February 26, 2005


Editorial: Listen to the Presbyterians (Taipei Times, Feb 24, 2005)

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan on Tuesday issued a "Statement on Justice and Peace," advocating that Taiwanese sovereignty and independence should be the basis for interparty cooperation and negotiation. The statement also said that the quest for justice and peace is the common responsibility of the international community from which Taiwan long has been ostracized in violation of universal principles of justice and peace. The statement ended by calling for the establishment of a new relationship between Taiwan and China, saying that the two nations should recognize each other based on the principles of equality, mutual benefits and peaceful co-existence. [...]

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan fought fiercely against the KMT's authoritarian rule. The atmosphere around Tainan Theological College and Seminary, which was responsible for training new missionaries, became one of fear, as the elderly warned young people not to linger near the school, so as not to be arrested by the Taiwan Military Garrison Command for no reason. The Thai-Peng-Keng Maxwell Memorial Church was even seen as a base for the pro-independence movement.

With such a unique historical background, although Christianity is not the most common religion here, the political concern of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan actually represents the origins of Taiwan awareness.

All through the 1970s, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan resisted political oppression. Following its 1971 "Statement on our National Fate," in which it recommended holding "elections of all representatives to the highest government bodies" and called on the international community to recognize that the people of Taiwan had the right to decide their own future, there were many other statements. In 1975, it published a call for the government to deal with Taiwan's foreign affairs situation and guarantee the livelihood of the people. In 1977 the Church made its declaration on human rights, demanding that Taiwan's future be decided by the people who lived in Taiwan and calling on Taiwan to become a new and independent nation.

Whenever there has been unrest in society, the Presbyterian Church has come forward to declare their love of God, and their love of Taiwan. Tuesday's statement is something that the president and premier should certainly heed.

Taiwan is not and never will be a part of China.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2005 8:14 PM

There is a path which can lead to unification, but it ios still far off. I remember flying into Taipei in the '70's and seeing a billboard at the airport: "Welcome to Taiwan--Citidel of Freedom, Christianity and Anti-Communism."

Never forget that what is called "Communism," especially in its Lenist progeny, is a Devil's work, a reaction against the progress of Christianity. Wait, wait for "Communism" and Boxerism to fade.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 26, 2005 9:03 PM

Never say never. The old guys crappie fishing club and poker society that runs China right now could blow away in a minute. Unification based on democracy and free trade could follow 30 seconds thereafter.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 26, 2005 9:52 PM

Wow! Why couldn't we have a Presbyterian church like that here in the US???

Posted by: at February 27, 2005 12:51 AM

Taiwan is historically a part of China even if most of its people are not Han Chinese(unlike 94% of the PRC). There will be a peaceful re-unification down the road, once the PRC goes through its convulsions after the current hybrid system collapses of its own weight and internal contradictions. But that is a long way off.

Posted by: Bart at February 27, 2005 6:45 AM

The politics of Taiwanese independence is a dense minefield of cow manure on both sides, but it probably won't hurt to clarify a few things. First, most Taiwanese are indeed descended from Han Chinese who went to the island from the Chinese mainland sometime over the past few hundred years. The only Taiwanese who aren't ethnic Chinese are the several hundred thousand aboriginals, who are Taiwan's equivalent of America's native Americans and who are of Polynesian origin. But there is no eternal rule of politics that says all ethnic Chinese must be controlled by one government. The many millions of Chinese who live in Singapore and Southeast Asia will attest to that. Second, Taiwan was governed by mainland officials, but for a much shorter time than most other territories that at one time or other had been part of a Chinese empire. Before the Ch'ing dynasty, China's last, Taiwan had never been ruled by a mainland regime. Only under the Ch'ing, which was strictly speaking not a Chinese dynasty but a non-Chinese Manchu one (Manchus were a tribe in Northeast Asia that invaded and conquered China in the 17th century), did Taiwan become a neglected and very minor part of imperial territory. Third, there is no doubt that Taiwan's politics have changed beyond recognition over the past half century, in many of the same ways that America's colonies became politically divorced from mother Britain even before the American Revolution. While mainland China continue to remain saddled with a grotesque form of dynastic politics, Taiwan has developed into a full-blown democracy whose presidents are directly elected by the people and whose citizens enjoy civil, human, and political rights undreamt of on the mainland and in Hong Kong. In short, there are no inevitabilities in Chinese and Taiwanese history. History is too complex for that. "Reunification" might or might not come some day, but it is not inevitable.

Posted by: X at February 27, 2005 9:12 AM

I always love it when 'X' posts.

Posted by: Randall Voth at February 27, 2005 10:19 AM


Amen, brother. I want him to write posts but he won't email me...

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2005 10:30 AM