Showing posts with label taiwanese_discourse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taiwanese_discourse. Show all posts

Sunday, February 16, 2020

住在台灣的外國人為什麼有在乎「台商的孩子」?

I don't often blog in Chinese, and I am sure there are many mistakes. What can I say, I'm a second language learner.

But, I want to address a primarily Taiwanese audience so I'm going to go for it. Enjoy my terrible Mandarin!

* * *

大家可能想問我,「妳為什麼那麼在乎那個小明/台商孩子的問題?」

就是因為我是個住在台灣的外國人。我沒有台灣國籍,所以我聽台灣人說,「台灣人第一」或者「所以我們不需要在乎和幫忙那些孩子就是因為他們不是台灣人」 我問自己~~~

如果台灣有一個疫情/流行病的狀況,他們怎麼對待我?有人會說我不能去醫院,因為台灣沒有足夠的醫療服務,台灣人比較需要,台灣人第一!?雖然台灣就是我的家,我沒有美國的家,我沒有可以去的地方,此外我在台灣納稅,有人會說我可以「回去」美國為了找醫療服務,但是無法用台灣的制度?

我了解我跟台商真的不一樣。我選了台灣,他們選中國(但是,他們的孩子沒有機會選)。我住這裡,他們住在國外。我在這裡納稅,他們避免。我支持台灣主權和台灣獨立(從中華民國殖民地制度獨立!),他們大部分支持統一。真的不一樣!

可是,我聽「台灣人第一」的時候,這讓我想起川普跟他的支持者。那些人也覺得「移民歧視」就是還OK的啦。在美國,這個民粹主義態度讓我不舒服,在台灣,我絕對有一樣不舒服的感覺。「台灣人第一」的意思不但是「小明第二」而且也是,外國人在台灣是第二階級,是不是?如果在未來台灣有個危機,台灣還是我們的家,但是,台灣對我們怎麼樣?我在台灣平常很舒服,我看台灣人很歡迎我們,但是,這個「台灣人第一」讓我不舒服。我需要問自己,「我真的是完全歡迎的嗎?」

我了解大家對這件事有很重的感覺。這個問題非常複雜,沒有一個完美解決的方案。我們住在台灣的外國人對不穩定的情況非常熟悉,因為我們的家不配合我們的國籍。我們大部分支持台灣,也支持台灣獨立。如果中國恐嚇台灣,我們也願意為台灣而戰。我們大部分不是有錢人,我們的生活很像當地人的。讓小明近來也影響我們,因為我們也住在這裡。但是,我求你想一想,我們為什麼在乎這件事情?

就是因為我們很容易會想像我們自己在類似的狀況。我們緊張,「台灣人第一」也排除了我們嗎?

Friday, February 14, 2020

If abandoning Taiwanese children is the 'will of the Taiwanese people', then the people are wrong.

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This is how this whole thing makes me feel.
Every DPP and CECC official who supports this should be ashamed. 


It's rare that I write a post which is not about the KMT or CCP, and have trouble calming down enough to write it because I'm so thoroughly disgusted.

But recently, this happened:


Leading Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday defended the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) decision to overturn the Mainland Affairs Council’s (MAC) announcement allowing the entry of Chinese children of Taiwanese and Chinese couples into Taiwan, and praised the Executive Yuan’s quick response.

Basically, that means that the Mainland Affairs Council was going to allow spouses and children of Taiwanese working in China to evacuate to Taiwan in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic. Then the DPP and health officials tasked with coordinating Taiwan's public health response overturned that decision, citing two reasons: first, that it would over-burden Taiwan's health workers, which is obviously something that must be taken into consideration, but not as a blanket excuse, but an aspect of risk assessment.

Second:


The Executive Yuan was quick in reading the pulse of public opinion, and put a temporary stop to that policy to reflect the will of Taiwanese, Cho told reporters at party headquarters in Taipei.

Even the Taipei Times calls them "Chinese kids" in the headline. But they have one Taiwanese parent - they are Taiwanese kids just as much as they are Chinese, although their paperwork may not reflect this. Taiwan may not have a legal obligation to them, but as the children of Taiwanese citizens, I'd argue there is some moral obligation.

