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Golden Horse Controversy

Opinion: China is Part of Taiwan, and Taiwan is Part of the World


Opinion: China is Part of Taiwan, and Taiwan is Part of the World

Source:TGHFF Facebook Fanpage 

It goes without saying that politics is art, and art is politics. Render unto politics what is political, and unto art what is artistic, or you will be left with sound and fury signifying nothing—a poor reflection on both art and politics.



Opinion: China is Part of Taiwan, and Taiwan is Part of the World

By Chang Cheng
web only

“Our Youth in Taiwan” won Best Documentary in this year’s Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards. Congratulations. This film documents the stories of Taiwanese activist Chen Wei-ting and Chinese student Tsai Bo Yi, both prominent figures in the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement. (Read: Inside Taiwan's Sunflower Movement)

Director Fu Yue, whose parents are ethnic Chinese from Malaysia and Indonesia, stoked controversy during her acceptance speech when she said she hoped Taiwan could be regarded as an independent entity. This pinched a nerve across the strait. Cue the indignation, the abrupt cancellation of the event’s live coverage, and hordes of angry Chinese netizens zeroing in on her social media accounts.

People say Fu Yue should not have made political statements “at an event like this.” My response is: “hogwash.”

Politics is Art, and Art is Politics

A vessel is defined by the content it holds, and content is shaped by the vessel that carries it. In the case of the Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, every last detail: where it is held, who are the judges, what are the categories, who is invited and what they wear and what they say onstage—everything is art and politics at the same time. (Read: Rise of the Haters, Preventing Fake News)

Not to mention the name “Golden Horse” itself is a pun on the islands Kinmen and Matsu, Taiwan’s first line of defense against Communist invaders. Even the decision to allow all Chinese-language films to compete, regardless of where they were made, was a political decision.

Fu Yue was exercising her freedom of speech when she expressed her political opinion during her acceptance speech. Even the sharp rebuttal from Chinese actor Tu Men, winner of Best Actor from last year’s Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, was him exercising his freedom of speech.

He pointedly said: “It’s a special honor to be back in Chinese Taiwan for the Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, I feel both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family.” Well said, sir. Taiwan welcomes your participation in our free exchange of ideas. (Read: The Specter of ‘Illiberal Democracy’)

Taiwan is small and not part of the UN. But we have free speech.

A Bit Smaller, a Little Less is No Problem.

You can find faults with Taiwan—and there are many—but you cannot fault our freedom of speech. You are free to say “Taiwan is part of China,” and you are free to say Taiwan is independent, or that there are two Chinas, or “I hope Taiwan can be regarded as an independent entity.” All of these ideas are protected. (Read: President Tsai : ‘We Are Determined to Defend the Values of Taiwan's Diverse Democracy’)

If you ask me, I say “China is part of Taiwan.” And so are Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, and the United States.

They are all part of Taiwan, because we have nearly a million immigrant workers from Southeast Asia; we bear the marks of Spanish and Dutch colonization; we are deeply influenced by China, the U.S., Japan, and Korea. Simply put, Taiwan is an indelible part of the world. (Read: ‘One China’ Gives Away Taiwan’s Position)

The position that “Taiwan is part of the world” fits well in politics, economics, education, and culture. We should embrace the world with a sense of optimism and justice, welcoming all, with prejudices to none. Taiwan can be a second home to all who comes to us in good faith. Nor should we try to expel the Chinese influence from our homeland. It is part of the Taiwanese identity, and self-denial will only weaken us.

Chinese media retaliated with the party line “China cannot be less.” I could just as easily have said “Taiwan cannot be less,” but that reeks of absolutism. If ever a part of Taiwan wanted to secede, I would respect their decision. In time, everything changes.

Taiwanese director Ang Lee said it best in his Oscar-winning Chinese martial arts fantasy “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”: “Close your fist and you hold nothing. Open your palm and you have the world.”

We have enough people in Taiwan. 23 million is a lot for a small island. Maybe our low birth rates are a blessing in disguise. We don’t even need more land. Everyone is crowded into the cities, but our rural regions are filled with natural beauty. We don’t need an island-wide city like Singapore.

The noblest pursuit is not of being greater, but of greatness. Our greatness lies in the creation of a fair and diverse society that protects freedom of speech. That’s what’s special about Taiwan.

Translated by Jack C.
Edited by Tomas Lin

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