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.

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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?

  • kung

    I’m Taiwanese, and nobody in Taiwan is talking about this now. Everyone is talking about the minister of education being scolded by a college student in the congress.

    • themig

      sofa!, every community talks about different aspects of other communitys. China talks about Ma. taiwanese in america talk about negro-americans pushing koreans into subway tracks etc


      • MrT

        for the hot Gossip every one hanging out over at Beijing Cream!
        Where its at!

      • mr.wiener

        Do you get a little stiffy every time you post on of these articles?

      • Alphy

        What? You can’t call sofa on a reply?! Are you nuts?!

        Anyways, thanks for the link to the crazy homeless man.

    • pengyou

      Don’t know why CS is publishing so much about Taiwan recently, trying to make a point maybe?
      Anyway if you wanna talk about Taiwan’s news better talk about Apple Daily getting bought by pro-mainland Tycoon……….

  • jon776

    Can the US simply decide who owns what so we can get this over with.

    • starting

      the USA is too busy getting the chance to be nerve gassed in Syria to bother

      • MrT

        yea that “ole” story, the word “might” be throwing around again.

        “Might” covers everything so its useful word when you want to do well anything.

        • MrT

          It might snow at Christmas or it might not..

      • Since when is the US in Syria?

      • Getrealson

        Another dumbass comment from a time proven creten! Animal!

    • Alphy

      I am pretty sure it was written somewhere on the document signed on USS Missouri. As the Japanese surrender document returned all occupied land to pre-ww2 status, with territorial lines clearly drawn.

      Then again, no matter what US say, or what side US takes, the other side will just say “Stick it USA, the island is mine!”.

  • Jennster

    i don’t mind or hope the xi jin ping dont mind to let kmt establish their party in mainland china so there is ‘democracy’ and these politicans can hit each other with each disagreement, seeing the netizens love it so much. there could also be reunification with taiwan if this situation arises unless taiwanese still believe there are ethnic/wealth disparity reasons. At least i know i am not that into/care about voting/elections as none of my family members.

  • Alphy

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with requesting opinion of the public. And poor kid, getting make fun of because of his name. As if they don’t do that already in school.

    I still don’t see the result and suggestion of the essay. What’s the suggestion to resolving the island dispute? The only thing I see of the content is that the kid copy 80% off of Wikipedia and Foreign minister statement.

  • the ace of books

    I like this comment: “he turned the essay competition into a report of common knowledge, and also earned some money“, because it’s true. Kid might’ve been a patriot or he might not have, but good on him for letting plagiarised propaganda win him some cash mo-mo. :]

  • The islands belong to Japan, get it over it already.
    Also, it won’t be long before the mainland has enough of it’s loyal citizens in TW to control public opinion enough to vote reunification, just like they’re doing in HK. The days of freedom and culture will soon be over for both countries.

    • Elijah


      I simply refuse to believe that a country that functions on corruption and secrecy would ever try to unduly influence things by hook or crook. Next you’re going to tell me that china copies all it’s tech through corporate and military espionage.

      Harrumph to you sir! I shall not stand this slander of the good and noble name of chi – PFFFF!!! Bwahahahahahahaha! I couldn’t actually get all the way saying it…

      • ;)

      • Gaius Baltar

        I wouldn’t be so quick to decry China, I’d say there is a far greater chance of a brighter future there, than say Canada. Enough Canadian FT’s in China, that is a fact.

        • al in china

          Really? It should be fine if our Mr Harper lost his hard on to sell Canadian oil to the China. But don’t worry we have to go home soon to vote him out!

    • Eddie

      Yeah the islands belong to Japan just like Hawaii, The Virgin Islands, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Bikini Islands and the entire southwest United States belongs to the USA. And maybe soon the Arctic will further fall to colonization.

      But you forgot that the USA STOLE most of their country from Mexico in the Mexican American War 1846-1848. Now the CHICANOS are taking it back peacefully through their sheer NUMBERS. This is the revenge of the Native Americans whom we stole lands from.

