Not again! Another Taiwan invasion story??

taiwan guns.jpg
Taiwan war exercises, via the Telegraph

I swore not to post about this over-blogged topic anymore, but this story about China scaring the shit out of P’eng-hu Islanders — unfortunately situated between China and Taiwan — is quite scary.

The most aggressive practice run to be staged by China for an invasion of Taiwan is terrifying the inhabitants of a tiny archipelago in the South China Sea.

The P’eng-hu Islands, which lie in crystal clear waters between Taiwan and mainland China, have been identified by Beijing as the first stepping-stone for an all-out assault on Taiwan, which governs the islands.

Last week, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) massed over the horizon to prepare a fearsome demonstration of its power – using 18,000 seaborne troops to launch a mock invasion of Communist-controlled Dongshan island, a part of China’s Fujian province, 170 miles to the south-west.

Such war games are an annual event, but this year’s exercise has a chilling intent. China’s Communist mouthpiece, the People’s Daily newspaper, declared: “This year’s military exercise is a substantial warning to Taiwan’s independence elements” – a reference to Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian, who plans constitutional changes to which China objects.

In the event of an invasion, the People’s Daily added, “the PLA would immediately take the P’eng-hu Islands, forming an outpost position to control Taiwan island”.

The P’eng-hu’s citizens are, understandably, hysterical. One woman tells the reporter, “I love this island, it’s my home, but I’m planning to leave as I have no doubt that P’eng-hu will be attacked. I have no choice but to think of the safety of my family.”

We all know there’s been a lot of back and forth about how China could or could not attack Taiwan. While I find it very unlikely, I’ve seen stranger things happen in my lifetime. It’s improbable, but appears more than possible, especially considering today’s bizarre state of international affairs (an antagonistic Chen, a xenophobic China, a preoccupied America, etc.)

A few days ago, Joseph of the Longbow Papers recommended a study by the Carnegie Endowment for Peace titled Deterring Conflict in the Taiwan Strait: The Successes and Failures of Taiwan’s Defense Reform and Modernization Program (pdf file). It’s long and detailed, and may not be for the casual reader. But it opened my eyes as to how Taiwan’s military operates and what its challenges are. And it reinforced my feelings that, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, an invasion by China is something Taiwan must seriously consider and be prepared for.

The Discussion: 66 Comments

I have read that Jiang Zemin has set 2020 as a specific deadline for reunification. So far however, I have only read this in non-Chinese media. If this turns out to be true, I think it makes war between China and Taiwan very very likely. It’s a dangerous step but is consistent with the way China has been getting increasingly worried that the passage of time is leading to increased pro-independence sentiment in Taiwan, and the longer they wait, the harder it will be. I hope it turns out to be untrue about the deadline … Richard or anyone else, have you seen anything to confirm or deny the story about Jiang Zemin’s deadline?

July 24, 2004 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

CNN and other non-Chinese sources seem to be reporting their source for the 2020 deadline as the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po. Unfortunately, their website is in Chinese, which I do not speak, so I am unable to confirm this. Perhaps someone can find the article and tell us what it says?

July 24, 2004 @ 11:45 pm | Comment


Thank you for linking to the Carnegie Endowment study on the Taiwan issue. I would have written sooner but I have fallen quite ill: my chronic bronchitis mysteriously took a turn into the acute range. I “toughed” it out until Friday, then finally went to the hospital. They found a rather severe level of infection and prescribed some pretty strong antivirals. But, frankly, I am still too sick to do much of anything other than sleep or read a bit.

I am sure I will be okay in a few days; I have always recovered from my pulmonary infections over the years. While this is a bad one, it will not be different in the end.

All the best, my friend,


July 25, 2004 @ 2:41 am | Comment

Martey, thanks for answering Li En’s question; I hadn’t heard about the deadline before, but I’m out of the loop now.

Joseph, please take care of yourself — that sounds terrible! No smoking and lots of sleep, please.

July 25, 2004 @ 10:40 am | Comment

The deadline has been much referred to by many western sources, all referring to Wen Wei Po. I’m afraid it is probably true. Hackers from China also broke into the Democratic Progressive Party website and left a “unification by 2024” message soon after. I think many underplay the determination of the Chinese on this issue.

