Taiwan Sunflower Movement Student Protesters “Have No Pubes”

Li Ao at a lecture in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Grassroots Report.)

Although Taiwan’s student protests (also known as the Sunflower Movement) came to an end on April 10th, debate surrounding the movement’s legacy is still a hotly debated media topic. Recently, Taiwanese media commentator Li Ao has weighed in, inciting strong reactions from Taiwanese netizens. Li is a pivotal figure in Taiwan’s democratization movement, and a prolific author and philosopher. He briefly had his own TV commentary show Li Ao Has Something to Say, an hourly talk show that served as a platform to broadcast his unique viewpoint. Li is also a fervent supporter of immediate cross-strait reunification.

Li Ao has criticized the Sunflower Movement students on Weibo, and mocked the students for not having a single

From Apple Daily Taiwan:

Li Ao Criticizes Sunflower Movement, Mocks Students As “Not Even Having ‘Pubes’”

Although author Li Ao has already declared his position on the Cross-Strait Service and Trade Pact (CSSTA), his stance towards the student-led Sunflower Movement seems to be less than favorable. For days now, it seems a new piece of criticism has been leveled at the student movement each day, either mocking the students as “bastards” or criticizing the students as “little tadpoles”, even saying: “[the students] don’t even have a pubic hair (plot/scheme),” evoking debate among netizens.

Li Ao's Weibo page, featuring the Weibo posts mocking the Taiwan student protesters.

Master Li commenting almost daily on Weibo about Taiwan’s recent student protest movement. Cited from Li Ao’s Weibo.

Yesterday Li Ao again lectured on Weibo, using Zhang Hong’s celebrated remarks made during the anti-Japanese resistance: “you have no poise to practice democracy, nor the guts to carry out revolution!” He also added “I can express this all using just 14 Chinese characters, and see through these cowards decrepit vicious lies. Taiwan’s democracy is a sham, others aren’t real either, this is only creating a disturbance.”

On April 11th, Li went on to mock Taiwan’s habit of looking to America for guidance on everything, simultaneously sticking it to the students in a single stroke: “Washington is saying to Beijing: ‘Ma Yingjeou is our American running dog, the DPP is my other hand, while the students are tadpoles who just grew their tails and don’t have a single “pube” to call their own. [Li Ao is making a play on words here, “陰毛”, the word for pubic hair, sounds somewhat similar to the word “陰謀”, the Chinese word for plot or scheme.]

The article was praised by netizens: “If only China had a few more people like Master Li.” But there were also netizens who expressed disapproval: “Originally I thought responding to your statement with silence would be fine, because I know this is an issue of differing principles unable to join a common cause. Yes, you were educated to think this way, and I respect that you were raised in this way, but your opinion only demonstrates one thing, that you don’t understand us (Taiwanese).”

Comments from Apple Daily Taiwan:

台大員

Haha……”the Great Turd” [the word for “master” and “turd” sound somewhat similar in Chinese]……nothing but a big mouth left……

John Lemur

It’s alright, we still have our prostates, he doesn’t. [Note: Li Ao underwent surgery in 2003 in order to fight prostate cancer.]

黃敏智

The guy whose pubes are about to fall out has the balls to talk big?

王羽華

Demagogic old geezer, he no longer even has a prostate, yet has the gall to say others don’t have pubes. If this isn’t laughable, then what is?

Dwayne Hern

At the very least he went to jail in his fight for Taiwan’s democracy… The majority of you just know how to talk big/mouth off.

Tze Chung Yuan

At first Pro-Independence Taiwan groups only had the guts to bully Ma Yingjeou, but when they meet a stronger opponent, they immediately cower off, and when they encounter the CCP, their knees shake in fear. Taiwanese history expert Professor Yin said it best: If those who support Taiwanese independence want to be tough, go be tough with the Chinese Communists, because it is the Chinese Communists who won’t let you have independence, and if you have the guts, go fight it out with the Chinese Communists. But you don’t have the guts either. So what’s the use of running around complaining about it?