      Numbers are stronger long term than weapons! Look at the former colonies and see how the largest of them are becoming reborn like a pheonix-India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. “A dead camel is still bigger than a live horse.”

      Mikey Mikey what about Dokdo? Does that also belong to Japan and not Korea. Face it you have little INFO or FACTS. You are just holding on to the might makes right philosophy, unfortunately you are not on the “overwhelmingly” mightier side anymore. However that is OK because you forgot that the USA was the SECOND largest exporter of Opium into CHINA!

      As an American I am personally glad that in the modern era we are learning that war and might should not thwart right and wrong! Ever heard of the civil rights movement???

      Why do you think it is the ethnic studies came about? It was because the country did not want the minorities to keep burning things down and rioting. Why did WWII come about? It was partially because we treated Germany so unfair during at Versailles.

      • You’re an idiot and are probably a communist, and most definitely a troll.
        Go rant on China Daily where they welcome your hate speech.

  • Kim Jerk You

    Senkaku belongs to Japan, no doubt about it

    • Stephan

      When you lose territory in a war consider it gone for good. Or are you saying Germany holds a justifiable claim to half of Poland and parts of Russia?
      I am quite optimistic that a growingly aggressive and nationalist China will fall into the Senkaku trap and give the US a justification to beat China into a humiliating doggy style position by proxy of it’s neighbouring countries. Those see more of a friend in the United States than the child like Beijing dictatorship.
      Mark my words. Two decades tops and China will overstretch and learn a lesson.
      It will be hillarious.

      • Christopher Hitchens

        stupid comparison. Bukakke islands was not gained through Chinese aggression and then subsequently lost when they lost the war. It was not rightfully and “officially” given back to the Chinese by the Americans as a way to stir up trouble.

      • Christopher Hitchens

        Yeah you would love to see “them learn a lesson” wouldn’t you? You are nothing but a pathetic China bashing troll. Why are you such a scum bag like the ones you criticize in your comments?

      • Gaius Baltar

        To me it looks like it is the USA that is overstretching. They can’t even clear their debt. Which country has people sleeping in tents and their cards, and which country has people buying up apartments? There is a far more likely chance the USA will splinter before China ever does.

        • Gaius Baltar

          Cars, rather.

      • Eddie

        You IDIOT! Did you forget the second Korean American War, yeah the US invaded Korea TWICE! Anyhow it won the first war and STALEMATED the second war. Your doggystyle DID NOT happen. More like the US ran out of political WILL and decided to escalate to battlefield tactical nuclear weapons, which would have brought in the Soviet Union. The allies had FULL air superiority then. Also MacArthur was beaten with a SMALLER force than he cared to admit to. These are just the HISTORICAL FACTS, of which you know very little.

        Bill Clinton said it best, it is INSANE for either of these two huge countries to wage war. RAND also put it nicely that economic warfare could do more harm than military conflict between these two countries.

        “No nation ever prospers from a prolonged war.”-Sun Tzu

      • Eddie

        I forgot to answer your question about Germany’s claim to Poland and Russia. This directly applies to Daiyu. You see Germany held those territories in question for the LEAST period of time, hence giving them the LEAST right to the territory. Poland and Germany are also the NEWEST or YOUNGEST nations of the three.

        That is something EVERY nation who controls conquered territory is in fear of. The notion that another nation held the territory for much longer a period clearly is what helps justify their ownership.

        The Macedonian Empire could not maintain the Hellenistic hold onto Persia or India. Just like the Mongols could not make the Chinese Mongolian. War and aggression are a political means to an end. They do not guarantee political victory no matter how many battles are won. Especially in the historical context. The American colonies won the LEAST amount of battles, but won because an Asian Indian revolt weakened the British Empire. America also won EVERY battle of the Vietnam War but had to retreat because of domestic political pressure.