Sorry to tell you, but if there is one reason why I will not vote for Kerry, it is because he would not do a damn thing to help in such a situation. I like Taiwan more than I dislike Bush.

July 25, 2004 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

Thomas, how do you know what Kerry would do, and based on Bush’s track record why would you trust him to handle this situation well? As well as he handled iraq? As well as he’s handled our diplomacy with those who were once our allies? As well as he handled the steel tariffs? As well as he handled Abu Ghraib, where no one in his administration is accountable? As well as he handled news of our country being under attack — by reading My Pet Goat until his aides came in and physically removed the terrified shell of a president? The way he handled the awful threat of gay marriage, by fighting to soil the US Constitution with the first discriminatory amendment in our entire history? The way he handled Afghanistan, where we have fewer soldiers than we do policemen in NYC, and where the taliban is making rapid inroads and heroin sales are again booming? Tell us what you mean, Thomas? Why are you confident in Bush being able to handle things — anything! — better than Kerry could?

July 25, 2004 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

“… especially considering today’s bizarre state of international affairs (an antagonistic Chen, …”

Richard, why do you consider Chen antagonistic? One of my pet peeves is how the PRC propogandists paint Chen as a crazy, out-of-touch lunatic who’s just about to start a war. While his policies are obviously unpopular the other side of the Straits, they have all been softened to appease the threat of war. Moreover, those policies are pretty representative of the views of people in Taiwan (some people think he’s too soft on independence, some people think he’s too harsh – that’s politics)

When he was elected 4 years ago, a lot of people thought he’d be declaring independence then. Instead, he gave his “5 noes” pledge in his inauguration speech (which he kept) to appease China. Likewise, this time, his inauguration speech was notable for its soft tone (re-asserting his pledge from last time, promising to limit constitutional change, wanting to reopen dialogue with China); I have no reason to think he won’t keep his word this time either.

He has already explicitly ruled out any action which would obviously be construed as ‘independence’ by China for the next 4 years (after which, he’s out of the picture). China are pretty clearly antagonistic to him, but does that make him antagonistic?

P.S. On the Jiang Zemin ‘resolve the issue by 2020’ thing – I don’t get the significance. All he’s saying is he wants it resolved before he dies isn’t he?

July 25, 2004 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

The significance is that Jiang Zemin is head of the Chinese armed forces, and the only way it’s likely to be resolved before he dies is by military force.

July 25, 2004 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

i picked up a bizarre book the other day near my house, with a colorful cover depicting a number of weapons entitled “Taiwanese Independence Exposee” or something like that, published by some Army printing unit. It had a number of wacky dates for possible war, 2007, 2008 (important dates for Taiwanese contitutional reform), and also this aforementioned 2020 (an important date for the Mainland). So I could confirm this 2020 date, at least according to this book that I bought with the horribly tacky cover.

July 25, 2004 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

Asia by Blog

Let’s plunge straight into today’s Asia linkfest: Hong Kong, Taiwan and China More on the Taiwan-China potential for conflict. Firstly Richard points to a story of some Taiwanese people perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time. Joseph Bosco fol…

July 26, 2004 @ 12:44 am | Comment

Kevin, I would love to hear more about that book. And, sorry for my ingorance, but where are you? In mainland China somewhere I presume?

July 26, 2004 @ 7:07 am | Comment

David, i think you are one of those who are victims of political manipulation of Chen’s DPP. He may sound cordial and soft but his action are clearly belligerent, offensive and blunt. His push for a referendum open the way for a future one that may change the Constitution and the official title of the Republic of China, which means a formal break from the mainland. His detemination to amend the constitution by 2006 leaves room for the separatist forces to achieve their goal. His various speeches including is famous “One side, one state” clearly demonstrates his ultimate dream of an independent taiwan from China. The Bush Admin had warned Chen time and again not to hold the referendum but he was determined to go to the extent to strain ties with Washington to go ahead. Clearly as Beijing felt that it is losing grip over control over the situation, the imperative to resort to force increases simultaneously. Therefore Chen together with Annette Lu and Lee tenghui are antagonistic in that they would risk a war between beijing, washington and taipei to achieve their goal. Moreover, the DPP, due to its dismal record of governing, decided to play the nationalistic card and pit native taiwanese and Taiwanese with mainland roots aganist to increase their political capital. Their ruthless, selfish elections tactics served to divide and polarise Taiwanese society and sow the seeds of communal discord. In playing the nationalistic card, Chen is as dangerous and reckless as Sukarno and Milosevic.

