Death, hunger strike, and execution reveal mounting tension between Taiwan and China

The father of a family friend of mine recently passed away in Taiwan. He was a well-respected Taiwanese dignitary, and mourning his death will continue until his burial next week. In the meantime, family members leave the front door of their home open and people stop by to express their condolences.

There’s a lot of crying going on in Taiwan these days. Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian ended his two-week hunger strike that was an effort in protesting his recent arrest. He has been accused of bribing and money-laundering – the proof of which has been uncovered in three Swiss bank accounts. Despite this proof, he wrote a poem that was published in the Liberty Times on November 25th, saying he would die for Taiwan’s independence from China. He continues to accuse Taiwan’s current administration of pandering to its communist neighbor. To be certain, if Chen had been arrested in China he would be executed immediately (none of this hunger strike business!), as was the case of Wo Weihan, a biomedical researcher and businessman who was accused of spying for Taiwan. Wo was executed Friday, leaving no final words and saying no goodbyes. The E.U. and U.S. contend that Wo did not receive a fair trial.

Tension is mounting between these two Asian neighbors. Death, hunger strikes, and executions certainly cannot resolve the deeper issues that will surface in the months to come.