SF/Bay Area Presentation: “Keep Taiwan Free: The Making of Taiwan’s Democracy”

Date: Sunday, June 20, 2010
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Taiwanese American Center, 4413 Fortran Ct, San Jose, CA
Free Admission
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124044714280493

Until about twenty years ago, Taiwan was a country ruled by martial law. During that era, the government on Taiwan brutally suppressed numerous pro-democracy protests; most notably in Kaohsiung in 1979. Yet, by 1988, the first direct local elections had taken place, and the first direct presidential elections followed in 1996. How did this democratic reform happen? Can the seeds of Taiwanese democracy be transplanted elsewhere in Asia?

During the 1996 presidential election, Beijing attempted to intimidate the Taiwanese electorate by conducting extensive missile tests across the Taiwan Strait, hitting targets within 25 kilometers of Taiwan. The message was clear: “a vote for Lee Teng-Hui is a vote for war”. In response, President Clinton sent an aircraft carrier to the Taiwan Strait, in order to fulfill the obligations of the Taiwan Relations Act. Beijing’s maneuver was unsuccessful, and Lee Teng-Hui became Taiwan’s first democratically elected president. Today, China relies on softer tactics to pressure Taiwan, with economic integration being its first step towards its longer-term goal of annexation.

Join us as Professor Jerome Keating, renowned author, scholar and commentator from National Taipei University, provides us with an overview of the historical developments and changes under which democracy emerged in Taiwan as well as the current threats and challenges that still need to be met as it develops.

Bio: Jerome F. Keating

Jerome F. Keating is an educator, trainer, consultant and writer who currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan, who recently retired from National Taipei University. His co-authored book, “Island in the Stream: A Quick Case Study of Taiwan’s Complex History” is now in its 4th edition (2008). A second work, “Taiwan: Struggles of a Democracy” was published in 2006, and a third, “Taiwan: The Search for Identity”, was published in early 2008. He has also published numerous articles on many aspects of Taiwan’s political and international status.

In his writings, Keating is pro-democracy and uses the African proverb, “Until lions have their historians, the tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”, which he applies to the history of Taiwan. As Taiwan is buffeted about by the desires, whims and greed of the hegemonic powers surrounding it, the world has never asked the Taiwanese what they want for their country and their lives.

Leave a Reply