This comes on the heels of an uproar over an evacuation flight that was meant to bring people at elevated risk back to Taiwan, but ended up carrying a number of Chinese spouses and children of Taiwanese, including one known case of infection, bumping at-risk people to take them instead, and not informing Taiwanese officials of the passenger change.

That understandably provoked public fury - or at least, it was understandable that people would be angry about at-risk individuals being bumped from the list of initial evacuees. 


This, however? No.

I'm surprised and horrified by the low quality of public discourse on this issue. There are good points to be made about public health, exactly how many children are affected, and what we can do in the face of an intransigent China who is sabotaging Taiwan's evacuation efforts.

But, although some people are saying these things, what I'm hearing instead is "Taiwanese First!", which makes me, as a foreign resident, wonder at what point I might be denied services in a crisis here. "Those kids are Chinese so they are not our problem!" - legally, no, but ethically - they are the minor children of Taiwanese. "Their parents chose for them to be Chinese, this is the consequence!" - for the parents, that has some logic - for the kids, though? They didn't choose their passport.

And, of course, "thousands of them will come over and infect us all!"

It's worth pointing out that these were the original requirements set forth by MAC for minor Chinese nationals with a Taiwanese parent to come to Taiwan:



"Allow Chinese minor children of Taiwanese and Chinese couples who... 
- have an Alien Resident Certificate or a long-term visa for visiting family or relatives  
- placed in home quarantine for 14 days after arrival. 
- only include Chinese children who are under 18 years old 
- have been living in Taiwan  
- have no one to take care of them in China 
- must apply for entry and gain approval from the National Immigration Agency"



Frankly, I think that sounds quite reasonable. It's doubtful many children will meet those requirements, and they specifically target the children of Taiwanese nationals in need. So "thousands of them will flood our system!" is simply not a rational risk assessment. We don't know the risk, but given less politicking, the government could probably figure that out. As far as I'm aware, they never even tried.

I do wonder, if these children were any other nationality, whether this debate would be happening. In which case, the problem isn't "we can't take them" but rather "we don't want them because they're Chinese".

I understand that people are upset not only about what happened on the first flight, but that the parents chose Chinese nationality for them, and that these couples have chosen to live in China, not Taiwan. Emotions are running high. There's no easy answer.

But there seems to be a lot of throwing around of whatever facts will fit someone's pre-conceived opinion, and very little time taken to reflect on whether one's response is adequately compassionate. Nobody's really thinking about what it actually would mean to not allow minor children with no one to care for them in China to come to Taiwan.

To be clear, that is exactly what the government is saying:


Chen said he believed Chinese spouses, who unlike their children are still permitted to return to Taiwan, will make appropriate arrangements for their minor children if they have to leave them in China. 
The new policy may put some pressures on Chinese spouses, but since they chose not to apply for Taiwan citizenship for their children, they have to take responsibility for making the required arrangements for them now, Chen said.


In effect, the government is stating that they may well tell parents that they can leave China, but their minor children have to stay behind. I don't know any parent who would actually choose that.

It is this simple: when given a choice between politics - the "will of the people" - and children's lives, the Central Epidemic Command Center and DPP officials chose politics.

They surely know that the real risks of letting some children in cannot possibly be as high as opponents say, as they shriek nationalist slogans like 'Taiwanese First!' - which sounds like something Trumpists would say.

To be fair, there is no good choice here. Health care capacity is an issue, and without a clear way to know who would be on those flights, it's difficult to say they should continue. However, at the end we should err on the side of helping as many people as we can, and on keeping families together when possible. 


The government could have made coherent public health argument for going slow, taking our own ability to treat people into account, and figuring out what to do about the problems on the China end. If they had said "we can't continue flights until we can guarantee that Taiwanese officials can oversee the passenger lists", I wouldn't be writing this. If they'd said "we have to ensure that they don't get priority but we'll try to get everyone out as we are able", nobody would argue with it. If they'd said evacuation needed to be stalled until these things could be worked out, this piece would not exist. They didn't.

