Intercultural Communication

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Wikipedia project: Taiwanese localization movement

Posted by sydneylee on December 7, 2006

Due to the strong national power of Mainland China, Taiwan has been struggling to find its place in international society. For most foreigners, sometimes it is hard to distinguish Mainland China and Taiwan on culture, art and so on. That is why the Taiwanese government tries to develop the localization movement.

The article “Taiwanese localization movement” is divided into four sections: effect, history, suppose and dispute. At the very beginning, the article explains that in order not to be regarded as a part of China, the movement highlights the distinguishing characteristics of Taiwanese culture. It should be glad to see that Taiwanese government has put their effort to advance the local culture, whereas it is sad to know the movement has become a political trick which is played to win their elections in recent years.

Except, the article points out that the movement is mainly developed in three ways: rewriting textbooks to emphasize the history of Taiwan and tried not to put too much issues about the national identity problem between china and Taiwan, promoting the language and culture of aboriginal and Hakka through media, changing the names of some companies and organizations from “China” into “Taiwan.” However, it fails to contain the controversial part that each elementary school student is required to be taught Taiwanese which is a spoken language and the writing system had lost, thus causes many complains from schools and students. Yet, in my opinion, it is not wise to practice “the Campaign for the Correction of Names”. Because most of Taiwanese cultures and arts are developed from China, it means nothing even though the word “China” has been taken off from the title.

The article illustrates that the local identity of Taiwan had kept ignored by the Imperial Japanese government and the Kuomintang, but now the localization movement is highly valued after the governing of President Lee Teng-hui.

Moreover, according to the article, the movement earns the support from the two major political parties and PRC. However, there are some arguments between “three main political groups”, the article mentions, about whether Taiwan should create its own identity in order to separate from Mainland China or not. However, the process has been played as a dangerous movement; for some politicians are intend to lead people to think that we should drive anything related to China out of Taiwan, including those who came from China but stay in Taiwan now. It becomes a line which is hard to across between Taiwanese and Chinese. Besides, for instance, how do you define a literature, which is written by a Taiwanese yet is accomplished under the governing of Japanese government, as Japanese literature or Taiwanese literature? This article can add more information about what the movement influence Taiwan.

On the discussion part, one guy mentioned that the issue of localization movement “ is not a divisive issue on Taiwan”, and it also the support from major political parties. I agree with that. Since Taiwanese already has a strong conscious of nation identity, there is no political party want to lose their supporter for against the movement. Others say that “The Taiwanese localization movement really has nothing to do with the political status of Taiwan (now, it did in the 1970’s). It’s more of a question of local cultural identity”. In some part, people have more interested to find out what the root of Taiwanese art, literature, culture is. Yet, in other part, the movement is still effected by politic. They try to put the label on culture, art, and people about what is from Taiwan and what is not.

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