Taiwan Diaoyu Islands Essay Contest Winner Ridiculed Online

Earlier this summer, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry held an essay competition inviting students and the public to offer their thoughts on and suggestions for resolving the contentious Diaoyu Islands dispute (aka Senkaku Islands). It was both panned criticized.

Recently, Taiwanese netizens recently reacted negatively when it was revealed that the winning submission for the high school category was written by a student named ‘Zhang Tongyi’, his given name meaning “unification”. Some netizens criticized the competition itself as the government yet again failing to do anything meaningful to protect national interests while others criticized it as promoting Taiwanese nationalism or additional reasons to hate the KMT political party and President Ma Yingjeou’s administration.

From Yahoo Taiwan:

Diaoyu island essay champion accused of having won because of his name

The results of the Diaoyu Island short essay competition run by the [Taiwan] Ministry of Foreign Affairs were announced on the 26th, with the names of the winners of the high school and university groups becoming the focus of netizens’ attention. The name of the first-place winner of the high school group, a Hsinchu high school student named ‘Zhang Tongyi’, was particularly notable, inciting heated discussion among netizens, with some netizens going as far as saying that he received an extra 100 points simply because of his name [The KMT-led government is seen as being open to “unification” with mainland China (PRC)]. Furthermore, netizens disliked the winning essay, comparing it to a 30-year-old entrance exam.

Zhang Tongyi’s writing style led netizens to doubt whether he was a high school student. After netizens finished reading it, they felt they had traveled back in time, as if [the propaganda motto] ‘protecting secrets against spies is everyone’s responsibility’ appeared before their eyes. Another netizen sarcastically commented that it was a shame he didn’t include the story of Chiang Kai-shek watching fish swim upstream, and a netizen named ‘lahiboy’ expressed that the champion’s name itself already says it all. But netizen ‘zard0205’ also praised the champion as a patriotic young scholar, that Lu You [a 12th century Southern Song Dynaty poet that advocate a unified China] now has a successor.

Apart from the high school champion being a hot topic, the university champion has also been been accused by netizens of plagiarism. Netizen ‘terrymoon’ conducted online searches for every sentence and discovered that over 80% of the essay was similar to what can be found on Wikipedia and the Foreign Ministry’s Sovereignty Statement. A netizen said that a university student doing this wasn’t an accident, bluntly saying that he turned the essay competition into a report of common knowledge, and also earned some money. The Foreign Ministry previously delayed the announcement of the winners, precisely to spend time examining the submissions for plagiarism. Netizens mercilessly slammed [the Foreign Ministry], saying an ordinary netizen [likely referring specifically to a subset of netizen users of the popular Taiwanese PTT BBS, sometimes synonymous with “trolls”, “haters”, or even “diaosi“] did something in one night that the Foreign Ministry’s experts failed to do with half a month.

As netizens heatedly discussed, the Foreign Ministry website was also overloaded, preventing people from being able to look at the winning essay. Netizens criticized the content [of the winning essay] as melodrama and flattery, without any substance or practical use with regards to the issue of protecting the Diaoyu Islands. Most netizens also believe this was simply a bullshit competition, and that after all this talk, the Diaoyu Islands are still in the hands of the Japanese.

Comments on Facebook:


Haha, the last part was so on the spot!!!

After saying so much, aren’t the Diaoyu Islands still in the hands of the Japanese!!!


Trolls/haters love to troll/hate on names the most. Their IQs have stayed at around the primary school level.


The ability to fantasize is greater than substance. After 50 years of calling for unifying China, in the end who will be unifying who?


What would happen if there was a “Hao Duli” [Duli means “independence”]?? Go Mayor Hao, how about having a son and giving him this name?

Froch Wang:

Tongyi Group thanks you…

Jacky Wu:

If he were named “Ma Tongyi”, it’d be better if he were named “Ma Tong”~~~ [Ma Tong would be a pun of “toilet”. This comment is extends making fun of the essay winner to also allude to President Ma.]


A successfully brainwashed person, KMT members and Mister Ma [President Ma] are grateful.

Nicky Lu:

Fuck~ As a Taiwanese person~ I really feel fucking ashamed… Other people have already revealed their aircraft carrier and whatever heavy [military] equipment… [but] we’re fucking still pretending to be literary/cultured youths writing essays… sigh

Chnsun Wau:

No wonder a lot of people these days no longer trust the activities [like this competition] done by the government.

Bell Chou:

The purpose of holding this kind of essay competition is worth discussing, but what business is it of netizens what someone’s name is, so ridiculous.

An Jin Yu:

How come there are so many people who wantonly criticize others for simply having different opinions. Isn’t the importance of democratic cultivation the tolerance of different opinions?

Erich Yang:

If the Diaoyu Islands could become ours simply through holding essay contests, then I hope we hold several more.

Adream Huang:

The govenrment only needs to show the whole world convincing evidence that the Diaoyu Islands belong to the Republic of China, not slogans and essays. That is the policy of keeping the people in ignorance. I’ve seen documents showing that the Diaoyu Islands belong to Japan, but to this day I still cannot find evidence and documents for the Republic of China.

Sam Wu:

(Sigh~ I forgot to submit this ~”~||)



[Note: The above is a bonus for aspiring Chinese language learners.]


Even this type of news is worth reporting? Where is the professionalism of the news these days… ridiculous.

Yutzu Hsieh:

His name was given by his family, and if you’re going to participate in an essay contest, then of course you’ll have to write according to the prompt if you want to win. Attacking a kid that isn’t even 18 years old, netizens, can you guys just stop? Using cruel language to prevent a kid from being happy for winning is one thing, but to also have his name attacked and treated as a joke… The main thing is this even being placed on the homepage of Yahoo, to be publicly judged by millions of people…

TszungYu Lin:

Fake name.

Olga Lee:

What do we do when the enemy attacks us??? Ministry of National Defense: We’ll hold an essay competition to scare them to death!!

Wen-Hu Liao:

The KMT is still doing its 30 year old tricks!


But having said that, are those who can write essays and are called Tongyi not allowed to win?


[You guys/netizens] are reading too much into it! If you don’t like it, you can just change your own name to “Bu Tongyi [disagree]”…. haha

Wang Fu Jang:

With everything being politicized, is there still a future for Taiwan? Will Tongyi noodles [an instant noodle brand] also be criticized?


Written by Stuart Dingle


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