July 26, 2004 @ 7:37 am | Comment

All that I really want to add is that:

1) I’ve seen picture of the Penghu islands. They’re beautiful. I might be taking a weekend trip to go snorkelling there sometime in September.

2) The chances of the PLA of invading the Penghu islands first are much higher than going straight for the main island.

July 26, 2004 @ 8:05 am | Comment

sp … I’m curious … and of course, you don’t have to reveal it if you don’t want to … but what’s your background? Mainland Chinese? Taiwanese but opposed to Chen? Or … ?

July 26, 2004 @ 9:30 am | Comment

i’m an american living in shanghai, doing translation. picked up the book and skimmed it over the weekend, most of it is just about weapons, certainly not my main area of interest, but the first few chapters are about politics, although it only seems to cover developments before chen’s first election, even though it was just published last month. anyway, i have been busy at work so i haven’t looked at it much, but my friend said he would pay me 100 dollars if i actually read it all, hehe, so maybe i will have more info on it later

July 26, 2004 @ 8:13 pm | Comment

The US also regularly stages mock invasions and landing excersise, and as I recall is in the midst of preparing for some more.

This is classic sabre rattling and little more, mostly it is for internal viewing to appease the hardlinners in the Chinese Government just as the US’s excersises are.

Neither side really wants a war, they just want to publicly bang their drums and go home to respective countries and say “we scared dem’ yankies/commie buggers”

Right now the status quo in Taiwan is earning China and America a lot of money, a war suits nobody but a mock invasion plicates the hard liners for another few weeks.

July 27, 2004 @ 1:06 am | Comment

The PRC should not be permitted to conduct military exercises as these would ‘disturb’ the poor frightened Taiwanese.

The PRC has a very dangerous new hi-tech submarine that may threaten the sampans and thus the security of Taiwan.

The 2008 Olympic Games is nothing more than a cover for covert PRC military manoeuvres to invade Taiwan – they would do so when everyone is glued to the TV.

And I am the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt.

July 27, 2004 @ 5:02 am | Comment

Oh, I know this ” sp” long ago, he’s always been a diehard CCP ass-licker,he almost only posts for topics relating to China and Taiwan.
And you bet whose side he’s on!

ps: he never tells you what’s REALLY WRONG with Taiwanese independence !

July 27, 2004 @ 5:08 am | Comment


As for your information, i am no fan of the CCP. My granduncle was tortured and had his wealth confiscated during the Cultural revolution and many of my relatives died in the Great Leap Forward. I wore a mourning ban in June 1989 when the students were ruthlessly massacred in Tiananmen. My sympathies are with the Democratic party in Hong kong and i almost blasted DAB and regional authoritarians in my blog. So don’t try your right wing McCarthyism on me and try to window dress me as a Mao suit wearing communist. I appreciate your efforts.

Having said all these, the opposition towards Taiwanese independence and “loving and ass licking the CCP” are tow different things altogether, if you have basic logic and reasoning. While i am an anti-communist, i am for Chinese Nationalism, all the ideals that the late Dr Sun Yat Sen had stood for. He was no communist. The fact is Taiwanese independence concerns the interest of the Chinese nation-state, not particularly for Chinese communism as you narrowly see it. Any nationalist would not let a part of his country to break away be him democrat, liberal, communist etc as long as they are nationalist. If taiwan breaks away, it threatens the sovereignty and integrity of China as a united nation-state, just as Lincoln would tolerate the independence of the Confederation, it has nothing to do with political ideology. So is Basque, the Kurds, Ulster, whats wrong with their bid for independence? No leader of a nation-state would give up on sovereign rights and territorial integrity so easily, sovereignty cannot be negotiated. Taiwan does belong to China as the Cairo declaration of 1944 “formally restores the island of Formosa (Taiwan) to the Republic of China” which was agreed upon by FDR and Churchill.
You really need to read up on nationalism judging the clumsy manner you try to mess communism with nationalism to villify and smear others.

