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.