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China Re-asserts it is against Self-Determination for Taiwan

China has regarded Taiwan as a wayward province, to be taken by force if necessary, ever since defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with China's Communists.

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Shipping containers at Keelung port, northern Taiwan. The new government wants to seek more diverse trade partners apart from China, in order to revive shrinking trade and boost a stagnating economy. Photo: Reuters

1.3 billion people in China are resolute and united in their decision that they will never allow self-ruled Taiwan to come under Beijing’s ‘One China’ principle, China’s top official in charge of ties with the island said on Thursday, in Beijing’s latest blast at Taipei.

Leader Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party was repeatedly warned by China to join the ‘One China’ principle but the leader assumed that negative consequences might follow if they decide otherwise.

In an inaugural speech by Tsai on Friday, she urged China to keep aside the baggage of history and engage in a positive dialogue. She added that democratic principles will rule Taiwan’s ties with Beijing and peace and unity can be restored.

A meeting took place between Taiwan business representatives where the Head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun said, going against “One China” principle will only create an atmosphere of tension and have a negative influence on the ties.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

“There is no future in Taiwan independence, and this cannot become an option for Taiwan’s future. This is the conclusion of history,” Zhang said.

“Some people say you must pay attention to broad public opinion in Taiwan, and that one can understand the attitude and feelings of Taiwan’s people formed by its special historical experiences and social environment,” Zhang added.

“But, Taiwan society ought to understand and attach importance to the feelings of the 1.37 billion residents of the mainland,” he further added.

In 1949, ever since the defeated Nationalists have fled to Taiwan after a civil war with China’s communists, China has regarded Taiwan as a unruly province, to be taken by force if the situation demands so.

Foreign powers intruded and carved off bits of the declining Chinese empire for themselves in the late 19th and the early 20th century. People of China still have a painful and deep memory of the period of humiliation and national weakness.

“They have a rock-solid will that has remained consistent towards protecting national unity and not allowing the country to be split,” said Zhang.

In response to Zhang’s comments, the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s ministerial agency in charge of ties with China said, Tsai has committed to ensure the status quo in relations with China and to sustain peace and stability.

From 1895-1945, Taiwan was a part of the Japanese colony and gained the control of the island from imperial China. Therefore, China doesn’t permit the public discussion of views that will challenge the notion of Taiwan being a fragment of China.

Most of the Taiwanese feel that that the Japanese rule had a positive effect on their land. It brought progress to an undeveloped island where only agriculture prevailed. (Reuters)

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First Same-Sex Couple Ties Knot in Taiwan

Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage

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Gay and lesbian newlyweds kiss at a same-sex marriage party after registering their marriages in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2019. VOA

Same-sex couples tied the knot in emotional scenes in Taiwan on Friday, the first legal marriages in Asia hailed by activists as a social revolution for the region. Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage.

More than 160 same-sex couples married Friday, according to government data, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.

Twenty couples queued to tie the knot at a marriage registration office in downtown Taipei, where rainbow flags were on display alongside stacks of government-issued, rainbow-themed registration forms.

“I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married,” said Shane Lin, a 31-year-old baker who with his partner were the first couple to register in the Taipei office. “I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,” said a tearful Lin.

The euphoria and emotion among the island’s gay community was on display as newly-wed couples walked down a rainbow-colored carpet in a nearby park, watched by families and friends as well as diplomats and reporters.

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Gay newlyweds walk on a giant rainbow flag at a same-sex marriage party after registering their marriage in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2019. VOA

‘The right we deserved’

Chi Chia-wei, an activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, congratulated the couples.

“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago,” he said, draped in a giant rainbow flag that symbolizes the colors of the international gay movement.

“As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” he added.

Supporters also celebrated on social media, sharing posts with the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement.

Friday’s celebration followed a years-long tussle over marriage equality that culminated in the 2017 declaration by the constitutional court giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and setting a deadline of May 24 for legislation.

Marriage equality was backed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but the measure could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen’s bid for a second term in elections next year.

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Gay couple Cynical Chick, left, and Li Ying-Chien display the wedding certificate at the Household Registration Office in Shinyi district in Taipei, May 24, 2019. VOA

Conservative groups that oppose same-sex marriage said the legislation disrespected the people’s will.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized by Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be returned to the fold by force, if necessary.

It marks another milestone in Taiwan’s development as one of the region’s more liberal societies, in contrast with China’s strongly autocratic government.

ALSO READ: Taiwan’s Parliament Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, Mass Weddings Planned

Across the strait, many Chinese congratulated Taiwan’s newlywed same-sex couples on platforms such as Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

“For once I thought the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan would impact on the Chinese government, making them heed our appeals,” one Weibo user said. “But then I found the shock actually makes the government more scared, stepping up their crackdown on us.” (VOA)