July 27, 2004 @ 7:42 am | Comment

You know the old sayings about learning the lessons of the past, and the more things change the more they stay the same?

Well … long long ago, before World War One, it was felt by many people that another major European war was extremely unlikely, because the economies were too linked, and it would cost everyone too much. They really got it right that time, didn’t they?

While it’s extremely unlikely that China would use the Olympic Games as a cover, Jacky, if you’ve been following the news you’ll know that Beijing is extremely nervous that Taiwan might use the Olympics as a cover to push towards independence, and has actively warned that they’re prepared to pay “any price” to prevent that happening.

ACB … you’re right, every country with a military holds exercises, but you can learn a lot from what TYPE of exercises they practise.

I really find it quite unbelievably dangerous that there seem to be so many people who don’t take Beijing’s threats seriously. That is how you blunder into a war by accident.

July 27, 2004 @ 7:49 am | Comment

Typos are always my curse:

“Lincoln would Not tolerate the independence of the Confederation..”

See the post above.

By the way, i am proud that my relatives are always in the July 1 protest against Tung and CCP’s heavy hand in Hong Kong, so Right, try harder to convince me to wear a Mao suit, recite the little Red Book or even become one of those Red Guards that had tortured my granduncle.

July 27, 2004 @ 7:49 am | Comment


And for your information, your beloved die-hard separatist Vice President Annette Lu had now facing massive anger from the Taiwanese aboriginals who demanded her apology over her offensive remarks against them. So this how much the pro-independence forces love Taiwan and her unique identity in a fashion other than provoking Beijing: political victimisation of Taiwanese aboriginals, thats a creative way to shore up her “Love Taiwan, reject Chineseness” image.

July 27, 2004 @ 8:01 am | Comment

PRC has been threatening Taiwan for aeons. If we are fair, we can read into those threats as nothing more than reminders to the Taiwanese not to have any ideas about secession.

The nature of these bluff-maybe-real threats should be placed into context in today’s PRC, where she is more interested in getting richer (and consequently more powerful – eg. she can’t have half a dozen aircraft carriers if she continues to be a 3rd world joke). International trade, attracting overseas investments (with transfers fo technology and management ideas), development are her main thrust.

This is not to say that she’ll tolerate any moves by Taiwan to “break away”. Filthy has a point in that the PRC is worried that Taiwan may just do that during the Olympic Games, thinking the Mainland won’t react when under the focus of the world’s attention. Hence, she is conducting a series of harsh reminders to Taiwan for the specific reason of deterring the Island’s leaders from such ideas.

I believe that if Chen thinks he can get away with it, and rub the PRC ‘face’ in the process, that will be a sorry day indeed, for everyone, mainlanders, islanders and the countries of the region. I also believe that Chen may find that there’ll be no one by Taiwan side when the crunch happens. Yes, there’ll be the obligatory wringing of hands and the gnashing of teeth but after a nasty and not too extended period, it’ll be business as usual. PRC will of course suffer a temporary though major setback, with Taiwan probably devastated and definitely worse off, but that’s Chinese ‘face’ for you.

Sorry, Jing, I know you hate this ‘Chinese face’ stuff, but everyone including the two most egalitarian western societies, the Americans and Australians, also suffer from (loss of) ‘face’. Believe me, I am Chinese myself and I know that’s one of our (many) weaknesses – we as a culture, and that includes all Confucian cultures like Japan and Korea, are just more sensitive in this regard – to the extent of becoming illogical and irrational as to launch a war in the midst of an economic rennaisance.

I hope and pray it will not happen.

