TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Just days after Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil harkened to John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech and proclaimed "I am a Taiwanese" in Mandarin, T-shirts have surfaced on a Czech website with the words "I am Taiwanese" in Mandarin and Czech.
On Sunday (Aug. 30), Vystrcil, along with his 89-member delegation, began a five-day tour of Taiwan, making him the highest-level Czech official to ever visit the country. On Tuesday (Sept. 1), Vystrcil made history being the first foreign parliamentary leader in 45 years to deliver a speech in the Legislative Yuan and the first from a non-diplomatic ally.
At the end of his speech, Vystrcil quoted the famous speech delivered by Kennedy in West Berlin at the height of the Cold War. He said Kennedy clearly opposed the use of communism to oppress people and that the former president expressed support for the value of freedom with the words "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner).
The Czech leader then said, "Please allow me to express my support to Taiwan in the same way. I want to end my speech with this sentence: I am Taiwanese!" As soon as made this declaration in Mandarin (我是台灣人), legislators began clapping.
After his translator finished reading his speech, including the expanded version — "I am a Taiwanese" (我是一個台灣人) — legislators began clapping, then cheering. Soon every member of the Legislative Yuan rose to give Vystrcil a standing ovation.
By Thursday (Sept. 3), a T-shirt surfaced on the Czech website politikunatriku.cz showing a T-shirt design with the Hanyu Pinyin words "Wo shi Taiwan ren" (I am Taiwanese) on the top and the Czech version "Jsem Tchajwanec" below. The T-shirts are 100 percent cotton, come in both white and black, and sell for 220 Czech koruna (US$9.89).