It is not a well known fact that Taiwan, a little democratic island state, had been a founding member of the United Nations and that Taiwan was only removed as a member in 1971 after the United Nations gave into the demands of mainland China following mainland China’s assertion of the “One-China Policy,” which claims Taiwan as Chinese territory, despite the 1949 Taiwanese Kuomintang government being the former ruling party of mainland China as well as the political party that had co-founded the U.N. The history, conflict, and discourse on “independence” between China and Taiwan are complex, but if you are interested in learning more, please click here or here!
The United Nation’s 71st General Assembly opened on Tuesday 9/13, and with that, the Taiwan’s United Nations Alliance campaigned for Taiwan’s re-entry into the U.N for the 13th time since the civic alliance was founded in 2003. Here is an excerpt from the NY Times Article:
“The United Nations talks about justice and human rights, yet they pretend we don’t exist,” said Ms. Ou, who, as the director of Taiwan’s United Nations Task Force, is charged with a campaign to gain greater recognition for her people. “It’s humiliating, ridiculous and childish.”
If you would like to read more from the same NY Time’s article, please click here!
The NYU dorm I live in organizes stimulating, educational trips around NYC, with the latest one being a guided tour around the U.N Headquarters building. I was not able to attend because of a time conflict with my classes, but I wonder… If I had gone on the privately organized, NYU-affiliated tour, with my Taiwanese & American passports, would I be barred from entering the building as countless of other Taiwanese citizens hoping to tour the U.N have? I really wish that I had tested out this socio-political experiment by first displaying my Taiwanese passport and being told that I cannot enter, and then showing them my American passport to gauge their reaction and response. By having both passports, I am essentially both Taiwanese and American. However, if only my American nationality is accepted for entry into the building but not my Taiwanese nationality, then what are they supposed to do with someone who is both “acceptable” and “unacceptable”? Instead of the usual “torn between two cultures” rhetoric, am I literally “caught between two worlds” now?
Of course I could save the hassle and rejection by only displaying my American passport, but that would be as if I were actually apologetic for and ashamed of my Taiwanese nationality just because some supposedly “politically correct” intergovernmental organization does not recognize Taiwan’s status as an autonomous nation state. By going with the flow, I would also be turning a blind eye to the struggles that my Taiwanese compatriots have to endure, and how could I do that when I am not just American but also Taiwanese?
As a Politics and East Asian Studies major as well as a Taiwanese-American, I am eager to conduct this sociopolitical experiment in the future. I also truly hope that with time the U.N will actually uphold Article 1 of its founding charter, which is “[t]o develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace” because what it is doing right now is but concessions to its superpower members. The U.N, as it is now, is but a travesty of the values of “social progress” and “sovereign equality” which it was founded upon, among many other disappointments, which I regrettably admit have made my dreams of working for the U.N a mere cynical disillusion.