No wonder Taipei City’s Zhongzheng District Police Chief Fang curses these Taiwan Independence supporters as cowards. Even their commander-in-chief Lin Fei-fan [the leader of the Sunflower Student Movement] admits they don’t have guts! It’s no wonder that they don’t dare offend the White Wolf [Zhang Anle, a former crime boss turned politician] or dare offend the CCP. It turns out they’re afraid to die, an how can you start a revolution if you’re afraid to die?

It is only against a “nice guy” like Ma Ying-jeou that they are so arrogant/aggressive.

If you have the guts, go join the military, directly “fight the Communists”, and if the PLA makes landfall, let Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting [also a leader of the Sunflower movement] fight the first battle and be the first to do a meritorious deed [be on the front lines risking their lives], as opposed to blustering at home, only daring to bully the police and their own people [other Taiwanese people]!”

Comments from Facebook::

陳勇翰

Soon there will be a new fan group.
One person, one pubic hair, mailed to Li Ao!
500,000 strands of pubic hair [500,000 being the number of people that attended the student organized rally on March 31st] should be enough to make at least a few wigs. That will send him a message.

林家正

Pfft, old people with nothing left but mouths to blabber are totally useless.

Sheng-yuan Chiu


There’s honestly no need to waste time on one of China’s running dogs.

水犽兒

…The only thing Li Ao has got left is the ability to piss…and talk big.

游清翔

Ma Yingjeou has deer antlers growing from his ears.

Orion Lee

Why is that a whole bunch of has-beens are coming out of the woodwork to make news recently?
Taiwan isn’t chaotic enough as it is right now?
Big Shot Xu Nailin, the gaudy make-up bear, and now pubic hair Li Ao… Taiwan’s innocent bystanders beg you to let us live in peace…

Raiden Fu

May I ask what does Mr. Li does with all the pubic hair he’s grown?

Cerise Lin

Vulgar

Cheng Wei Shih

He’s still alive?

鄭善

Taiwan really doesn’t need these Chinese people who simply live in Taiwan making arguments.

Xun Yu

Is it against the law to not have pubes?

James Teng

Keep talking. Otherwise, there won’t be a job for you in China!

Luka Lin

His pubic hair has all been shaved off by the CCP, like a sex slave who’s had permanent hair removal. Even his children [scrotum] is in the CCP’s hands, simply a neutered eunuch.

Li-Ao-tv-commentary-01.jpg

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  • I don’t know about pubes, but it certainly takes more balls to stand up to the CCP than to stand behind it.

    I hope this doesn’t turn into a social media movement where students take pictures of their pubes and post them on Twitter to make a political statement…

    • Insomnicide

      The sunflower movement isn’t standing up the CCP, they are up against the KMT.

      It’s really like a counter-productive effort in the name of democracy.

      • don mario

        it really isn’t.

  • Jokes about pubic hair and BUKKAKE are wrong…grow up CHINASMACK

  • Probotector

    I know it’s a play on words, as opposed to an arbitrary insult, but the end result is the same. Seriously? Dissing someone by saying ‘you ain’t got pubes’. I remember guys used to say this to each other when I was in middle school as a cuss to insinuate you haven’t started puberty yet. Does Li Ao really have the maturity of a teenager? What’s he going to say next… “the girls in Taiwan’s independence movement are so flat chested, you could iron a shirt on their sternum, hahaha”? Class act.

    • Insomnicide

      He’s saying the old ‘you young’uns don’t understand a thing’ shtick so many older people use.

      • wnsk

        I don’t think it’s just that. Think about the Red Guards, and all the irreparable harm and suffering they wrought.

        • Wa

          And that was just a spontaneous student movement! Imagine what this could lead to!

          • wnsk

            Doesn’t hurt to be mindful, does it?

          • Wa

            Mindful of what? That the same government directly responsible for the deaths of millions during the CR is correctly regarded as the chief threat toward ever dangerous students and the society of which they are a part…yet again? Doesn’t hurt to have a clitoris on your forehead, either, but I suspect you’d call that overkill.

          • wnsk

            Of how easily young people can be manipulated sometimes, and how situations can sometimes escalate. Now I’m not saying the Taiwanese students are manipulated, but this could be one of the things this Li Ao guy was thinking of.

            Your clitoris comment is unnecessary and ridiculous. Might have been funny if it wasn’t so distasteful.

