posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 08:39 AM
Conference on "Searching for Taiwan's identity"
A third event commemorating the centennial of the Shimonoseki Treaty was a three-day international conference, organized by Freedom Times, a daily
newspaper in Taiwan and the Academia Sinica. It was held in Taipei beginning on 16 April 1995.
Scholars from Taiwan, Japan and the United States, who met to discuss the treaty's impact on Taiwan's history, pointed out the treaty that ushered
in the Japanese colonial period marked the starting point of modern Taiwanese history that saw the emergence of a new Taiwan identity totally separate
from China. They also pointed out that during the more than hundred years of separate development, the people of Taiwan have created their own
political, cultural and national identity and value systems and no longer identify with a feudalistic, backward and repressive China.
Prof. Chiu Chuei-liang of Queensland University in Australia pointed out that Taiwanese people's most remarkable achievement in the past 100 years is
the advancement of human rights, freedom and democracy that will culminates in the direct presidential elections taking place next year. Prof. Chiu
also emphasized the contrast between Taiwan and China: in less than 50 years since the February 28 incident of 1947, the people of Taiwan have built a
free and democratic country, while China under successive communist leaders remains a repressive, corrupt and backward country.
The scholars also concluded that the legal status of Taiwan is still undetermined, because the Peace Treaty of San Francisco in 1952 stipulated that
Japan formally ceded sovereignty over Taiwan, but that the future of the island would be determined "in accord with the charter and principles of the
United Nations" -- i.e. self-determination. It is therefore up to the people in Taiwan to determine their own future.
The conference also had an important message for the Kuomintang authorities: Dr. Chang Fu-mei, a DPP-member of the National Assembly, stated: "For
people living on Taiwan who are constantly told by the authorities that their roots are in China, it is important to know that it was China that 100
years ago gave up Taiwan -- forever."
[edit on 23-3-2006 by hsia]