Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

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Americans Support Taiwan (but can’t find it on a map)

September 24, 2007

Yesterday there was an article on the front page of the Taipei Times, announcing that the majority of Americans support Taiwan’s bid for UN membership. Apparently, according to a recent Zogby telephone poll, American liberals and conservatives are both inclined to oppose China’s stance on the issue and approve Taiwan entering the UN. Well, that’s cool, right?

Except that I could have sworn that most Americans don’t know the difference between Taiwan and Thailand. And it turns out, I’m right. According to the article, out of the Americans being polled, only 39% said that they were “familiar with Taiwan”. 14% believe Taiwan is not a democracy and 42% don’t know if it is or not. Almost 1/3 of respondents were unsure how developed Taiwan is.

Now, consider that “none of the questions made reference to Taiwan’s international status or the background to the Taiwanese government’s bid to join the UN.” So, a large percentage of the people being polled didn’t really know why it’s even an issue. They were just guessing, maybe?

To be fair, it seems that 72% of Americans think that, in regards to UN membership, “all countries should be treated equally and without discrimination.” 81% say the U.S. “should respect every country’s right to UN membership based on the principles of democracy and self-determination.” So maybe they weren’t just giving random answers after all.

Still, I have to wonder if the results were a bit skewed by the fact that the respondents didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.

Here are a couple articles: link and link

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Just Another Taipei Day

October 28, 2006

My plan for today was to go to the “Roots and Shoots Animal Parade” in Taipei with Amy, an English teacher from Iowa who I met at a party last weekend, and her boyfriend.  The parade was to raise awareness about protecting Taiwan’s animals, and Jane Goodall was there.  Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it to the parade but we did get to see most of Dr. Goodall’s speech.  It wasn’t anything new or spectacular, but there are some people that make you feel special just for having stood within a few inches of them.  Afterwards we speculated about where she was flying off to next and what it would be like to live a life like hers when you’re in your 70’s.

As I waited for the bus back to Luzhou I found myself, as usual, surrounded by chanting people in red shirts.  If you’re not in Taiwan you probably don’t know about the current events here, but for over a month now people have been protesting daily in front of the train station in an effort to force the president, Chen Shui-bian, to resign.  Chen has survived two recall votes in parliament.  At first the protests were 24/7, but for the last week or so they’ve only been at night.  They chant “A-bian xia tai!”, step down A-bian! (president’s nickname).  Anyway, the whole point of this explanation was just to say that tonight they were chanting “xia tai xia tai” in rhythm to “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana and it amused me greatly.

On the way home I fought off claustrophobic panic by counting people on the 24-seat bus.  61.