Taiwan's breakaway from China was during Neolithic Age: tech minister

Tech minister tells German reporter Taiwan's breakaway from China occurred during Neolithic Age

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(Photo from Audrey Tang Facebook page)

(Photo from Audrey Tang Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to Beijing's tired trope about Taiwan being a "breakaway territory," the Minister Without Portfolio responsible for digital technology, Audrey Tang (唐鳳), consigned China ties to ancient history by saying the "breakaway" was during the Neolithic Age.

In an interview uploaded to Facebook on Sunday (Nov. 24), a DW Business reporter asked Tang for her take on the Hong Kong protests as an official of Taiwan, "an island which Beijing considers a breakaway territory." While keeping a straight face, Tang calmly responded by saying, "The breakaway was at the Neolithic Age, I believe," before segueing into her response without missing a beat.

Tang was referring to the fact that land bridges connecting what is now China to ancient Taiwan were submerged by the end of the Pleistocene Epoch (Ice Age) and the beginning of the Holocene, around 10,000 years ago. The peoples entering Taiwan during this period could be considered early Neolithic (10,000-4,500 BCE).

In response to the reporter's question, Tang said that Hong Kong is seeing a new form of demonstration with its "be water" or "leaderless" movement. She then compared the 2019 Hong Kong protests to Taiwan's Sunflower Student Movement, which took place in 2014 and in which she participated.

Tang said that while the Sunflower Movement was a "leaderless movement" with about 20 leaders, the Hong Kong protests now have "like 2,000 leaders." When asked if she thought Beijing would respond to the Hong Kong protests with force, Tang said she did not think it would happen on "an international watch."

She said that the world's liberal democracies consider such an intervention to be something that "must not happen." She added that Taiwanese universities are offering exchange programs to provide Hong Kong students with a safe space to converse with international media.

The complete DW Business interview with Tang can be seen below: