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Boston activists keep Taiwan issue alive at Harvard Square

Taiwan Outreach at Harvard Square reaches thousands of people
Taiwan Outreach at Harvard Square reaches thousands of people
Taiwan Outreach

Taiwanese-American activists in Boston keep Taiwan’s unresolved international status before the public. Taiwan Outreach is comprised of members of the Massachusetts chapter of Formosan Association for Public Affairs and others.

Taiwan Outreach holds monthly vigils for Taiwan at the Harvard Square subway station right outside the entrance of Harvard University. Thousands of students, shoppers, and commuters are reached by the vigils that include musical performances. Other activities of the group are Congressional office visits and screenings of films.

The outreach activists are holding screenings of the film Good Country Good People which premiered in October to increase awareness of Taiwan.

Ma Ying-jeou, the current president of the Republic of China in-exile controlling Taiwan, is an alumni of Harvard Law School where he headed a student group during the Kuomintang martial law period. Ma’s studies suffered while writing his thesis to keep up with his political work. Ma’s typo-ridden thesis created a controversy at the Harvard campus when his sloppy scholarship was discovered.

Taiwan Outreach seeks self-determination for the island and diplomatic recognition for Taiwan. The island, also known as Formosa, is former Japanese territory under occupation control since the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty that ended World War II between the United States and Japan identified the United States as the “principal occupying power” after Japan ceded all claims to the island. The United States installed the exiled Republic of China to administer the island during the heat of the Cold War and the threat of aggression by “Red China.”

Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang regime imposed a harsh martial law for four decades denying the islanders a referendum to determine sovereignty. Meanwhile, the People’s Republic of China has made military threats to invade the island if independence is declared from the ROC government.

The United States has adopted a “strategic ambiguity” policy on Taiwan leaving the fate of the populace in limbo. Recently Taiwanese athletes at the 2012 Olympics had to compete under the white flag of “Chinese Taipei” further confusing the national identify.

In 2009, the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals declared Taiwan to be in “political purgatory” and urged President Barack Obama to act expeditiously to resolve sovereignty. Instead Obama announced support of a vague “one China” policy and has opposed independence for the 23 million people ofTaiwan.

For further information on Taiwan’s unresolved status

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