The Corner

Taiwan President & V-P Shot

Still no clue who did this, or for what reason. Both President Chen and V-P

Lu are OK, conscious and not in serious danger.

The thing everyone wonders is: Were the ChiComs behind this? We have, of

course, no real clue yet. The fact that the shooting was rather

incompetently done suggests an amateur, and Taiwan politics is plenty

fractious — you may recall occasional TV clips of fist-fights on the floor

of Parliament. Certainly the ChiComs hate Chen for his past history of

pro-independence statements (somewhat muted since he’s been in office). But

nothing can be said for sure yet.

We had a Taiwanese house guest the week before last. She told us that

independence sentiment gets stronger all the time. There is now even a

movement to drop Mandarin as the official language of Taiwan, and switch to

“Tai-yu,” the dialect that most Taiwanese people speak among themselves most

of the time. (It’s a slightly mutated form of the mainland’s Fujian

dialect, incomprehensible to Mandarin-speakers.) This is a very odd thing,

as trade and even cultural links between Taiwan and the mainland are opening

up at the same time. Perhaps this tells us something interesting about

globalization: that people become more fiercely protective of their local

identity even as the world becomes more economically interdependent. Or

perhaps it’s just that the more Taiwan people see of the mainland and its

ruling party, the more they like their own democratic arrangements.

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