The Diaoyutai Dispute and the "Blood Letter"

“The U.S. decision to support Japan was made on a Friday and between the following Monday […] and Saturday […] banners and posters were erected by students on campuses attacking the United States and Japan. […].  Zhongyang Ribao reported the student protests outside the Japanese embassy […]. 

“[The students] arrived in an orderly way at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where outside the gates they broke out into song: ‘Long live our leader’ and declared ‘The Diaoyutai Islands are our territory.’ 

” Over 4,000 students assembled and after the president of the university had made a speech stating his “attitude” to the rally, students gave a series of emotional speeches expressing their opposition to the islands’ accession to Japan.

“After the rally, the chairman of a combined organizing committee, Tan Jiahua, organized the signing of a petition in blood, or a ‘blood letter’ (xue shu) to present to the American and Japanese embassies. Students lined up at the campus health center where four nurses drew blood from each student, who then took a calligraphy brush to write his or her name. Some students wrote with their fingerprints pricked with a disinfected needle. The blood letter day began at eight in the morning and continued until after six in the evening at which time there were four, ten-meter-long petitions with a total of over 2000 names.“*
Do you think that these scenes took place in the People’s Republic of China? 
No, they didn’t. This happened over forty years ago in the Republic of China (Taiwan) when the USA returned the Diaoyutais to Japan.
This is another example of how things can change in a few decades. We often forget what Taiwan was forty years ago and what it is now. Perhaps, mainland China will also go through amazing changes and all the things that we write and say nowadays about it, in forty years will seem to us unbelievable. 
*Excerpt from: Mark Harrison: Legitimacy, Meaning and Knowledge in the Making of Taiwanese Identity. New York / Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England 2006, p. 121.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s