwilling?" Talk about an understatement. Mr. Kilgour continues:
"The allegation is further that the organs are harvested from the [Fulan Gong] practioners while they are still alive. The practitioners are killed in the course of the organ harvesting operations or immediately thereafter. These operations are a form of murder.

Finally, we are told that the practitioners killed in this way are cremated. There is no corpse left to examine to identify as the source of the transplant (Kilgour, 2006, p.6)."

The full text of the report can be found at Kilgour's website:



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Mr. Kilgour also writes about meeting Taiwan's President Chen a couple of years ago in the Ukraine, where he offered Chen an orange scarf bought in Kiev's Independence Square. Kilgour says this of Taiwan: "[Taiwan is one of the] world's best democratic and economic success stories. Taiwan is really what China should be. "

He outlines some ideas for revamped Canada-Taiwan ties:

1. Canada should vote in favour of Observer Status for Taiwan at the WHO.
2. Canada should permit high-level visits from Taiwan.
3. Canada should support increased security in East Asia which includes this statement: "Why not urge the People's Republic of China and Taiwan both to agree to disarmament, with China withdrawing all 707 missiles in the coastal provinces across the Taiwan Strait?"
4. Canada should sign a free-trade agreement with Taiwan.
5. Canada should apply visitor visa exemption for Taiwanese Citizens.

Mr. Kilgour's language is interesting. At no place does he refer to China as the mainland or Taiwan as the ROC. Taiwan is simply Taiwan and its people are Taiwanese.
I strongly disagree with #5, however, as I see Taiwan's visa and immigration policies as at best non-inclusive. Frankly speaking, they are just racist. Someone should fill him on and outline how archaic, ugly and non-reciprocal these policies are regarding Canadians and other Westerners in Taiwan. (As Mr. Kilgour has been to Taiwan many times, and even served here, it's pretty lame.)


2/10/2007

May He Rest in Peace

The China Post journalists have been all over recents efforts by their government to remove the statues of Chiang Kai-shek from view. On Wednesday, their editorialists had this to say http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/archives/editorial/200728/102007.htm:

"The DPP had bigger things in its sights, namely the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This impressive structure was built to preserve the memory of the founder of modern Taiwan. Taiwan is still known in the West as Free China -- the same Free China Chiang preserved against all attempts to crush it. No-one cares about the DPP and their narrow, inward looking ideology. All the DPP has done for Taiwan's international reputation is to blacken it by their thuggish tactics in the Legislature.
When mainland Chinese visitors come here as tourists, they don't care about the DPP -- they want to see the history of China that has been denied them, such as Chiang's role in fighting the Japanese and the Northern Expedition that reunited China.
The "study" on which the DPP base their Cultural Revolution was nothing but a kangaroo court of scholars -- they set out to arrive at a predetermined result. Renaming the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall the 'Taiwan Democratic Memorial Hall' is an insult to all Chinese -- including the people of Taiwan. "


Several questions come to mind:
1. Isn't "Free China" an oxymoron? I for one have never heard anyone in the West refer to Taiwan as "Free China." Most people simply call it "Taiwan." I have heard older people, like my grandparents, call it "Formosa."
2. Do people in the West actually understand that "Taiwanese" people are "Chinese?" It seems to me that they are separate groups.
3. "No-one cares about the DPP and their narrow, inward looking ideology" - Isn't this why Chen is trying to emphasize Taiwanese nativism, so that people will start to care? What's the matter with being "inward looking," especially if that means celebrating your own culture?
4. Are there really "mainland Chinese visitors," who come here to learn about history "that has been denied them?" This is really quite interesting, but I've never heard about it before. I just figured they'd appreciate the island's desire to wash its hand of the Chiangs? That is after all what they did over half a century ago.

2/08/2007

Can't Get Rid of the Statues

The China Post has run front-page articles on both Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 6 and 7), covering the removal of Chiang Kai-shek statues from Taiwan army barracks. The paper has also pointed out that a pesky group of DPP lawmakers is pushing to rename of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as The Taiwan Democracy Hall. Needless to say, this is pissing off KMT legislators, who are claiming that the DPP is rewriting Taiwan's history (since when has Taiwan been democratic, etc.?).
There is a drive to get the statues off the barracks before February 27, as it will be the 60th anniversary of the 2-28 Massacre, where some 30,000 Taiwanese and mainlanders as well were killed. According to DPP lawmakers Chai Trong-rong, Sandy Yen and Hsueh Ling, Chiang is the main "culprit" behind 2-28. (I guess they're talking about, among other things, Chiang's infamous telegram to Taiwan governor Chen Yi, ordering to him "kill them all.")
Defense officials are trying to downplay the removal, claiming that the statues are only being carefully set aside so that they don't get rusty. If the KMT wins in 2008, they promise to dust them off and bring them back out in all their glory.

Grenada Plays Taiwan Anthem for Mainland

Al Jazeera is reporting that Grenada played the national anthem of Taiwan at the inauguration of a US$40 million dollar stadium. They had been meaning to thank China, who footed the bill and had some officials on hand for the proceedings.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D7E442E9-F441-4FAA-998F-B165EF2CD6CF.htm

2/01/2007

Chiang Kai-shek is Still Kicking Around




There are still a lot of these around. This one is at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Library 中正記圖書館 (the main library at National Chengchi University). Even though Chiang Kai-shek rubbed out a portion of the island's scholars in the 2-28 Massacre and had even a larger portion jailed during the White Terror days of the fifties, he is still associated with learning.
Since 2000 (when Chen Shui-bien 陳水扁 became president), there has been an effort to remove his name from buildings. Many of his statues have been carted away.
The airport, which was named Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in remembrance of all those that left Taiwan because of Chiang Kai-shek's policies, was renamed the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last year: