Award-winning documentary film-maker L.K. Chen has been making films from, and about, her native Taiwan since 1989, when she returned to the island after studying in the United States, on the themes of evironmental protection, democratic development and political history. She spoke to RFA reporter Tian Yi from a tour of German universities, where she is screening her latest work, which tackles the difficult question of independence for Taiwan, which is now fully democratic but still claimed by Beijing as part of its territory, awaiting "re-unification.":
This time I [am touring] four films. One is a film about a dancer from Taiwan, Tsai Jui-yueh. She is one of the earliest proponents of modern dance in Taiwan. Another is a feature-length film, "Dear Taiwan." This is a film that I finished last year regarding the issue of international recognition for Taiwan. Then there are two other short films, one about the political prisoners who were held on Green Island, and the other is about the campaign to help political prisoners in Taiwan.
I have had different reactions [to my work] in different places, but the warmest reception for my work has been from Tubingen University [in Germany]. When I screened "Dear Taiwan" they just kept applauding, and I had to come and take a second bow. I had a pretty good response from the University of Trier, as well. We had a great discussion after the conference there, and the questions just kept coming, one after the other. It was pretty good here in Munich, too. My only regret there was that there was only a short time for questions after the screening, but the discussion was very engaged for this film, so we had a sense of being cut off before we were done.
"Dear Taiwan" is actually a film about younger people in Taiwan; young people under the age of 40, and their views on the recognition of their country. Taiwanese nationalism has been born out of opposition to China. In the face of threats from China, Taiwan needs a national consciousness, and a stronger ethnic identity if it is to protect itself.
If China were to become democratic, then would Taiwan continue to oppose reunification? Actually, it's not just Chinese people who are asking this question; some Germans are asking it too. My answer is that if China were to become democratic, then people in Taiwan probably wouldn't be so opposed to reunification. But you can turn it around and say that if China were to turn into a free and democratic country with the rule of law, then perhaps Chinese people wouldn't care so much about Taiwan independence. Because Chinese people would then respect the decision of the people of Taiwan. That is the democratic spirit! We are also waiting for this day. We hope that China will implement democracy, liberty and the rule of law as soon as possible."
Reported by Tian Yi for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.