In his commentary piece dated Sept. 24, Zhao Jian falsely claimed Taiwan as "an inalienable part of China" ("Chinese consul: It's not China undermining the status quo," Opinion Exchange). The international community has long recognized that neither democratic Taiwan nor authoritarian China is subordinate to the other. Taiwan can only be represented by its democratically elected government chosen by the Taiwanese people through a free and democratic process. The fact that neither the Republic of China (Taiwan) nor the People's Republic of China (PRC) is subordinate to the other is the longstanding, internationally recognized status quo. Beijing should respect this status quo and refrain from coercing the world into accepting its spurious "one China principle."
It is appalling to see the irony of an authoritarian regime claiming to be a "guardian" of the status quo that keeps sending dozens of military aircraft to intrude Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on a daily basis, in an attempt to intimidate Taiwan. Such heavy-handed behavior could only escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait and jeopardize the peace and prosperity of Indo-Pacific region.
Taiwan appreciates the United States' staunch support for peace and stability across the strait. Over the years, U.S. administrations have adhered to the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances in order to honor U.S. rock-solid commitments to Taiwan.
As a responsible stakeholder, Taiwan does not provoke, act rashly nor absolutely bow to pressure. We are committed to maintaining the status quo, preventing conflict, resolving differences through dialogue on an equal footing. Peace and stability are the shared responsibilities across the strait and the common expectations of countries across the globe.
Dennis Yen-feng Lei, Chicago
The writer is director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.
We support its goals — and MERA
Rebecca Arons' Sept. 20 commentary ("We aim to mend, not end, 2040 Plan," Opinion Exchange) quotes the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) in support of the lawsuit challenging the Minneapolis 2040 Plan. We write to clarify the record.
MCEA supports the aims of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, which, when implemented, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the impact of heavy industry on communities overburdened by pollution and result in transportation improvements that better serve all Minneapolis residents. In her commentary, Arons also agrees with the goals of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan.
Our brief to the Minnesota Court of Appeals was not submitted on the side of the plaintiffs challenging the plan nor the city of Minneapolis. We filed as a neutral party to inform the Court of Appeals of the risk that a poor decision could have in undermining the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA).
MCEA plays a key role in litigation like this — to preserve the bedrock environmental laws that Minnesotans have created. These laws, including MERA, protect Minnesotans from pollution that fouls our air and water and harms people's health and well-being.
MCEA is working with legislators to ensure that MERA is protected while allowing municipalities and other government agencies to plan in a way that protects our environment and addresses the climate crisis.
Aaron Klemz, Fridley
The writer is chief strategy officer at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.
A promising partnership
I appreciated reading about the collaborative effort of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, local law enforcement (all nine of the agencies in Ramsey County), the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, local youth workers and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum ("Tactical shift on nonfatal shootings," Sept. 26). While this initiative to solve more nonfatal shootings lacks a catchy name or marketing plan, this commonsense, evidence-based effort seems to be more likely to produce public safety results than some of the more slogan-oriented approaches we often hear about. At a time when it seems that nearly every headline provides additional fuel for the skeptics who believe that government and/or law enforcement can't work, it's a relief to hear about government officials working together (across disciplines and city boundaries) to make our communities safer and more responsive to all.
David Wilmes, Roseville
I recall when then-President Donald Trump did photo-ops with so called "angel families" and invited them to his State of the Union addresses. Though one could not feel antipathy toward innocent families who had lost a loved one, the stunts were nakedly political. Only those killed by migrants were worthy of this special attention, you see.
However, in a less bigoted but arguably more sinister way, print media and its tough-on-crime allies have whitewashed and perfected this technique through their permanent campaigns against progressive prosecutors. Find as many families outraged by lenient punishment for the most terrible crimes and run with them all the way to the next election. It worked in California, and I don't doubt it could work here. No amount of context can justify the murder of an innocent. I don't blame the family of the deceased for the way they feel, and they should be allowed to both mourn their loss in peace and speak their minds to the public, but the reality is that harsher punishments do not deter crime or reduce recidivism ("AG declines to take over murder case," Sept. 26).
As for the professionals standing opportunistically behind the survivors, you should all know better. I feel the need ask the press, the police, our prosecutors and anyone, even victims, who defend our tested and utterly failed carceral system from reform: How many teenagers need to be tried as adults and recruited into prison gangs before we stop pretending that our goal is to prevent crime?
Paul Villerius, Minneapolis
Relief from Christian proselytizing
Parody is an important element of humor, and parody of elements of the dominant culture is a way that minorities within that culture cope with the daily indignities forced upon them by the dominant culture.
As a Jew, I cannot drive from St. Paul to Forest Lake without being told I am going to hell at least five times by the "For Truth" billboards that litter the highways.
Other billboards tell me that if I am confused, scared or depressed, I can lay my troubles at the feet of Jesus and all will be well.
All in all, this made the "JewBelong" billboards, which parody these billboards, a welcome relief in what is otherwise a steady stream of othering ("What's up with the 'JewBelong' billboards?" Sept. 25).
Perhaps a recent letter writer should take his discomfort to heart ("Not a useful message," Readers Write, Sept. 27), and consider the degree to which his faith's messaging can basically be boiled down to "JewDon'tBelong." At least don't lead with your glass jaw when someone you've been punching down on for 1,900 years gives you a little tweak.
Rich Furman, St. Paul