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Taiwan at the Crossroads

Chuan Lyu Lectures
University of Cambridge

Subject: Taiwan at the Crossroads

3:00PM, Wendesday, Nov 22, 2000
at the Faculty of Oriental Studies
University of Cambridge

Subject: Taiwan at the Crossroads By: Dr. Lee Yuan-Tseh President, Academia Sinica of Taiwan      Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great honor to come here to give a talk to you this afternoon.About seven years ago, after living in the United States for 32 years, I returned to Taiwan where I was born. It was neither the ancient Chinese belief that "All fallen leaves should return and nourish their roots", so-called , nor the call of my homeland that urged me to return. I did feel that I had become old or mature enough to offer substantial help to the people in Taiwan, where the society is in the process of transforming from an authoritarian to a democratic system. And I thought I might also provide some assistance and promote the cooperation for the development of science and education in Asian countries.

     In 1895 Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki (). Under the colonial rule of Japan, the people of Taiwan suffered deeply from the rule of a different nation.  They were oppressed and subjected to discrimination and inequality of opportunity.  As a result, the collective spirit of Taiwanese people longed to drive the foreign rulers out.  During that period, the Japanese rulers strictly enforced a policy of identifying with Japan and Taiwan's culture was suppressed.  Taiwan's aboriginal and mainlanders' cultures brought over from the Mainland by the immigrants in the middle of Ming and beginning of Ch'ing Dynasties were all stifled.  As a consequence, this had left a deep cultural scar.  In the last years of World War II, the Allies forces began bombarding Taiwan for over a period of almost two years.  Taiwan's military and industrial facilities and metropolitan areas were seriously damaged.   The majority of people fled to the mountainous areas had experienced the harshness of war in delirious and destitute circumstances.  After World War II, having experienced the calamity of war and hardship of 50 years of colonial rule, the Taiwanese people finally were able to return to the embrace of their motherland.  And they embraced this prospect with great excitement and anticipation. 

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