In her June 4 letter, “Careful whom you call ‘Chinese,’” June Dreyer contradicted the claim in my May 27 article, “Cross-strait gap narrows,” that most Taiwanese think Chinese, speak Chinese and are Chinese like any other Chinese people.
I had in mind the facts that the official language and language of education is Mandarin Chinese (you will hear better Mandarin in the streets of Taipei than you will hear anywhere in China); the native language is the dialect of Chinese from China’s Fukien province (from where the bulk of the population originate); the religions of Taiwan are from China; the food is Chinese; the ruling Kuomintang party comes from China; the claimed national heroes Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek come from China; the state museum proudly displays artifacts taken from China; and the country still calls itself the Republic of China.
Contrary to what Dreyer says, I do not rely on Beijing to tell me about Taiwan. I have visited the island at least a dozen times since the early 1960s, speak the official language and have met many Taiwan leaders over the years. But I agree with her (and as I said in my article) the desire for independence from China exists, even if only in certain circles.
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