July 27, 2004 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

sp (and jacky) – again you’re phrasing it as ‘Chen is the problem’ and again I claim you’re wrong. I agree that Chen, personally, would love for Taiwan to be fully recognised as independent by the world, but as the president of his country he has been scrupulous in emphasising how nothing should be done without the full consent of the people of Taiwan. One of the reasons he was so keen to push for a referendum law is so that no move could be made without the people’s consent – that swings both ways: noone should be able to force unification OR independence on the people without their explicit vote first. Surely that’s a good thing? (You can’t think the principle of referenda is a move towards independence unless you believe the majority of Taiwanese want independence)

So the ‘problem’ is that a democratic country is steadily year-by-year drifting further and further away from China. Unless China does something to alter perceptions, I don’t see how any elected president of Taiwan will move towards unification. So if China really wants peaceful unification, what’s it going to do to win the hearts of people in Taiwan? Building a few more missile silos in Fujian, playing wargames, and threatening armageddon doesn’t work.

I would personally love to see China calling Chen’s bluff. Chen has publically said that he’s keen to talk – no preconditions – and nothing is off the table, but of course he knows the PRC won’t agree to talks without Taiwan accepting the ‘One China’ doctrine (not going to happen). If China said, “OK lets talk, no preconditions … what are you offering?” then the onus is on Chen.

July 27, 2004 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

i totally agree that china could possibly launch a war at some point, but what i really wish was that they could have an editorial in people’s daily that laid out the possible consequences of such a war, rather than the usual chen-bashing stuff they have all the time. think about it, china would end up as a true international pariah, the olympics would be gone, i and all of my ex patriate friends and our companies would be gone, and china’s development would be set back quite a few years, and for what? so that the people of taiwan can be united under a corrupt bureaucracy? so that the only functioning democracy that has grown out of china’s historical territory can be put to an end?
this would be bad PR, for sure. no one i know here wants to go to war with taiwan, but i must admit that i don’t exactly hang out with the government or the army much, and none of my friends are typical nationalists. nevertheless, i think a war would be very poorly recieved when its consequences are considered. sure, it might go over well on the china daily online comment board, but would probably elicit a more complex response here on the ground, which is something that should be considered.

July 27, 2004 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

David, I tend to be on your side in this conversation, but I believe there’s no denying that Chen has been aggressively pushing the envelope, nearly to the point of being antagonistic and at times — dare i say it? — reckless. His in-your-face antics, which can only be explained as political grandstanding, are equivalent to playing with dynamite.

Based on the grim alternative, I would love to see an independent Taiwan. But in the world of realpolitik the Taiwan issue is a bottle of nitroglycerine that needs to be handled with extreme care and tact, an approach Chen seems determined to reject. So while I appreciate Chen’s objective, I have to worry that his approach is making things worse, not better.

July 27, 2004 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

It is a great injustice that on the one hand Chen and Taiwan should be so often criticized for asserting Taiwan’s right to sovereignty, while on the other hand the PRC is always treated with such delicate care and soft-spoken diplomacy whenever they talk of bombing the holy bejeezus out of Taiwan and washing the island in a sea of blood, etc., etc., ad nauseum. It should be that the PRC would be held to the same standard of using such extreme care and tact when holding discourse between nations. But all too often in the interest of keeping trade open and the fear of the PRC instigating massive bloodshed, we scold Taiwan for rocking the boat.

July 27, 2004 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

Joe, I am with you. But again, in the world of realpolitik we have to face the fact that China is still prickly and paranoid when it comes to Taiwan — and war is not an attractive option. So the situation calls for an extra dose of diplomacy and delicacy. Chen isn’t being very delicate, I’m afraid.

July 27, 2004 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Richard, I know you follow the news closely in this part of the world, but can I guess that most of the time you hear about Chen, it’s when the PRC has decided to complain about something he said/did? If so, do you think you’re getting a balanced view on his actions? Even when the news doesn’t involve China, you often see stories with the tagline “from our correspondant in Beijing” – viewed through that prism it’s not surprising he sometimes comes off as a bit of a loon.

