大膽島 (DaDan Island) is one of the “frontline islands” as part of the 「反攻大陸」(“Counter-attack upon the mainland”). In reality, there never was a counter-attack, and positions were mainly defensive. The reason why this island is in the news now, is that after all this time of being designated as a “frontline island” (where even local Taiwanese civilians couldn’t visit), it is now being opened up as a tourist attraction.
If you watch the Taiwanese media on the island’s opening up, it seems like a good idea, because now Taiwanese can even visit an island that was previously not available to them. Sort of like the mentality of many mainland Chinese who go to Taiwan. However, let’s not forget. Opening up this island also means that mainlanders will now be able to visit the island as well. This is all part of President 馬英九 (Ma, Ying-jeou)‘s strategy of further linking Taiwan’s economy to China. Taiwan’s economy hasn’t been the best compared to the rest of Asia, but during the global recession of 2009, it actually managed to escape largely unscathed, because of already existing trade agreements with the mainland. Which is why Ma is desperate to leave a legacy of an improving economy before his term ends.
However, this isn’t what Taiwanese want, as the student protests in February signified. In fact, one of their most common slogans was, “We don’t want to be the next Hong Kong”, alluding to the fact that Hong Kong’s freedoms (of press, speech, monetary policy, immigration, etc…) have all been encroached upon. And this will happen in Taiwan as well, if integration with the mainland does happen. As I had mentioned earlier, China’s explicit goal is to coerce it economically as a way of taking it over.
Recently, when 張志軍 (Zhang, Zhi-Jun), China’s Taiwan Affairs Chief came to Taiwan, and spoke a few words of Taiwanese and Hakka upon arriving, he didn’t impress the locals:
In this show, the panelists admit to how much mainland China’s intelligence services know such much about Taiwan, yet fail at the very last step in actually know what Taiwanese people want. I don’t think it’s that they don’t know, I simply think it’s that they don’t care.