Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

December, 1978, Demonstrations

I found this article from the December 17, 1978, issue of the Ocala (Florida) Star Banner. It describes the demonstrations at the HSA compound after the announcement that the US was dropping its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and withdrawing its military forces. There's also a fuzzy photo of some of the demonstrators in the article.

Les and Barb previously described what it was like to be a US military member stationed in Taipei during that period. Scary times.

As I've said before, I'm told that many of the young people in Taiwan today don't even know that American military folks were ever stationed there. Titojohn sent me an article the other day about direct passenger flights about to begin between Taiwan and the People's Republic. The Gemo must be spinning in his grave.

Life goes on.


Victor said...

I remember those demonstrations although I was very young back in 1978. The cars of the U.S. delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, were casted by tons of eggs and peanuts(a symbol of Jimmy Carter) from the angry mob. That was not something you could see in Taiwan every day when the country was still under the martial law.
The direct passenger flights between Taiwan and China began last year. To be more specific, the first flight was on the 4th of July, the Independence Day, in 2008. So far, charter flights only, but the regular scheduled flights will go into business soon. Even CKS and his son will probably be buried in their hometown in Zhejiang, China some day in the future.

Don said...

Victor wrote: "...Even CKS and his son will probably be buried in their hometown in Zhejiang, China some day in the future."

Victor, I hadn't heard that before but I suppose it's certainly possible as relations improve.

After I read your comment, I found this article regarding CKS's burial in Taiwan during 2004:

Anonymous said...

I was 11 and living on Grass Mountain. Started getting in fights with the Chinese kids. Those poor kids only knew that their parents were angry with us.

Victor said...

The formal burial of CKS and CCK was never carried out because Chiangs' family changed their mind after being insulted by the harsh comments on CKS made by the former president Chen, Shui-Bian during his second term in 2004-2008. The bodies are still kept in the temporary resting places in Tzuhu and Touliao in Taoyuan County, which, ironically, becomes one of the most popular spots for the tourists from Mainland China in today's Taiwan.

Don said...

Very interesting! Thanks very much for sharing that information.

Don said...

"Anonymous" wrote: "I was 11 and living on Grass Mountain. Started getting in fights with the Chinese kids. Those poor kids only knew that their parents were angry with us."

I would very much like to hear more about your experiences during that period. Please send me an email at the address shown at the top-right of the blog. Thanks!

Victor said...

One thing I recall about what happened in Taiwan in Dec, 1978 is that a Frenchman living in Taipei never left his house without putting on his T-shirt(or jacket?) which has a huge France National Flag on it. Well, people in Taiwan in 1978 seemed to forget already that France broke up its diplomatic ties with Taiwan longggg before the U.S. did the same thing. President Charles de Gaulle, an ally of CKS during WWII, established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1964.

Misty said...

I was in Taipei during this time as well. We had booklets of stickers with the nationalist flag and "Keep Free China Free" on them. We'd stick these everywhere including our clothes so that we didn't get hassled. I still have the remnants of one of the stickers on an old passport.

The direct flights now are saving everyone a lot of money and are mostly full of businessmen. Very few mainland tourists yet.

When expats in Taiwan first went or rather were invited to Mainland China in the 70's, to do business, they would have to hold two passports. Not for the mainland side but for Taiwan as they wouldn't give you a visa if you had a mainland stamp in it and no one back then living in Taiwan took up official residency. You'd hold one passport in Hong Kong at all times. It was a constant juggling act. Mind you in the early days of getting into China you couldn't even fly in and had to go across the border on foot.

I know a couple of westerners in Taiwan that have residency and hold Taiwanese passports. This allows them to get in the Chinese Nationals line when going through immigration when entering Mainland China. This causes great consternation for the Chinese airport officials who constantly try to corral them into the 'Foreigners' queue because it has never crossed their minds that caucasians could be Chinese.

How times have changed... :-)

Victor said...

>Very few mainland tourists yet

This I tend to disagree. Both sides reached a deal in 2008 which allows up to 3,000 tourists from China per day to visit Taiwan, and that number has increased since Feb. Where I live in Taiwan is pretty close to Sun Moon Lake, one of the two hottest spots for the tourists from China (the other one is Alishan, Mt. Ali). I can see almost every day dozens of Chinese tourists on the streets in the town I live. Yes, no kidding, every day.
Definitely a good thing for Taiwan? Not exactly. FYI

Bill said...

I remember very well that when the demonstrations started we army communications types on Grass Mtn went on our typhoon alert teams. That meant the people on shift when the situation was declared stayed at work until an all clear was sounded.
We stayed in the GM facility for 3 days...getting food at the GM snack bar next to AFNT.....
I moved into the Tien Mu Guest House right after XMAS of 78....luckily I had no trouble..