          • Wa

            Glad you noticed that, and I’d appreciate if you saw the resemblance to a fear of student manipulation. It could be one of the things he was thinking about, but it would be equally ridiculous and unnecessary to worry about unarmed students (and invoke the specter of the Cultural Revolution) rather than the open and vociferous threat coming from across the straits. The fact that the PRC threat is implicit in Li Ao’s comments and explicit in Tze Chung Yuan’s above makes it even more ridiculous. So, instead of acknowledging the PRC threat as a reason for the Sunflowers’ genuine concern, Li Ao and his supporters decide to call the students a threat while SIMULTANEOUSLY attempting to bully them with the PRC threat.

            I find this kind of mental contortion disingenuous and repugnant, particularly when it echoes the PRC’s and its apologists’ account of Tiananmen. Thus, distasteful though it may be, I contend that the imagery of delicate folds and the symbolic value is germane.

          • wnsk

            Well, if you put it (so eloquently) like that…

            Heh. :]

  • ScottLoar

    Once again Li Ao proves he’s a first-rate writer, second-rate character and third-rate political commentator.

    • Aaron Wytze

      Li Ao’s tv commentator personae is a result of Taiwanese politlcal talk shows ALL being unwatchable shout-fests between pro-green and pro-blue commentators. In a media world where you score the most points for being the most crude, colourful, and blunt, Li Ao is the cream of the crop. I enjoy his rants immensely because he’s usually the wittiest commentator invited.

  • Zen my Ass

    Students are the citizens of tomorrow: they might not have pubic hair, but they do have instances… dismissing them is a sign of cowardice and blindness, two features we don’t want from the intellectual elite of a country, do we?

  • mr.wiener

    I hate this guy, he is an arrogant man in love with his own reputation and never comments on anything unless it it is with bile.
    No pubes? maybe , but more balls than anyone has shown for a while.

    • Brian227

      Li stood up to a KMT who were actively trying to assassinate political opponents. The Sunflowers were up against a KMT desperate not to look anything like the old KMT. You mentioned balls and the possession thereof?

      • mr.wiener

        Wasn’t referring to the folks who stood up to the KMT in the 70s and 80s . I meant politics in the last 20 years.
        Not taking anything away from the old campaigners either, but if Shi Ming De and Li Ao are anything to go by. keeping your head down and STFU are starting to look like good option once your glory days are past.

        • Brian227

          I very much doubt Lin Fei-fan will have the sense to ‘keep his head down and STFU’ now that his are over. He doesn’t even have the moral superiority of Li to live off of for the next two decades and ‘professional protester’ isn’t really that lucrative a career if you’ve marked your own cards in the jobs market good and proper.

          • mr.wiener

            Shi ming de has don’e alright though, all that money donated by the red shirts has disappeared ” for future use in the cause of democracy” and he has plenty of women wanting to sleep with “Taiwan’s Nelson Mandela”.

          • Aaron Wytze

            You’re wrong about that. Lin Fei-fan could have a lifelong career being a political talking head on one of Taiwan’s 10 news tv stations. Professional protester is one of the most lucrative career options in Taiwan because the media market here is so over saturated with news talk shows.

          • Brian227

            So basically he’s cut his options down to being the next Li Ao unless he’s actually able to form a new political party to head (and the performance of the student movement to date shows they’re no less prone to infighting and factionalism than the mainstream ones are). He’s cut his chances drastically of ever getting a proper job and the DPP would only ever touch him as a token.

  • Free Man

    No proper arguments nor points, just insults for young people. Again one man turned too old to remember what it felt like to be young and now he’s insulting and looking down on what he was himself one day long ago. Now he’s simply a taiwanese-style Jackie Chan.

  • NightKnight

    Everyone was busy yelling FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, EQUALITY, but few understands these words, and most of these student protesters don’t have a job, their tuition fee and living expenses are paid by their parents, that’s why they are so passionate and energetic about “Occupy XXX” instead of going to school. to me, these Taiwanese students are truly more like communists than youngsters in Mainland China.

    China is moving forwards and embracing the capitalism, on the other hand, Taiwan is addicted to socialism and populism.