Instead, they went straight for the nationalist sentiment - "the people don't want it, so we won't do it".

If including (some) children of Taiwanese people in the evacuation plans even if they don't have Taiwanese nationality 'looks bad' to the Taiwanese public, I'm sorry, but the Taiwanese public is wrong. 


We justifiably complain that Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization harms global health, especially in a time of crisis, denying human beings safe harbor in Taiwan is also harmful. Surely people will die who would have lived, if political posturing hadn't been deemed a higher priority. If Taiwan complains about the WHO putting lives in danger over politics - well, we are doing the same thing. We lose all moral high ground when we play the same damn game.

And these DPP officials are congratulating themselves for deciding that it's okay if children whom they could have saved, die (from the Taipei Times article):



DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) lauded the government’s quick response after MAC’s announcement on Tuesday drew a predominantly negative response....
DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that MAC officials made a “foolish” announcement on Tuesday.
“Right now, most Taiwanese are very worried about the ‘Wuhan virus’ and they are distrustful of the Chinese government,” Wang said. “As such, people were riled up and criticized MAC officials. I see this reaction as a very good thing for Taiwan, as it sends a strong signal of their discontent about the decision.” 


I have admired both Cho and Wang in the past.

Today, I am disgusted by them.

"Distrust of the Chinese government" is not enough of an excuse to tell families that only some members can be evacuated.

I cannot stress this enough: this is horrifying. It's macabre. It may not be murder exactly, but it is murder-adjacent. 


Yes, it would create more work for health care workers, and we can't ignore that. But consider how completely overwhelmed health workers in China are - people are dying before they can even get into a hospital. Taiwan has fewer than two dozen cases, and no community spread - it is absolutely possible to formulate a strategy that takes health care capacity into account.

What kind of country is unwilling to even attempt to figure out a solution for the children of its own citizens?


There are those who say that Taiwan needs to "protect its own citizens":

“However, it is clear that in light of the epidemic, the public believes that the government must prioritize protection of its citizens, and that their welfare must come first,” he added.

And of course, Taiwan simply cannot save every child in China. But please remember, these are the children of citizens, and not even very many of them. In that light, this sounds more like a nationalistic argument than a rational one.

It would not be an evacuation of Chinese people with no connection to Taiwan. They have the right to access Taiwanese (well, ROC) citizenship themselves. The children are half-Taiwanese! In many cases, this policy will surely put Taiwanese citizens themselves at risk as well, as many will be unwilling to leave their families.

I can imagine myself in such a situation. My husband has Canadian citizenship, but I don't as we've never endeavored to live there. If there were a pandemic in Taiwan and the Canadian government said that my husband could be evacuated to Canada but he'd have to leave me behind, I highly doubt he would go. 


Some say that if these family members have never sought the proper documents to come to Taiwan, that technically they have no rights here. Legally, I don't know if that's the case - they might truly have no rights, or they might have rights (especially the children of Taiwanese nationals) but be unable to access them.

This is not a compelling argument. The PRC doesn't allow dual nationality, especially not with the ROC. In theory, one cannot 'give up' PRC nationality. In practice, immigrating to Taiwan means giving up Chinese documentation and obtaining ROC documentation. The PRC doesn't recognize these documents, but considers the new household registration to be in 'Taiwan province'. If you get such a household registration, you lose the one you had in China. So, practically speaking, you are giving up one nationality for another. There is no other way for Chinese nationals to become Taiwanese citizens.

There's an argument to be made that they 'chose China' and therefore Taiwan has no obligation to them. I get that. But - if you've gone to China for work and your spouse is Chinese, getting your child ROC nationality isn't easy to do. 


I understand that as an American abroad I lose some of the guarantees that come with being a US citizen, and I am not guaranteed a safe evacuation should problems arise in Taiwan. I too felt that the Taiwanese woman working in Wuhan who returned to Taiwan knowing she had COVID-19 symptoms was selfish - she put others in danger when choosing to work abroad means accepting that you may have to be treated through local medical care.

