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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bike For Taiwan: Taiwanese Exercise Bicycle Diplomacy in Japan

A group of Taiwanese have just embarked on a diplomatic mission to Japan in the hopes of encouraging the Japanese Diet to draft and pass a Japanese Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), similar to the one which was signed into law in the United States following the United States aptly extending full diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China in 1979.

The TRA outlines the position of the United States in regard to Taiwan's security in the face of Chinese aggression.

In the wake of the Chinese military build-up and several provocative moves by China to challenge Japanese claims to sovereignty over the Senkaku Islets and other territorial waters, a Japanese TRA would create a legal link between Japanese security interests and a non-Chinese Taiwan.

The group calling itself, Bike For Taiwan, aims to use cycling to spread their message around Japan.

I will let the group speak for themselves below:


Website and information here.

Cheer us on, ride for a independent and free Taiwan. Bike for Taiwan takes place in Japan this year!

The First purpose of Bike for Taiwan this year is to support the normalization of Japan – Taiwan relations. Furthermore we support the creation of a Japanese version of the “US Taiwan Relations Act”. The Taiwan side will be composed of the a Taiwanese cycling team taking it to the streets petitioning the Japanese people support stronger friendship and to push for the normalization of relations between the two nations.The cycling team members will be introduced on Valentines day, February 14th at new Taipei 101 (exact location to be announced) at Lin iHong’s office along with announcements of activities and schedules. For the next two weeks the cycling team will bike all over Japan spreading the message of peace and friendship.

First, we welcome and support members of the Japanese diet that are considering the establishment of a Japanese version of the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act. We hope to express the strong support from the Taiwanese people for this bill and have signatures of support from prominent Taiwanese.

Secondly, we hope that this act would result in closer Japan – Taiwan ties and the eventual normalization of relations considering the long peaceful historical and geopolitical ties.

Third, we also hope to bring it to the attention of the Ma administration. The Ma Administrations’ “Flexible Diplomacy” strategy entails flexibly kow-towing China’s demands but seems designed to neglect relations with other nations, thus placing Taiwan’s democratic future solely in China’s hands. We believe actual flexible diplomacy should entail developing relations with everyone especially our neighbors, not just the Chinese government, giving Taiwan the most options for it’s future.

Press Contact:
Chen Shaoting 0935-211012 (If calling from abroad please dial 011-886-935-211-012)

How can you help?

Support and join the ride for Taiwan by buying a commemorative T-shirt.

We need your support, get a special long-sleeved sw

So far the amount fundraised is not enough to cover the entire 14 day trip.

Order the Bike for Taiwan commemorative T-shirt

1) Single commemorative T-shirt is 1,500 NT + 70 NT, available in four sizes; XL, L, M, S.
2) Transfer money to E. Sun Bank, Zhongshan Branch (Branch Code 808), 0417-968-036-281) made out to the Lin party.
3) Transfer by remittance account and fax it to 02-2758-6285 as a check, also e-mail
4) Please email or fax your full name, phone number, shipping address, and appropriate delivery time.
5) We’ll send out the t-shirts as soon as we get them.

You can follow their progress on Facebook

The 137 to Davale and Back (151km)

In preparation for a lengthy post I have in the works, I decided to push my luck with the weather and make a loop through Douliu in Yunlin County.

I started out having to change my inner tube as the patch I had used last week was slowly leaking. I replaced the tube with another lying around... only to discover it was the leaky tube from Thursday (Lesson: get rid of leaky tubes). I changed the flat less than a kilometer from home and continued on my way.

With all the delays I decided to save time at the expense of a little fatigue by going straight up the Highway 74, which does a direct shot over Bagua Shan, in Changhua. My goal was to hook up with Route 137 on the other side and ride down to an area near Er Shui, which had been known as the village of Davale during the period of Dutch colonization and administration.

I found the area I needed to find and met some locals. After an enlightening discussion with several people, I headed out past one of the few recreational bikeways I really like. The Ershui Bikeway is actually a really nice trail that goes around the base of Xiang Shan to Mingjian. It follows the old railroad through some great farm country.

I still had some work to do on my bike-top ethnographical tour and so I headed toward Douliu 斗六.

In Douliu I cut through town and made my way down Taiping Street; a street of restored Japanese era buildings that has been turned into a shopping district with little boutiques and shops.

What I really enjoyed about this street is that it was a restoration and not a project where they replace the originals with a facsimile and then sell tourist goods.

Aside from the uniform signs outside the shops, the facades were painted and restored to give a glimpse of how Douliu may have looked during the 1920's and 1930's.

The most remarkable part is that these old buildings were allowed to continue to function as living retail space and not as tourist kitsch.

For more on the restoration of Japanese Era Taiwan, you can read an earlier post here.

As I left Douliu, I had to investigate another site under the bridge to Dounan. Nearby a work crew was busy harvesting potatoes.

It was soon time to turn into the wind for a long ride up the Highway 1 back home. Despite the effort, the going was slow. I had to just bear down and take the body blows from the headwind.

Closer to Changhua a very light drizzle began to fall making the ride more unpleasant.

With my research done for the day, I crawled through the door a little worse for wear.
Still, I am looking forward to putting this post together. It should be pretty ok.