    • mr.wiener

      So only people with a job are allowed to protest for their rights? Maybe you think people should pass a written test before they can vote?
      Blow it out your ear mate, you are every bit the embittered old yesterdays man that Li Ao is.

      • NightKnight

        written test, not a bad idea, why not? I don’t believe in everyone can vote or born with the right to vote, you have to earn your right, why do you think there’s a voting age, why is it 18 in most of the countries? could it be 25, 30 or 40? have you ever think of it? you have to be responsible for your decision or at least take care of yourself, if you live on food stamps or ask you parents to pay your rent, or protest paying back the student loan, then you are not qualified. old yesterday? not necessarily a bad thing, like the word Liberal is not that liberal.

        • IsurvivedChina

          18 is the accepted form of age to vote, but even then there are youth movements in other countries who have voiced their opinion over this.

        • mr.wiener

          I’d goad you into writing more reactionary ideas, but I think you’ve proved my point already.

      • Insomnicide

        I think his point is that they should practice what they preach and that is a very good lesson to anyone.

        • mr.wiener

          I stopped baiting him otherwise he might have started on no votes for women with PMS and serious consideration given to eugenics laws.
          I think these kids will be good leaders of the country in future days, smart, organised and articulate.

          • Brian227

            Smart, organised and articulate makes for good politicians. Good leaders need more, including tolerance and dispassion. These students haven’t shown me anything to make me believe they’re capable of running a functioning democracy, they simply cannot accept not getting their own way and aren’t prepared to put ‘China’s scary’ aside to look at what this deal actually says.

        • don mario

          do you have nothing better to do?

    • Dr Sun

      I remember this kind of shite being used against the the Kent university student protesters in the 60’s

    • Tawhaki

      This is not about communism or capitalism, this is about democracy or despotism

    • don mario

      what a bunch of nonsense. shocking that you could get 14 up votes from that tripe.

      if you think china is more forward thinking and developed than taiwan just take a look at any of the recent protests china has had and compare them to taiwans recent sunflower movement. the chinese ones are just BRUTAL. you are an idiot.

    • lonetrey / Dan

      No.

    • Aaron Wytze

      I think it’s a little silly to say that these protesters had little understanding of the words “freedom, democracy, and equality”. Lin Feifan is doing his post-graduate studies in Political Science, Chen Weiting is doing his post-grad work in Sociology. In my estimation, they have a better understanding of these words than most. Most of these students would more than likely have part time jobs, while studying. Most would live with their parents because they really have no choice. Salary expectations for recent grads is 22k to 30k NTD per month (really low. about 700 to 900 USB) Buying a home in Taipei is now running into the million dollar range. so, they’re kinda forced to live with their parents.

      I think most of the students who come from Liberal Arts studies are hurt the most by economic pressures like rising housing and food costs, and have the most to worry about if there is more competition from mainland China. In my estimation, the economic reasons for protesting outweigh any emotional or populist reasons (although it has been very easy to stir up paranoia and distress in Taiwan during the protests.)

  • Kedafu

    Song of the Article

    Cui Jian
    -A piece of red cloth

    Wumaodang

  • loki

    this would be a great vid to put on chinasmakers

    • Probotector

      LOL love the editing and the narration on that. That really went of for 7 hours?!

      • Guest

        Chinese are liek a bunch of crows.

      • Tamil Tiger

        The Chinese are like a bunch of crows

        • mr.wiener

          Would that be a ‘murder’ of crows, or is that ravens?

    • twelve ways

      My god… If I owned a hotel, or any business, I wouldn’t allow Chinese people in, it’s just not worth the hassle.

      • mr.wiener

        You’d really turn away that much business? I doubt it somehow.

  • narsfweasels

    Better no pubes than no balls.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    I think he has the term mixed up. It’s “Haven’t got the balls”.

  • Rick in China

    This dude is such a mess.

    He has been such a strong advocate for democracy and personal freedom for several decades, yet also acts as a staunch proponent of uniting with China mainland – how do those two ideas NOT conflict at the fundamental roots?

    • Joe

      Because he is deep down a KMT hack, he is against the KMT in name only. Especially considering he ran for offices as both the New Party and PFP which are both scions of the KMT to begin with. The KMT itself has since founding been a contradiction, promoting democracy on one hand, advocating single party dictatorship on the other.

