2011年8月28日 星期日

2011_03_Xiao Li

* Full Name: Xiao Li
* University/ Institute: Purdue University, West Lafayette
* Nationality: China

My Thoughts on Cross-Strait Relations after Studying in Taiwan for a Month

      For a full-time college student, it is fair to say that I travel often. My passports usually get stamped a few times a year, but visiting my best friend Shawn’s home province Taiwan had always been wishful thinking up until this summer. Whether you like the term Taiwan Province, or you would prefer making a distinction between “People’s Republic of China” and Taiwan (Republic of China)”, we will probably have to settle with agreeing to disagree.

     Apart from an epic summer shuffling every night, I actually went to Taipei to study Cross-Strait Relations at National Chengchi University (NCCU) – one of Purdue’s sister schools in Taiwan. NCCU excelled in dazzling visiting students with interdisciplinary and opposing views on the seemingly revived cross-strait relations. This perfectly rendered the complications and contentions embedded in the question: if Taiwan should reunify with mainland China.

     First, a bit of propaganda from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). According to Dr. Joseph Wu, former Director of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the US (a de facto Ambassador to the US), 10% of residents in Taiwan want immediate reunification, 20% prefer seeking independence, and 70% would like to maintain the status quo with mainland, as well as leaving the options up to future generations. Dr. Wu also explained that the bulk of the population hesitates to choose now, because Anti-secession Law passed by Beijing’s congress authorized the People’s Liberation Army to reunify Taiwan by force upon declaration of independence, and also because they value Taiwan’s current democratic political system.

     Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) – current ruling party of Taiwan – believes that the Republic of China founded in 1911 by the party lives on in Taiwan and Fujian Provinces, notwithstanding loosing mainland China to the Communist Party in the civil war and the consequential establishment of People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. According to Dr. Chang, a former think-tank member for the Kuomigtang President Lee Teng-hui, elderly members of Kuomintang and its veterans make up the majority of population in Taiwan that wishes to see immediate reunification of mainland China and Taiwan. Those educated middle class and younger generations are mostly indecisive, while supporters of DPP are pro-independent.

     There is no doubt on whether reunification will bring Taiwan prosperity, but resistance arises because Taiwan will not trade a transparent and democratic political system for just  more money. Indecision emerges because breaking the status quo could invite a bitter war. Across the strait, Beijing would not promise to refrain from taking over Taiwan (R.O.C.) by force, because it deems itself as the successor of Republic of China, and as the sole legal representation of China. Taiwan, being a former province of ROC should be automatically translated into a province of PRC. Things seem to be in a deadlock, and brinksmanship is prevailing.

     Political conflicts arise because people care about things. The only way to unravel the situation is to promote convergence on what we value. Reunifications always trumped the uproars of secessionists. China had seen it all in the past 5000 years. Things will only get straightened out with sincere conversations. Where future cross strait relations might hold is not even a question. Real question remains as how to facilitate the process of mutual understanding and appreciation after more than half century of separation and hostility.

British Simon refuses to do the Peace sign in the Yankee way.

Do the peace sign on the top of the hill near Taiwan's northeastern coastline.

2011年8月27日 星期六

2011_02_May Phatsorn Leelasuntaloet

* Full Name: Phatsorn Leelasuntaloet 吴美光
* University/ Institute: University of Nottingham 
* Nationality: Thailand 

        My two months in Taipei has gone by really fast, and it is soon nearly the time to go back. I had registered for Taiwan Global in Context Course and Chinese Language Class, and also had participated in the Cultural Workshops and Field Trips organized by NCCU. Everything is so interesting and it will be an unforgettable memory in my life! During my stay, I also made many good friends from the summer course and we had a good opportunity to make some exciting trips during the weekends to the East Coast and the South of Taiwan. 

        We aim to see the most of Taiwan during our stay. We went Rafting in HuaLian and RuiSui, swimming in HengChun and KenTing, and sightseeing in GaoShiong, and if possible we might be going to the Central Taiwan next weekend for the Sun-Moon Lake and off to the Western region of Taiwan to PengHu Island.

        All the trips were great experience, and we have gained the life-last knowledge that can’t be learned from any text books. We also met many nice people everywhere we gone, and all the Taiwanese we have met are so kind and warm-heart that they always willing to give you their hands if you needed one.
        One day we went for a walk on the mountain behind the campus and we were not so sure which path to take, there was a lovely old lady who we accidentally met on the path happily accompanied us along the way and talk to us as if we were her grandchildren. Another day we were at Beitou for the Hot spring, on our way back it was quite late and we were looking for a supermarket to get some snake, there is a family with 3 young kids nearby helped us to get to Careful, walked with us and talked as if we were their old friends.  Once again, during our trip to the south, we were walking to KenTing national park, but a big truck stopped by and the driver open the container to let us sit there on the way to the national park. On our way back to the hotel, we were also lucky enough to meet another generous man, he has an old empty van with no air-conditioning, but he offer us to hop on and take us back to the hostel we were staying. I believe that Taiwan is one on the very few countries in the world that you would find these kinds of scenario.

        I would love to come back to Taiwan again in the future, either for a visit or for my further study. It is a very nice country to stay. I am sure you will love it!

2011年8月26日 星期五

2011_01_Christopher Robertson Nixon

* Full Name: Christopher Robertson Nixon 
* University/ Institute: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
* Nationality: U.S.     

        The NCCU Summer School was a really great experience for me.  Even though I had already been to Taiwan three times before, I still learned and saw lots of new things.  I was especially interested in the class on "Taiwan in the Global Context."  As I have lots of Taiwanese friends, I have heard a lot about Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations before, as well as learning about it in high school history class, but this course really helped me to better understand the situation, as well as the KMT's and DPP's reasonings and philosophies.  The professors were very knowledgeable, and most of them were very interesting to listen to and speak with.  The trips organized by NCCU were very good also.  I especially enjoyed the trip to Taiwan's north coast, and the visit to the Gold Ecological Park.  The accommodations at I-House were far nicer than I expected from a university dorm.  The staff were so helpful to all of us.

        The Mandarin Chinese course was also very good.  The small class size of 7 or 8 made the classes so much better, as we could spend most of our time actually speaking with each other, rather than just listening to a teacher.  My Chinese got much better this summer, through the combination of this class, and just attempting to speak Chinese as much as possible in Taipei (and through the help of the friendly Starbucks staff, who taught me new words every day).

        The one thing I would change about this summer school is to make it longer.  We were going out every day after class to see and do things, but by the last week, we still felt that there was so much more in Taiwan that we wanted to see.  Last summer, I attended a summer school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which was six weeks long.  I think if possible, extending the NCCU summer school to six weeks would be a great improvement.  This would allow us to cover more topics in more depth in the class, as well as allow us time to go to a city other than Taipei on our own time.  We all wanted to see more of Taiwan, especially after the lecturer from the Kenting aquarium told us how beautiful the southern beaches were.

        I am considering attending the program again next summer, if the topic of the cultural class is interesting to me.  I have made many friends both in Taiwan and around the world through this summer school.  It was an amazing and exciting four weeks!  We were all sad to go home.