These are official channels we're talking about, however, and children who didn't do anything wrong. That's not the same as putting others in danger by sneaking back in with a fever.

In any case, if a Taiwanese person goes to China for work, meets someone and has a child there, it would make sense that they would stay there. Yes, it would be preferable if these families had chosen to put their faith in Taiwan, but it doesn't make them bad people that they chose a path that looked sensible to them personally.

I've also heard that this is how things are because relations between Taiwan and China are not like normal countries. This is true, but it's not a reason to separate families.


And if this is what the people in Taiwan want, they are wrong, especially if they're crying "disease knows no borders!" at the WHO, while closing their borders to the families of their own citizens.

People are justifiably angry over the way China has treated Taiwan. They shouldn't trust the Chinese government, but any belief that prioritizes politics, nationalist sentiment and hurt feelings over the lives of children is problematic.

I chose to stay in this country because I believe in what it stands for - a beacon of freedom, and not in the drum-beating American way. In standing up for yourself in the face of unimaginable, seemingly insurmountable opposition. In refusing to back down when everyone is against you, because you are in the right. In doing all of that unflinchingly, but also peacefully, because nobody wants a war.

I believe in the kind of country Taiwan can be, and I think it can do better than this.

Perhaps I was wrong. At a time when the Tsai administration, DPP and CECC could have shown leadership - not pandering to the worst impulses of people but rather demonstrating and encouraging higher standards in our actions and discourse - they chose pandering.

Independence or a unique identity from China is not enough - Taiwan has to not just stand up as a country, but decide what kind of country it wants to be.


This country could have shown the world that, unlike China and the WHO, it won't sacrifice families children for the sake of politics. It didn't.

Taiwan can be - and needs to be - better than this. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Some media in Taiwan get Beijing's approval to run stories, and nobody cares?

So, a few days ago the Association of Taiwan Journalists issued a statement that the National Security Bureau has caught wind of some media outlets in Taiwan obtaining pre-approval from Beijing before running stories.

And...nobody seems to care?

I don't know why - that sounds absolutely terrifying to me. We've been hearing a lot of discussion about possible interference by China in the 2018 election, attempts to propagate fake news and influence the media and generally undermine Taiwan's democratic norms. Now we have some concrete evidence, or at least a report, on at least one avenue they are pursuing and...crickets.

I expected to hear more about it in the English-language media and...nothing, except this - a blog I'd never heard of before but might start following. There is coverage in the Chinese media - I don't have a TV so I couldn't tell you about broadcast (and am a bit lazy about finding that stuff on Youtube) but it's in the print news at least.

But not a lot of print news - I found pieces in Liberty Times, UDN and Yahoo! News Taiwan, and not a lot else.

So, I've gone ahead and translated the statement for you. I'm not a great translator but I did my best: 


During a meeting of the Foreign and National Defense Committee of the Legislative Yuan on the morning of the 2nd (of May), Democratic Progressive Party legislator Luo Chi-cheng questioned whether there are some media outlets which inform the "other side" (that is, China) of the contents of any 'breaking news' or 'editorial pieces' and obtain approval from Beijing before running them. Deputy Director of the National Security Bureau Chen Wen-fan replied that he had "heard of this happening recently."
This short question and answer shows that the National Security Agency does not deny certain "news" received by domestic audiences may be reviewed or even edited by the Chinese government. 
In addition to this, the Taiwan Association of Journalists feels it is unfortunate that this is a matter all people should be concerned with; we appeal to audiences to actively shun media which may produce such content. Creating such content does not serve the needs of listeners to obtain news, but rather follows the instructions of Chinese President Xi Jinping that "the media must belong to the party, listen to the party and walk with the party." 
The Taiwan Journalists Association believes that the journalism industry that informs and educates the public will continue its effort to exercise freedom of speech, follow a different path, and will not participate in in China's attempt to interfere with domestic freedom in Taiwan by reviewing pre-publication content from abroad.

And here's the original press release: 

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 9.20.28 PM



The statement specifically mentions listening audiences, which points to it being an issue with broadcast media.