      • Tawhaki

        Basically the Taiwanese version of Bill O’Reilly

        • “Pubes come in, pubes go out. You can’t explain that.”

    • Insomnicide

      He’s a Chinese nationalist and he’s a supporter of democracy, how is this a mess?

      Are you equating China, the nation not the state, as the anti-thesis of democracy? If I recall correctly, the mandate of heaven, the Xinhai revolution, the northern expedition and the Chinese civil war as democratic as it gets. Not even America had a conflict on it’s home front solely dedicated to fighting for the rule of the people.

      • don mario

        is there an option i can hide all of your posts? they are very irritating.

        • Kai

          Please review our comment policy.

          • don mario

            I see no options on how to hide all posts from certain posters in that link. Unhelpful as usual kai.

          • mr.wiener

            He meant don’t troll the fella. If you don’t like his comments click on the – in the top right hand of the post you don’t want to see and it will collapse the box.

            And remember: The moderator ain’t your bitch.

          • don mario

            Hey man. I would like it if imsomiside wouldn’t troll. But I wouldn’t insult the dude like that so I would just like an option not to view future posts by him, thankyou very much.

            Anyway I didn’t see the – option. It’s not perfect but it will do for now.

    • don mario

      selling out to the golden teet of china like everyone else probably.

    • Andrew

      I don’t know. Maybe you should read more. Not news, but history. In Chinese.

  • mr.wiener

    My favorite pube story goes back to the early 90s when China was just starting to open up. So they sent beauty contestants from all over China to this pageant in Hong Kong. The delegate from Shanghai was asked what kind of person are you? She replied “I’m honest and broadminded and I never plot against other people” [ Wo meiyou yin mo] ‘but apparently with her Shanghainese accent she said ” Wo meiyou yin mao” which sounded like “I have no pubic hair”.
    True story apparently.

  • don mario

    tru dat. the pube to body ratio in china is very high.

  • don mario

    so in order to have the right to protest you need to have the skills of country leader and politician? that is garbage, sorry.

    this government has failed the people, that is undisputible, the president has a SINGLE. DIGIT. rating. the people have decided to take some NON VIOLENT action against this government to start making a change for the better.

  • Rick in China

    It does not. Taiwanese currently have far more personal freedom and expression through democracy than their mainland counterparts – reuniting *into* the mainland would remove those freedoms, get rid of those ‘special’ freedoms and privileges, not expand them or provide them for more people. Open your eyes.

    • Kai

      Rick, reunification with China is not necessarily at odds with democracy and personal freedom. They would only be if you assume he means to reunite “into” the mainland as it is now and without any conditions.

      That’s not Li Ao’s position.

      The guy advocates the one country, two systems stop-gap idea. He wants to reunite “with” the mainland, not “into”. Like most pro-reunification supporters, that’s banking on mainland China eventually democratizing politically. He wants a democratic reunited “China” and believes it can be realized. He’s not retarded. He just believes in the long-term.

      • don mario

        “He wants a democratic reunited “China” and believes it can be realized. He’s not retarded.”

        Quite clearly he is.

      • Guang Xiang

        Any Taiwanese with perspective would see that in order to prosper they have to deal with China, it’s just a question of how close they can get before it bites them in the hand.

        Independence is ideal, but just not realistic with current political climate.

        • Insomnicide

          He wants China to become a democracy and Taiwan to be eventually reunited with China, I don’t see how it ‘bite’ them in the hand. Idealistic, yes, but come on we’ve all made enough cynical comments in the last few articles to make an entire nation of people depressed. Let’s leave it at that.

          @rickinchina:disqus @bujiebuke:disqus

      • bujiebuke

        Do you have an estimate of how many people support the idea of reuniting with mainland China with the precondition that Taiwan retains special privileges? What of the demographics who support this notion?

        My experience from speaking with Taiwan expats in North America is that they want to remain independent and exclude any influence from China as much as possible. I’ve never come across a Taiwanese who supported reunification of any kind. This point of view may be biased since all of them are young academics.

