2023-0928: U.S. Reps. Correct Elon Musk on Taiwan’s Status and History; U.S. Sens. Push Language Programs with Taiwan over China

U.S. Reps. Ogles and Weber Call upon Elon Musk to Re-Evaluate His Understanding of Taiwan’s Status and History

On September 20, U.S. Representatives Andy Ogles (R-TN) and Randy Weber (R-TX) wrote a letter to Elon Musk offering to teach him about the history of Taiwan, while emphasizing that “Taiwan is not part of the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and its free will certainly isn’t for sale.”

Musk, the owner of social media platform X, recently caused a media storm after saying that Taiwan is an “integral part of China,” during an interview on the “All-In” podcast on September 13. Musk has been slammed for comments that are in line with the views of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In response, U.S. Reps. Ogles and Weber jointly sent a letter to Musk that they posted on X. In the letter, Ogles and Weber shared some significant events from Taiwan’s past, explaining to Musk that his comments on the nation betray “a lack of understanding of basic history.”

The Congressmen also noted that companies like Telsa “would not be able to operate in China if their leadership took a differing view” from that of the CCP on Taiwan. They called Musk’s statement “deeply ironic” in light of his “firm commitment to the principle of free expression.”

They said the CCP “has, at no point since its brutish reign of terror began in 1949, been able to claim any kind of control over Taiwan.”

The lawmakers quoted Mao Zedong, founder of the PRC, saying in a 1936 interview with journalist Edgar Snow, “We will extend them [the Koreans] our enthusiastic help in their struggle for independence. The same thing applies to Taiwan.”

They emphasized, “Taiwan is not part of the PRC, and its free will certainly isn’t for sale. There is little credible basis for a statement that somehow ties Taiwan to Chinese rule, and certainly no basis for tying Taiwan to CCP rule.”

The representatives concluded: “[The people of Taiwan have] their own country now. . . . They’ve long since embraced a ‘Taiwanese’ identity and a desire to fully engage with fellow countries in all types of international fora. Instead of dismissing these aspirations — which are based on a history of decidedly not being an integral part of China — [we] would urge you [Musk] to re-evaluate your own understanding of the Taiwanese nation.”

FAPA National President Minze Chien reacts: “One cannot put a dollar sign on Taiwan’s democracy (and on democracy in general). Keeping Taiwan free is a critical interest for the entire free world. China’s bullying and strong-arming of countries, peoples and individuals like Elon Musk therefore needs to stop!”

Dr. Chien adds: “After all, Taiwan has never been part of China. The future of Taiwan is ONLY up to the people of Taiwan to decide — not up to Elon Musk or China’s strongman Xi Jinping!”

[1] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/5005307

U.S. Sens. Blackburn and Markey Push Mandarin-Language Programs with Taiwan over China

On September 26, U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a resolution (S.Res.363) urging U.S. colleges and universities to support the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative and collaborate with Taiwan to create Mandarin-language education programs as an alternative to China’s propaganda fueled Confucius Institutes.

The move comes amid a sharp decline in Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes, which are facing pressure from the U.S. government due to allegations that they are involved in propaganda and espionage activities directed by Beijing.

The number of Confucius Institutes, which teach Chinese language and culture to U.S. university students, has dropped from more than 100 in 2017 to just seven in early 2023, a report published by Axios said on September 25.

The bipartisan resolution calls on U.S. institutions of higher learning to support the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative by creating Taiwanese-run language programs in favor of language programs run by the Chinese government, the report said.

“Communist China has had a strong presence at American colleges and universities,” Sen. Blackburn said in a news release on September 26.

“Our institutes of higher learning must be free from China’s grasp while still teaching students about the culture, history and language, and Taiwan can help fill this critical void,” Blackburn added.

“If we want to continue building a strong relationship with Taiwan, then we need to support foreign-language exchange between our two nations,” Sen. Markey said in the news release.

“This resolution reaffirms our nation’s commitment to expanding educational opportunities for people at home and abroad to learn English or Mandarin,” Markey added.

The FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act prohibited U.S. universities that receive Pentagon funding for language programs from also accepting language program funding from the Chinese government.

In August 2020, the U.S. designated Confucius Institutes as foreign missions of the Chinese government, requiring them to provide the U.S. State Department with disclosures about their personnel and funding.

[1] Axios: https://www.axios.com/2023/09/25/taiwan-language-program-us-universities-congress
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/09/28/2003806888