TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) has invoked patriotic hero Chiang Shao-tsu (姜紹祖), who fought invading Japanese forces in 1895 to illustrate the “Taiwan spirit” that fights to the death amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Speaking to the press on Monday (March 7), You said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has attracted increasing attention over Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, according to a Liberty Times report. He then quoted a poem written by Chiang, who was a scholar in 1895 in Hsinchu County’s Beipu township and fought against the county’s colonial occupation by Japan in the 19th Century in the struggle to establish the Republic of Formosa.
You said: “All Taiwanese just have to learn to be like Chiang Shao-tsu, and our resistance to fighting the enemy will certainly be no less impressive than the Ukrainians.”
You said that Taiwan wants peace, and hopes that Russia will come to its senses and withdraw from Ukraine. He added that many people are talking about Taiwan being the next to be invaded after Ukraine, and that the country must be careful in facing down the autocratic CCP.
“No matter how strong the enemy is, it will ‘not dare take a step across Lei Pond,’” referencing an ancient idiom roughly analogous with “crossing the Rubicon.”
“If the CCP does one day attack Taiwan, though,” he says. “I believe that the people of Taiwan’s resistance will be just as strong as the Ukrainians.”
In addition to Taiwan’s strong national defenses, You claimed, its people also have the spirit of resistance passed down by its ancestors. You said that Chiang was just nineteen in 1895 when he put down the pen to pick up the sword and bravely led the resistance against the foreign invaders.
You then recited the poem: “Trading scholar's robes for the soldiers’ garb, I vow to drive out our enemies and plant the flag of righteousness. What would provoke a scholar to cast off his robes? The duty to defend hearth and home.”
You pondered the meaning of the poem more deeply: “Why do innocent scholars have to join a war? It is because every individual bears responsibility for the rise and fall of the world (‘天下興亡，匹夫有責’), and the citizenry have a duty to secure their homeland.”
You asserted there were many brave Taiwanese fighters like Chiang during the invasion by the Japanese, and they held the Taiwan spirit. You concluded with a message for Taiwan and Ukraine: “I want to share this poem to encourage us all – keep fighting Ukraine and God bless Taiwan!”