This actually doesn't surprise me - I'm sure we've all noticed that the usual craven, half-true sensationalism that characterizes Taiwanese TV news - and especially the sludge they broadcast on blue-leaning stations - has gotten worse recently. I may not have a TV but even I've noticed it, just from the TVs in restaurants. (I used to merely prefer restaurants that didn't put on CTV or TVBS, now I actively avoid them).

What scares me even more? We don't know which stations are doing this - there is no list, according to deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council Chiu Chui-cheng.

Though we can guess that most or all blue-leaning ones are involved - and it is nearly impossible to convince the viewers hypnotized by it that they're watching Beijing-approved swill. If they cared about that they wouldn't have tuned in in the first place.

It's going to be a long, painful slog to 2020. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Government Proposes Marriage Inequality

Untitled


While everyone is celebrating the draft same-sex partnership law that has been announced and will move to the legislature for debate, here I am - as always - sucking vinegar and taking names.

That's not to say there's nothing good about the draft law - just that it isn't marriage equality and we can't rightfully call it that. And I wouldn't say I oppose the law, but you won't find me shouting my support from the rooftops either. I hope it passes, but if you want my enthusiasm, well, sorry to disappoint. 

Therefore, while we can say that Taiwan will be the first country to offer some kind of same-sex "marriage", and they even call it  "marriage" in the draft, it's not equal, period.

There are some positives: next-of-kin rights (medical visitation, making medical decisions, inheritances) seem to be included, so previous real-life situations in which someone was in the hospital and their same-sex partner could not visit or make decisions for them, or when someone died and their estate went to their blood family and not the person who was their spouse in all but legal name will be averted. That's a very important big win. We can also assume that this will include the ability to buy insurance together, be on the same medical insurance plans etc. - not as big a deal in Taiwan given the NHI system, but still important.

And, of course, the proposal specifically uses the word "marriage", which does matter. Words mean things; they imply a definition of truth. The Executive Yuan didn't have to use that word - they could have called it something more like "union" or "partnership" but didn't, which sends a strong message. Good.

It is not, however, equal marriage.

At the risk of angering some people (though I'm not at all sorry), some other aspects of this draft law are some big fat Jim Crow bullshit.

Same-sex couples will not gain the right of co-adoption; one spouse may adopt only the biological offspring of the other. That means no adopting orphaned children, and it also creates some very difficult barriers.

Fertility treatments and surrogacy are not easily obtainable by single people in Taiwan; often the treatments are only available to married couples at any price (it's not an issue of these treatments not being covered by NHI; unmarried people are simply banned from accessing them). From the Storm Media piece, the "special law" says that giving these treatments to same sex couples will be "at the competent authorities' discretion", whatever that means. So it may be quite difficult for same-sex couples to even have biological children, if they are denied access by these "competent authorities".

The issue of international marriage is not mentioned in the law, and appears for now to therefore not be covered. Storm Media's link above implies that it will  that it will only be possible to marry a same-sex foreigner if that foreigner's country of citizenship also recognizes same-sex marriage. That's not quite the case, necessarily: it would be quite possible to overrule the prohibition on marrying in this case, citing it as a disruptor of 'public order' in Taiwan. My lawyer friend says he hopes that this is how such cases are interpreted going forward. 

The "religious freedom" clause, which specifically says this marriage bill will not interfere with anyone's right to practice their religion as they wish, is unclear. I'm not opposed to it on its face; if someone wants to believe in some gay-hating sky friend, I think that's kind of dumb and bigoted but I don't think they must be legally mandated to change their (dumb and bigoted) religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is a basic right after all. But, it's unclear whether that will extend to allowing employers to discriminate against LGBT employees, or businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, on the basis of religion. This needs to be clarified.

There is also a minor difference in the legal age of marriage, but it's more likely that the actual marriage law (rather than this unequal "special law") will be amended so that the age of consent to marry is the same across genders.

And, finally, this "special law" doesn't establish an official "in-law" relationship. I'm not quite sure what that means in practice, but it is a difference.