        • Kai

          No, I don’t. I think any polling done about it would have to define what those special privileges are and that’s hard to do. I’m sure a lot of people in Taiwan aren’t completely enamored with how the “one country, two systems” idea is playing out in Hong Kong. They’d be forced to recognize that Hong Kong is fairly independent but they’d have no shortage of specific instances of Beijing interference they could point to that they don’t like.

          My guess about the demographics that would support a sort of “one country, two systems” sort of reunification would be older Taiwanese people who trace their roots back to the mainland, especially those who came to the island during the KMT exodus from the mainland. Another demographic may be people who believe Taiwan’s economic interests and economic future would be better served being an integrated part of the larger Chinese market than apart from it.

          Younger Taiwanese definitely skew towards independence because they generally don’t have many emotional ties to the mainland. Politically, it’s not hard to dislike the mainland Chinese government, especially when you grew up with anti-Communist education and an anti-Communist social environment. There is no shortage of distrust and criticism of how Beijing does things and many of them are totally warranted. Taiwan’s government is far from perfect but there’s a whole litany of rights and freedoms that are better protected in Taiwan than in China. People know this. The people who support the ideal of eventual reunification know this too. They support eventual reunification not because they want to be governed by the current Beijing CCP government but because they are emotionally invested in the notion of being part of a “great” Chinese “nation”. They believe the political climate and governance of mainland China can evolve to a point where Taiwan can comfortably reunite with it. So they keep the idea open and don’t want to slam the door shut on it.

          The longer Taiwan society develops independently of mainland China, the stronger a separate “Taiwanese” identity becomes, regardless of historical ties and shared history. This is normal. The only thing really countering this trend is any conscious desire of Taiwanese people to interact and integrate with mainland Chinese people. So the question is, under what circumstances might Taiwanese people want to get closer to mainland China?

          When mainland China surpasses Taiwan in economic prosperity and standards of living? When personal rights and freedoms are better protected in mainland China? Would Taiwanese people then despite all their past insistence of a separate Taiwanese identity start entertaining the notion of reunification with China appealing to past ties because at that point, the pros outweigh the cons? That’s the question.

          A lot of status quo supporters deride pro-independence supporters as being short-sighted in wanting to slam the door shut on the option to reunite. They reason there may be a day when they’d like to exercise that option, and until then, hey, they’re de facto independent anyway so why be so black and white about it when doing so just causes needless political controversy?

      • Rick in China

        I absolutely don’t get what you’re talking about. I also reject the notion about ‘his position’.

        Are you seriously implying that he is all about reunification with the CONDITION that China becomes fully democratic and a bastion of personal freedom? Like, realistically? I don’t even know how you can jump to that sort of idea, where reunification is on the table, while saying “if” China is fully democratic and your values are based on personal freedoms………..I’m beyond words to argue more than saying that seems like a farcical assumption about someone’s position.

        • Kai

          I’m not implying, I’m telling you that Li Ao’s interest in an eventual reunification with mainland China is not at odds with his support for democracy. Look at the Wikipedia entry for him that was linked in the article. You only think it is at odds because you aren’t entertaining the possibility of Mainland China ever being able to coexist with democracy.

          Pretty much all Taiwanese people who support keeping the option of reunification open believe China CAN politically evolve to be palatable to the political interests of people in Taiwan.

          Li Ao’s support of the “one country, two systems” notion suggests he advocates for reunification sooner than later, but by definition in a way that protects Taiwanese political interests and autonomy. The people who scoff at this position do so simply because they aren’t confident that it can really be done. Unless they’re pro-independence, they either think the “two Chinas” notion is just fine or they’re only open to reunification after the mainland politically democratizes and don’t care for a “one country, two systems” intermediary step.

          People open to the idea of reunification like Li Ao believe reunificaiton can be achieved with the right timing and implementation. They also believe China will eventually democratize. There’s nothing to be incredulous about this. Autocratic regimes in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea all evolved into their current democracies. There’s no reason why mainland China would be forever unchanging from its current state.

  • NightKnight

    What I get from some of the comments posted:
    Having balls is more valuable than having brains;
    Well organised protests equal righteous claims;
    :)

  • whuddyasack

    to also present a formal document which shows how economic and social
    growth can be better and superior in their view of the world.

