TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Responding to criticism from the New Power Party (NPP), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Sunday (Sept. 22) said that Taiwan needs a "Meiji Restoration, not a Boxer Rebellion."
While announcing legislative nominees for the Taiwan People’s Party (TTP) on Sunday, Ko said the party will try to avoid the previous mistakes of other parties such as the People First Party and NPP by steering clear of the axis between the pro-unification and pro-independence camps. In response, NPP Secretary-General Wu Pei-yun (吳佩芸) remarked that in avoiding the issue of sovereignty, the TPP will be a "rootless political party," reported Storm Media.
Ko countered by saying that "What Taiwan needs is a Meiji Restoration, not a Boxer Rebellion," according to the report, claiming that his party's focus will be on Taiwan and its overall position in the world and not deliberately take either side in the unification-independence debate. The Meiji Restoration was a period of rapid modernization and reforms in late 19th-century Japan, while the Boxer Rebellion was a popular uprising against foreign influence in China from 1899 to 1901.
NPP Taipei City Councilor Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬) on Monday (Sept. 23) stressed that "This is not about boxers," reported the Liberty Times. Huang noted that many Taiwanese are unaccounted for in China, including imprisoned activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and Fangliao Township adviser Morrison Lee (李孟居).
Huang said that the mayor believes there is a problem in maintaining exchanges, but in the exchange process, whether Taipei is a city with free speech and whether it protects its citizens is a practical problem, especially for a mayor of the capital. However, at present, no positive action has been taken by the mayor, she asserted.
Ko responded on Monday by asking, "Which of the past [TPP] actions violates Taiwan's subjectivity and priority?" He then reiterated that Taiwan needs a Meiji Restoration, not a Boxer Rebellion, according to the report.