For all of these reasons, I simply cannot say that Taiwan is on the cusp of marriage equality. There will be some form of marriage with this law - which has not passed yet, by the way, it's just about to reach the legislature now and needs to be debated and voted on - but the fight isn't over.

The good news is that the unequal aspects of this law can be challenged in court, and I have to believe they were designed to be easily toppled. The Council of Grand Justices ruling in May 2017 specifically said that, as all citizens must have access to equal rights, that the right to marry must therefore be equal.

This does not confer equality, and therefore does not quite adhere to the constitutional interpretation ruling, and so is subject to legal challenge on those grounds. I am sure it will be challenged, and there's a strong foundation for making that happen relatively expediently while ensuring that the most egregious withholding of rights (next-of-kin issues) are handled.

It's a step, but I have to admit I grow tired of these half-steps. It happened with dual nationality too (allowing some special magic foreigners to qualify for dual nationality and relegating the rest of us to Garbage Foreigner status).

I know it's hard to convince more conservative factions of society that sweeping change is necessary, but real lives are impacted in the meantime, and it's tiring to be expected to compromise with Granny Bigot (age shouldn't be a factor but public opinion polls show that there is a strong age correlation) while waiting for access to rights (like marriage) and privileges (like dual nationality) that meaningfully change our lives. I get that there are political strategies to consider, but I personally am fine with letting Granny Bigot be upset.


I also don't feel all "rah rah hooray" when I know that this 'special law' is essentially an encouragement to keep fighting, not a summative victory.

The good news is that this is really angering conservative groups in Taiwan. Awesome! I hope all of their kids are gay. (That's not a punishment, it'll make Taiwan more awesome, but it'll also make them mad and make them think they're suffering...and that's great.)


So what can we do in the meantime?

To ensure that Taiwan moves toward actual marriage equality, we can donate to any number of pro-equality groups so that they have the funds to mount legal challenges, for starters. Here's a good place to start.

We can talk to relatives who disagree. Rallies are nice and stickers are great, and so are banners in hipster cafes, but the real change will happen when we start talking to the people in our lives about what equality means and why it matters for Taiwan (and everywhere). That if Taiwan stands for freedom and human rights, this is an essential part of it.

And while I won't tell others they can't celebrate, I'm holding off on my party. I will neither relax nor celebrate until we get actual marriage equality in Taiwan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Rectification of Colonial Names

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This is talked about in Chinese, but not so much in English. 

Everyone agrees that the Japanese era was a colonial one and nobody disputes that the Dutch era was colonial, as well. This is true in all languages: English, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, any given indigenous language.

It's not new in political discussions in Chinese and Taiwanese to label the Qing era and the ROC era as "colonial", as well. It happens occasionally in English too: see here and here. Yet I've noticed that in English, such references still seem quite rare. The more nonfiction I read about Taiwan in English the more I notice this: the Dutch and the Japanese are "colonial", but the Qing and the ROC are rarely referred to as such. The way we talk about them lends these regimes legitimacy, a sense of being less "foreign", or a sense that if the colonizers come from China, they are somehow not just as colonial as any other invading force. They are simply "the Qing" or "the Qing era" or "the ROC on Taiwan" - as though they belong here, or it is their destiny, or Taiwan is somehow conceptually a part of China and that somehow makes it acceptable.

Calling the two Chinese regimes in Taiwan "colonial", however, is an idea I agree with. The Qing and the ROC came and extracted what they wanted from Taiwan rather than attempting to rule it as an integral part of their territory. The Qing used it as a place from which to take resources rather than a place to develop by pouring resources in - exactly what a colonial power does. At their best, they treated it as a mere defensive perimeter, a "ball of mud beyond the pale of civilization" (海外泥丸,不足為中國加廣) that they controlled simply to keep other invaders who might cause trouble for China out, not a part of China itself (only in the last decade or so of their rule over Taiwan was Taiwan upgraded to individual province).

The Qing had to be convinced it was worth taking, and the whole notion that China could rule lands beyond its natural borders (mountains, desert and sea) is actually quite modern. The Ming and everyone before them believed China's borders ended at the sea, and therefore that 'Island of Women' populated by 'savages' was simply not Chinese.