        Daiyu was occupied by Japan for even less time compared to Taiwan or even China. Especially given the time frame of your brief examples-Germany, Poland and Russia. Taiwanese are the original inhabitants of the islands. They have ventured here, to Daiyu, for over 30,000 years chasing the fish. They were part of the first human migration out of Africa 50,000 years ago.

        Oh and the reason Poland was so WEAK historically between both Germanic and Viking Russians was because they were the first nation to practice DIRECT Democracy. Greek Democracy was NOT DIRECT. So only one vote negative would negate the proposal. That is DIRECT DEMOCRACY every voice counts, not just the majority. We use more of a Republican system in the modern era. The people don’t make decisions, they just choose representatives to make decisions for them. With a majority vote wielding the power.

        Poland and Germany are the newest of the three countries. So I cannot attest to how long those borders will remain. Just like the Balkans reminds us, Europe has a history of warfare and hostility among its nations. The historical norm would suggest these brief or less often periods of peace are temporary.

  • Roihu

    At this pace, we’ll have a non-stereotypical male Asian protagonist in Hollywood before this clears up.

  • Commentator “kung” is right, this is a non-story in Taiwan, the whole internet is abuzz over the student activist his clash with the Minister of Education. Nevertheless, it’s still a very entertaining article.

    • Kai

      Was it a non-story or is it just old by now? I looked up the original Yahoo article and it was published November 27, which is like 10 days ago. Not very timely.

      I just looked at what’s coming out today. It’s even less timely… :(

      • I don’t know anyone in my online circles, who has discussed this, not on Twitter, not on Facebook and I’m following many people in Taiwan, Taiwanese and expats. It probably wasn’t shared a lot, it didn’t create a lot of buzz. I got to know about it here today. I would say generally Taiwanese don’t really bother too much about these islands, hence it wasn’t a big story.

  • Jose

    Ugh, do those islands even have fish???

  • where is the news?

    An update today Yichun Xu pleads not guilty to all charges. Next court hearing is December 18th


  • real

    It is clear the issue is going to be resolved by power and money not by an essay. Many Jews still refuse to buy German products, If Chinese continue to support Japanese economy which drives the Japanese aggression then Chinese people will lost their legal claim of Diaoyu Islands.

    • Alice S

      I think the boycotting movement arises from the theory that Jap tax goes to military spending.

  • boadiao

    n spite of the apology from German government, few Jews own German cars. Japan not only changes WWII history and continuous occupies Diaoyu Islands, if Chinese only want to discuss in an essay, bChinese will loose Diaoyu Islands.

    It is time to wake up. Both economic boycott, navy patrol and join action from Chinese on both shores of Taiwan strait could stop the Japanese aggression.

  • Christopher Hitchens

    Diaoyu belongs to China, no doubt about it. It was stolen from China before WW2. So now they have to give it back.

    • Stephan

      That’s Senkaku for you, Sir.

      • Christopher Hitchens

        That’s Diaoyu for you, Ma’am.

    • You defile the name Christopher Hitchens. A pox on you.

  • Paneraman

    The islands belong to Argentina.

  • Jeff

    It ALL belongs to China – just look at the map on their newest passports…

  • Eidolon

    Japan took the islands by force, China now wants to take it back without force. That’s not going to work. Territory lost in a war is indeed lost – just as territory gained in a war is gained. The laws of the world were made by the victors of WW II, after all. Those who refuse to accept the status quo have to understand that, in the end, to the victor goes the spoils. This, of course, makes it extra frustrating for the Chinese who have an instinctual aversion to war. But that is what change is all about.

    • Where are you from? I ask because your ancestors probably took the land you’re living on this very moment form someone else in a military action.

      China does not have an aversion to war, it has an aversion to losing a war since China is all about face, and little more. Also, the Chinese army has no experience in combat outside of killing unarmed Tibetans and Uygers.

  • Dr Sun

    I do surely hope hope the unification will happen, the cpc is disbanded and all ex cpc are giving the very lowest of hukuo of “ex dog” and become the new mingong and the central govt moves to Yunnan.