    Agreed. I think the students’ have a right to protest, but they also have the power to bring up change within them. If they did just as you suggested, I’m sure that would be a earth-shattering, winning protest right there.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    This will be my go to insult for 2014

    • Rick in China

      Valid replies to this stupid insult:

      – Of course not, your mom/sister/daughter likes me better shaven
      – Neither does your mom/sister/daughter, trust me
      – How do you think I supplied the shag for that carpet on your head?
      – I knew you were staring at my dick in the washroom
      – etc.

      • Insomnicide

        You’re gonna have to explain the last one….

        • Kai

          It’s to suggest the person using the insult is gay.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    They should make a movie about ‘sleeper agents’

  • Eidolon

    There is both a generational and an ethno-cultural identity divide within Taiwan. The former is simply that the younger generation has lesser ties to China and are therefore less emotionally invested in the idea of reunification. The latter, however, is not normally talked about but instead cast in the mold of pro-KMT/pro-DPP.

    Yet, to make it as simple as a political divide is inaccurate, because people vote not just by virtue of their political/ideological/ethno-cultural loyalty, but for utilitarian causes. Not all KMT voters want reunification, and not all DPP voters want independence. The KMT-DPP divide is, therefore, not a great gauge of the identity divide within Taiwan.

    There are two groups of people in Taiwan, with fundamentally different histories and identities. The first group are the mainly Min, but also Hakka, speaking migrants who arrived in Taiwan from Fujian 300-400 years ago during the Ming and Qing dynasties. This group of people comprise the majority of Taiwan, the long-time natives, who through the years intermarried with the aborigines – ie the people who lived there before even them. Though they had come from China and have a vague concept of being Chinese, their migration predate the age of Chinese nationalism and an unified Chinese national identity. In their day, China was an empire, not a nation-state.

    Linguistically, Min and Hakka are mutually unintelligible. Both are also mutually unintelligible with Mandarin. Thus, we have a situation in Taiwan in which the mother language of the bulk of Taiwanese is not intelligible with the standard language imposed by the second group, the KMT exiles. Even worse, the older generation within this group grew up under Japanese colonialism, and learned Japanese language and culture in grade school instead of Chinese, which they continue to feel an affinity for.

    The KMT exiles are/were the political, commercial, and ethno-cultural elites of Taiwan. They comprise ~15% of the population, and migrated to Taiwan after the KMT lost to the Communists during the Chinese Civil War. They have deep ties to the mainland, given that their parents/grandparents had lived there till the exile, and were the leading proponents of Chinese nationalism. Their language is Mandarin, the shared standard language of the ROC and the PRC. They are the ones who maintain that Taiwan is the ROC, the rightful Chinese government-in-exile. They share little with the native Taiwanese but the last 50-60 years of history, during which the KMT exiles imposed their government on the island, along with the standard language of Mandarin, Chinese cultural education, and the political outlook of belonging to the greater Chinese nation.

    The fundamental conflict between the KMT exiles and the Taiwanese natives – not to be equated with the Taiwan aborigines, who are a small group at the edge of Taiwanese society – is best seen through the constant oppression and massacres that occurred during KMT rule and before democratization. To the KMT exiles, the Taiwanese natives were an unruly bunch of Japanese brainwashed peasants who needed to be taught a lesson in Chinese nationalism. To the Taiwanese natives, the KMT exiles were colonizers and invaders from China, which they subsequently equated with the country of their oppressors.

    Though such mutually hostile feelings were mitigated by democratization and the birth of new generations of Taiwanese, both exile and native, who came to share the same education system, pop culture, and country, they never fully went away. Even today, we see the intense divide that had existed between the native Taiwanese and the KMT exiles through the sheer hostility between hardcore KMT and DPP supporters, whose political ideologies are observable through looking at whether they belong to one/the other ethno-cultural group.

    Indeed, there is even a regional divide to separate the two groups. The KMT exiles live primarily in the north and around the capital. The native Taiwanese in the south. By UN standards, such a situation is ripe for partition along identity lines. However, that is never going to happen because both the KMT and the PRC are going to make it their mission to prevent it. Still, the lack of de jure partition does not obviate the existence of de facto division, and it is the latter that drives Taiwanese politics and its troubled stance towards China.

  • Mighty曹

    Li Ao has a face that I want to slap.

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