Celebrating Taiwanese American Heritage Week

This year’s Taiwanese American Heritage Week falls on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China. To many Taiwanese Americans, that makes it extra special. Since 1999, Taiwanese American Heritage Week has been celebrated in the United States starting each Mother’s Day Weekend during the month of May. There are tons of celebrations happening around the country. You don’t have to be a Taiwanese American (I’m Chinese Canadian) to join in. Everyone is welcome.

A Tale of Two Chinas

Many Americans may not know that there is not one but two Chinas in this world. There’s the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which is the China most people know. Then, there is Republic of China (ROC), which most will know as Taiwan. The Republic of China was established by Sun Yat-sen 100 years ago and ruled all of China until Chairman Mao’s Communist party took over in 1949. After the Communist takeover, the ROC fed to Taiwan and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) declared Taipei the provisional capital. Chairman Mao took over all of mainland China and founded the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, leading to two rival governments claiming to be the sole legitimate government of China.

This still stands today. The PRC does not recognize the legitimacy of the ROC and claims Taiwan and other ROC-held areas as a part of its territory. PRC seeks to unify Taiwan and mainland China under the formula of one country, two systems and refuses to renounce the use of military force to do so. Under its constitution, the ROC also officially claims sovereignty over all China though the ROC government currently does not pursue this stance in practice. It does, however, continues to assert itself as a sovereign state.

Caught in the middle of all this is the United States (they’re in the middle of everything). The US has huge investments in both Chinas and walks a fine line between telling the PRC and ROC that they both rule China. Should China ever decide to take Taiwan by force (a computerized simulation conducted by Taiwan’s military concluded that China would capture the island’s capital in just three days if the two sides went to war), the US is somehow legally obligated to defend the ROC. You can imagine the mess this would create.

The chance of the above happening is pretty slim. Things are going extreme well for China right now, and I doubt taking over Taiwan is at the top of their to do list. Then again, you never know what to expect from the People’s Republic.

Forget Politics, Let’s Celebrate!

We celebrated Taiwanese American Heritage Week at the Center for Spiritual Living at the University District in Seattle. The highlight of the evening was a performance by the Keelung Chung Cheng Middle School Folk Sports Troupe. The troupe comes from Keelung in Taiwan. Their average age is 14, and they specialized in rope skipping, diabolo juggling and top twirling. It doesn’t sound impressive until you see them in action. Then it’ll blow your mind.

You can tell the influence of America on Taiwan in the last performance. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. I still can’t get that tune out of my head. A pizza, a pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a pizza. McDonald’s! McDonald’s!

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

Taiwanese American Heritage Week


26 thoughts on “Celebrating Taiwanese American Heritage Week”

  1. Deepak yadav says:

    It looks great and thanks for the history about two china’s. Frankly i didn’t knew about it. Celebrations are great way to know each other and this keeps culture alive.

    1. d3so says:

      Are the cultures similar to mainland china? food, language, customs, etc.?

      1. rizi says:

        Yes, it is similar but also some differences. It’s a big country.

  2. I love cultural celebrations, especially the food . I’ll be on the lookout for some celebrations here in Maryland.

    Did the dragon scare the children?

    I think it’s time for some KFC and a pizza. Cool video…

    1. John Chow says:

      Sally was a little scare of the lion but she knew that it was just a person behind it.

      1. Seems to me that Sally was simply enjoying her ipad and also getting attraction as well.

  3. fazal mayar says:

    I didnt even know Taiwan was part of China…i should read some educational stuff but im not susprised as china tried to conquer some countries in the past!

    1. d3so says:

      Wow I didn’t know that as well. American education = fail!

  4. China thinks Taiwan is part of China but, Taiwan doesn’t think they are part of China.

    1. Yes quite agree with you … Same is the case with Tibet as well.

    2. d3so says:

      What a confusing double-standard 😛

  5. PPC Ian says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing John, and happy Taiwanese American Heritage week! Looks like a super celebration.

  6. rizi says:

    Taiwan doesn’t think it’s part of PRC.
    Taiwan’s Official name is still Republic of China, so it’s still China but ruled by a goverment which was failed in the Civil war.
    Basicly the ROC and PRC is against each other, China is divided since 1949.

    1. Wow we got many people who are good in history.

    2. Kavya Hari says:

      It’s really nice to hear about small history on here 🙂 Superb 🙂

  7. Dave Starr says:

    Hi John, thanks for writing this and adding a little international education for so many who never bother thinking about geography or history until the subject of “the Chinese stealing our jobs” come sup. I don’t know how many Canadians are up to date on China, but most of my fellow Americans never even know there is a difference.

    You know what strikes me as I travel through Asia (I’m an American who lives overseas by choice)? When you get off a plane in Taiwan, the first posters you see in the airport are always pointing up the technology and manufacturing talents of Taiwan (how many reading this even know what a screw machine is)? (Hint, no, you won’t find ads for them on a .xxx website 😉 )

    When you get off a plane in, say, LAX, you only see posters for touristy things like Disney Land.

    I wonder if there’s a connection between what we promote and what we get our butts kicked in? I mean, look at “American Technological Marvels” like the iPhone and iPad. Great stuff … but they can’t be built in the US, they have to go to Shen Zen (in the other China) for something like that…. pho for thought, anyway.

  8. I love dragon dances during cultural celebrations. They say it brings luck and I may say fun too at the affair. 🙂

    1. So you believe in’luck …. ?

  9. Thomas says:

    Good story John. I was in China a few years ago and saw a acrobat performance. Really amazing what some of those kids could do as well as the flexibility of their bodies. If anyone has a chance to see a Chinese acrobatic performance they should jump on it and go see it.

  10. John I think place from where you shoot this video was not ideal one …. This should be bit more close and more front ….

  11. Looks like a great event, all those people must be really proud.

    1. Techabouts says:

      Absolutely(As Always)

  12. I like such event,and i really enjoy reading most part of the article.

  13. Such a great Event,i am inspired,and i like dredgun dancing…..and there are many cute baby’s….awesome post…

  14. flash game says:

    thank you john for telling such a history i’m not aware of it.Event is great i like it very much.

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