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Taiwan – A little bit of politics goes a long ways…

Politics…

Did you know that Taiwan is not recognized by the United Nations as country. More specifically, the United Nations does not considered Taiwan a member state or as a “qualified” country. It is also not currently controlled by the People’s Republic of China.

It’s a bit confusing but the short story goes as follows:

The island of Taiwan was ceded back and forth between China and Japan. While under Japanese rule, the Republic of China (ROC) was established on the mainland in 1912 after the fall of the Qing dynasty. Following the Japanese surrender to the Allies in 1945, the ROC took control of Taiwan. A civil war broke out between the mainland Communists (PRC) and the ROC in which the ROC fled to Taiwan. The ROC and PRC negotiated an agreement in order to have a  “pause” in the civil war. The ROC once represented China as a member of the United Nations until 1971, when it lost its seat to the PRC.

The PRC has consistently claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and asserted the ROC is no longer in legitimate existence. Under its One-China Policy, the PRC refuses diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes the ROC. Today, 18 countries maintain official ties with the ROC including Swaziland, Vatican City, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Haiti, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay.

That’s the short end of the story. You can certainly do more research on your own but it’s important understand the status of Taiwan – currently not a country.

Ironically, though, Taiwan is one of the leaders of gay rights. Taiwan (along with Japan) is one of the few countries in Asia which has truly started to accept and protect its gay community to the point where it’s opened the door to gay civil unions.

This is one way Taiwan is working towards being recognized as a separate nation from the PRC on its own – by recognizing that the LGBTQ community have civil rights and are recognized by the Taiwanese government as members of society at least within their own country.

Wow! Talk about really trying to be independent!

228 Peace Memorial Park

I learned some of this information while living in Taipei for month and going on a free walking tour. It really inspired me to write this blog post as it’s something that needed to heard by the rest of the world. One iconic landmark, we walked through was the 228 Peace Memorial Park.

Established in 1908, this historic park became a symbol of LGBT life after it earned its reputation as a gay cruising area in the 60s and 70s. Although not exclusively a gay park, it hosted Taiwan’s first gay pride festival in 1997 and was the setting for Pai Hsien-Yung’s (白先勇) renowned gay novel, “Crystal Boys (孽子)”, making the park an iconic space for LGBT culture.

Following the historic court decision in May (See quote below) ruling the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, marriage equality in Taiwan is expected to be implemented in two years.

“On 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry under the Constitution and that the Legislative Yuan has two years to amend the marriage laws to align with the Constitution. If this is not done, same-sex couples may have their unions registered as marriages and be treated as such by law.”

Until then, we can be sure that no matter what your orientation is, there will always be a place for the LGBT community to enjoy themselves in Taipei.