The argument put forward to the Qing by Shi Lang was not "hey this should be a part of China" but "you can use this island to cultivate sugar, rice and wood and hunt deer and it's a good defensive barrier." You know, a colonial argument. They didn't even bother taking over the whole island or to map the eastern half until some other colonial power (Japan) showed a stronger interest in it. Or, in other words, they treated it like a colony.


So why don't we call it that? Why not the Qing Colonial Era in English? Hell, why isn't it more common in Chinese?

This treatment of Taiwan hurts us even today. When it comes to the ROC, the main argument against the idea that they too are a colonial power is a historical one: Taiwan used to be a part of China under the Qing, and therefore it can't be considered 'colonial' in the same way as the two were 'historically' united.

Otherwise, the only difference between Japan or the Dutch and the ROC is that the ROC comes from the same country as the ancestors of many Taiwanese. Even if this were definitively true (with many Taiwanese children born to a foreign parent these days - looking for a clear source on that - and Taiwan's genetic makeup being more similar to Southeast Asia than China, I doubt it is), it doesn't matter. If your only argument for being a legitimate government is "we're the same ethnicity" (whatever that means - ethnicity is a cultural construct, not a scientific grouping based on genetics), you simply do not have an argument. Ethnicity doesn't determine political destiny. We figured that out in the 20th century and it's time to apply a more modern understanding of what it means to be a nation to Taiwan.

I mean, what do we call a foreign government that takes over a piece of land and declares itself the sole legitimate government of that land without the consent of the local population? We call it colonialism.

That same power extracted resources from the land it rules - as the ROC did by gobbling up resources, putting its own in charge of large state monopolies under a command economy, expropriating land (much of which was taken for their own benefit), and using revenue from Taiwan - at one point over 90% of it - to fund the building of a military that could accomplish its real goal: "retaking the Mainland". At no point was it concerned with ruling Taiwan for its own sake. You can see that legacy in the haphazard and "who cares this is just a backwater" infrastructure development - if you could call the crumbling craphouses they built even that - that still plagues Taiwanese skylines. As Taiwan took a generation to recover from the economic double-blow of World War II and the KMT invasion, the KMT itself grew rich. As they hunted down and murdered a generation of local Taiwanese leaders and intellectuals, they themselves grew in stature and power.

What do we call such a system? Colonialism.

This is doubly true when the people are at no point allowed to vote or exercise self-determination as to whether they'd like to keep that government (even if elections are held within its framework - that's not the same as voting on the fate of the system as a whole). That it came from China makes no difference. It's still colonialism.

So why aren't we, English-speaking supporters of Taiwan, calling the ROC era, the era in which we live, the "ROC Colonial Era"? Why are we not calling it what it is?

These two ideas are intertwined: if we call the Qing era by what it really was we strike a blow against the 'historical' argument for the ROC not being 'colonial' as well. If the only other time China held Taiwan was also colonial, there is no basis for a non-colonial Chinese government in Taiwan.

In short, why aren't we more commonly telling the truth about Taiwan: that since the 1600s it has, with almost total continuity, been a colonial territory of three countries: the Netherlands, Japan and China (twice)?

I know I've got a tough hill to climb on this one: I'm still riding people's butts about not calling China "Mainland China" or the "Mainland", even among people who are pro-Taiwan. We are ceding semantic ground we really ought not to be ceding to the CCP and to annexationism in general (related: can we please stop calling it 'reunification' or even 'unification'? It's annexation. Make your names for things reflect reality). The fewer linguistic footholds we give for justification of annexation by China, the better.

But if we can't even kick that ridiculous 'Mainland' habit, I wonder how long it will be before we start using English to make reality plain.

China's designs on Taiwan are just as colonial as anyone else's. The only non-colonial government of Taiwan can come from Taiwanese self-determination, which entails voting not just within an "ROC" system Taiwan didn't choose, but voting on the fate of that system.

Until then, we live in a colonial state.