Great replies I’m reading here. I’d like to reply to some of the remarks.
Zhukov–I think you bring up a very good point.
I think that in politics (and this issue would be VERY political), perception is the key. If Taiwan were to give back at least some of these artifacts, I would hope it would be done with a clear focus on how to spin the whole issue of Chinese/Taiwanese sovereignty.
As far as the idea of “What is Taiwanese”, my belief is that the people of this country have very little perception of their own history. Their entire education system is fixated on China’s history. How can you have a sense of being Taiwanese, when you have very little idea of what forces have shaped your country?
Of course, China’s history is undoubtedly a huge influential part of Taiwan’s past (as with all of Asia), but it ignores Taiwan’s local history as well as what the people of this island have experienced independently from China.
Great information. And ditto on the aspect that not only physical objects were preserved in Taiwan–that cultural traditions have thrived as well.
And you’re right about the US/England analogy. There are many parallels that aren’t appropriate. But the fact is that in both situations you have two countries with a shared culture and history, as well as many shared aspects of their identity (And if you look back in the history of England and “The Colonies” you’ll find that there is a great amount of conflict betwen these two countries on similar issues).
And you’re right about the idea that Taiwan can’t do this with the idea of casting off their Chinese culture. Perhaps I should have been clearer.
I disagree with the idea that giving back at least some of these artifact wouldn’t help change the world’s perception of Taiwan. Maybe I should have fleshed out this idea more. Let me try again:
(Using the Elgin Marbles parallel again) The idea is that these artifacts belong in the Parthenon. That is where they were for over 2000 years, and where they are meant to be. By putting them back into their original place, it would give the world a truer glimpse of what Greece was in it’s Glory.
What if Taiwan could take the world spotlight to give back some key artifacts to China that would restore a part of a Chinese landmark? This would be done as a grand gesture: pure largesse on the part of the people of Taiwan.
Business-wise? Yes, doing something like this isn’t very Chinese. But then again, Chinese culture has never been about spinning issues on a world stage. China has always been of an isolationist ideology, with the idea that “The rest of the world can do what the wnt. We’re Chinese. It’s not the same for us.” I think that the longer China follows this path as their place on the world stage grows, the more damage they’ll do themselves. And the quicker that Taiwan stops following this example quicker they’ll reap the benefits of international support.
I believe that for far too long Taiwan has been equated with the KMT–a mainland organization. The positions that Taiwan has taken have been formed by a group who comprise mainly of (or are inordinately influenced by) Chinese expatriates, who have always treated Taiwan as a temporary, second-best home. In their eyes, Taiwan is China.
I believe this is the reason that many Taiwanese have no appreciation for their own nationality. From what I’ve witnessed, there is very little long-term view of Taiwan as their permanent home. This makes me sad, because I honestly think there are too many Taiwanese who do not appreciate what a great thing they have here.
How’s that sound? If there are flaws in my facts or my logic, let 'er rip.
Please let me hear your ideas on this.