Happy Birthday to the Republic of China (that’s Taiwan to you)

100th Year Double Ten celebration

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Wuchang Uprising in China, which occurred on October 10, 1911. The date is celebrated annually as Double Ten Day in the Republic of China as the event that marked the end of dynastic rule and the close of the Qing Dynasty.

That’s the Republic of China, not the People’s Republic of China, or “Mainland China.” Double Ten Day is a national holiday for the government that is currently in exile in Taiwan.

Here’s the history: The Wuchang Uprising in 1911 led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1912, but in 1927, the Nationalist Kuomintang Party (KMT) which governed the ROC began fighting the insurgent Communist Party of China for control of the country. After World War II, during which the two parties united to fight the Japanese, the Communists led by Mao Zedong won control, and the KMT, led by General Chiang Kai-shek, went into exile on the island of Formosa — renamed Taiwan — off the southeast coast of the now-Communist People’s Republic of China.

The two Chinas have had a rocky relationship in the decades since, although economic ties have led to trade and some closing of the divide between them. But China likes to rattle its sword whenever (like recently) the U.S. offers military aid to Taiwan — even if the military aid is more symbolic than threatening.Its part of the delicate diplomatic tightrope that every country walks if it has relationships with China and Taiwan. No one can ignore the relationship, because both countries have become global economic powerhouses. If you have an iPhone or an HTC phone, or an iPad or some other brand of tablet computer, you have products made completely or in large part in either China or Taiwan.

But today, to mark the centennial of the Wuchang Uprising, China seems to have extended an olive branch across the Taiwan Strait. In Beijing, Hu Jintao said that China and Taiwan should end antagonisms, “heal wounds of the past and work together to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

For his part, Taiwan’s President Ma Yingjeou urged mainland China to embrace democracy and “face the existence” of Taiwan.

It doesn’t look like the stalemate has been ended by this exchange, although overall, the freeze has been thawing.

Colorado has an interesting connection to the Double Ten Celebration:
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Michele Bachmann says 1924 immigration law that banned Japanese from U.S. “worked very, very well”

Michele BachmannReally? During Monday night’s Tea Party debate among the Republican presidential candidates, Michele Bachmann noted that U.S. immigration law was just fine until the mid-1960s when Congress made it possible for Asians to enter the country after decades of being excluded. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 finally opened the door to people like my mom’s family for the first time since the Asian Exclusion Act and National Origins Act, both passed in 1924 as part of a package of immigration laws designed specifically to give preferential treatment to European immigrants.

It was great for Bachmann, who describes herself as coming from a “family of Norwegian Lutheran Democrats.”

It’s simply ignorant for a presidential candidate who claims to want to represent everyone in this huge and diverse country, to suggest publicly that people who are not like herself shouldn’t have had the opportunity to achieve the mythic American Dream. She blames the 1965 bill for leading to the immigration ills of today, and said outright during the debate that “The immigration system in the United States worked very, very well up until the mid-1960s when liberal members of Congress changed the immigration laws.”

It’s amazing how many misguided, misinformed and ignorant things Bachmann blithely says. Although the spectacle of her campaign is entertaining in a way, I hope her run doesn’t last all the way past the primaries.

Japan’s Ambassador to US visited Denver for 25th anniversary of Colorado-Yamagata relationship

Ambassador of Japan to U.S., Ichiro Fujisaki

It’s not often that Denver receives visitors at the highest levels of the foreign diplomatic corps, but the 25th anniversary of the start of the Colorado-Yamagata Sister State relationship brought Ichiro Fujisaki, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United State of America, to the Brown Palace on August 6.

Fujisaki gave a keynote speech during a luncheon hosted by the Japan America Society of Colorado, which was also attended by Takashi Takahashi, vice governor of Yamagata Prefecture (state), and Kozo Taira, Chairperson of the Yamagata Prefectural Assembly. Also with the Yamagata delegation were several assemblymen, the assembly’s Chief Secretariat, and representatives of the Yamagata International Affairs Office.

The local speakers included Morgan Smith and James Terada, former chairs of the Colorado-Yamagata Friendship Committee. Smith helped forge the Sister State relationship when he served under then-governor Dick Lamm, who was not initially supportive of the idea. Smith recalled his efforts to get the relationship approved, and the accomplishments since then that have come out of the Sister State compact. Gov. Roy Romner, who followed Lamm, was much more supportive, as was Bill Owens after that, and Gov. Hickenlooper already has strong ties to Japan and with Yamagata through visits he made while he served as Denver’s Mayor.

There were also remarks by Colorado state officials including David Thomson, Director of Global Business Development in the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, President of the state Senate; and Rep. Frank McNulty, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.

But the luncheon never felt like a dry political summit.
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Happy 10th birthday to Phil Yu’s landmark Angry Asian Man blog!

Angry Asian ManErin and I are celebrating the second anniversary of our talk-show visualizAsian, and I’ve been writing my Nikkei View musings since 1998 (check out the Nikkei View archives). But it boggles my mind to think that Phil Yu has been writing his Angry Asian Man blog for 10 years. Why? Because he’s so frickin’ dedicated that he writes multiple times day — every day — week after week, month after month, year after… well, you get the idea.

visualizAsian is once or twice a month. Nikkei View can be several times a week, or sometimes once a month.

But writing sometimes more than 10 post per day? Yowsa. That’s some some serious blogging — blogging on steroids.

Last year, Phil took some time off and asked guest bloggers to fill in, but I know he felt guilty stepping away for a vacation (I’m sure his wife appreciated it, though). Phil is organized — he doesn’t spend his workday posting stuff. He writes at night and sets the posts to launch later. And, these days he gets tons of submissions via email and Facebook to write about, so he’s never lacking material to cover.

Still, it’s truly an amazing feat to keep up this level of productivity for a decade.

Angry Asian Man is the one site I tell everyone that is a must-read daily blog, if they care one whit about Asian America, in politics, pop culture, news or whatever. He calls out racism. He covers hate crimes that mainstream media either overlook as not newsworthy or have forgotten. He gives props to AAPIs doing great things in Hollywood, on the world stage, in pop music. And, he helps the careers of budding young artists who deserve a wider audience.

He gets a ton of traffic and is quoted by the national media when they need an Asian American perspective. He’s inspired a generation of bloggers to follow in his wake. Some Asian Americans, notably Nelson Wong of AA Risings, have been writing longer. And some Asian Americans have gotten their blogs turned into movie deals (yeah, I’m jealous).

But it’s hard to argue that Phil Yu isn’t the most influential Asian American voice out there. He represents us all, and is a national treasure for his efforts.

Thanks, Phil. Keep rocking.

Disturbing video of anti-Muslim protesters in Yorba Linda, Calif screaming at Muslim families

This video made me literally cry. It’s of protesters (includig elected officials) in Yorba Linda, Calif. outside of a fundraising event for homelessness, by a relief organization that happens to be Muslim-based. As attendees arrived, they were subjected to what I can only call hate language.

My stomach clenched when I heard “Go home!” and “Never forget 9/11!” because I’d grown up hearing “Go home, Jap!” and “Remember Pearl Harbor!” from people who hated me for no good reason. They say a lot worse things in this video too, disgusting and ridiculous stuff.

Everyone should watch this video, and realize how vile hatred and bigotry is bubbling just beneath the surface of American society, fueled by fear and ignorance.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the link.

UPDATE: Here’s Al Jazeera English’s report on the protest:

UPDATE: Here’s a link to a Salon story about a Muslim woman who had to walk this gauntlet of protesters with her children to attend the fundraiser.