Here’s an exercise for those of you who think Chen’s an extremist: try naming 1 person from the DPP (or TSU) who you would trust to replace Chen and provide a more moderate policy re: China. I can’t think of one. [I exclude KMT/PFP members from this not only because they lost the election, but also their leaders have proved they haven’t got the moral character required to run a brothel, let alone a country]

Read his inauguration speech, and tell me what is antagonistic there (actually, bits of it wound up the hardline-TI people something rotten). Read his (equally placatory) speech from 4 years ago, and tell me which promises he broke regarding China.

I’m not saying Chen’s perfect (he does a lot that I don’t approve of), or that he isn’t sailing a dangerous course. What I am saying, is that he *is* a moderate (by the standards of Taiwanese politicians and voters). Given that he’s been imprisoned for his beliefs, had his wife crippled, been shot, and been called every name under the sun by the CCP, it’s amazing he’s as moderate as he is.

July 27, 2004 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

sp wrote –

“While i am an anti-communist, i am for Chinese Nationalism, all the ideals that the late Dr Sun Yat Sen had stood for.”

Sun Yixian advocated Three Principles of the People. Nationalism, Socialism, and Peoples Livelihood. However, “Nationalism” had a very specific connation that people often conveniently want to forget today – it was anti Manchu / Manzu. Expel the Qing, restore China to the Chinese. This however, highlights one of the serious weaknesses in the mainland Chinese case for annexation of Taiwan. The first mainland presence in Taiwan in any capacity that can be described as “rule” (as opposed to a visit, or putting it on a map), was when refugees from the falling Ming Dynasty fled there. I hardly think this constitutes a valid proof for the argument that Taiwan “was, is, and always will be China’s.” Now, the Manchu armies eventually chased down these Ming Dynasty loyalists, and incorporated Taiwan into their state administration. Yet this was done by a conquering foreign people, not by the Chinese. Because the homeland of the Manchu happens by accident of history to be incorporated within the borders of China today, this fact is usually overlooked … but arguments that base modern China’s borders upon territorial acquisitions by the Qing Dynasty are actually invalid. Country A occupies country B, and then occipies territory C. Through the passage of time, country B comes to control country A. Many years later, country B uses this as a proof that they have always owned territory C. Let’s see if this works elsewhere in the world. Modern day Poland incorporates much territory that was once Prussian. So … Prussia occupied Poland, and went on to occupy various other territories, including (amongst others) Alsace and Lorraine. Many years later, Poland finds itself in control of much of Prussia. Does this give it a valid claim upon Alsace and Lorraine? Most mainland Chinese will dismiss my argument, saying that “oh, the Qing were REALLY a Chinese dynasty” … but that simply is not the case, as can be seen by even a brief examination of their race laws and government structure. If you believe in the ideas of Sun Yixian of Nationalism, you are obliged to recognise the Qing as a NON-CHINESE dynasty.

sp also wrote:
“If taiwan breaks away, it threatens the sovereignty and integrity of China as a united nation-state”

This argument can only be maintained by maintaining the convenient fiction that Taiwan is not independent. I’m not referring here to “Independence” with a capital letter, but rather practical independence … Beijing has no rule of any sort on the island, and the island is run as a completely independent entity. In what way does the separation of Taiwan from mainland China threaten her territorial or sovereign integrity? Simply put, it doesn’t. There’s been almost 60 years of this threat being active and alive, and I haven’t seen any signs of China breaking apart. The “threat” is a fiction. Comparisons to Lincoln etc are simply inappropriate, since the American south had not be independent from the north for more than half a century before the war broke out. If you want a better comparison, it must be England and her claims to the American colonies. 60 years after the USA became independent, did England still maintain her claims on the basis of “it was once ours, so it’s always ours.”? Did allowing USA to remain independent threaten the soverignty and integrity of the English nation? Or Spain and Portugal vs their South American colonies?

But Taiwan is ethnically Chinese? Well yes, but the American colonies were largely of the same ethnic group as their former European owners too. We’d have to redraw a lot of the world’s map if simply being ethnically related was an argument for compulsory unity.

Once you start testing Chinese nationalist arguments against the situation in the wider world, it quickly becomes apparent that they are pretty weak. No, I take that back … they’re not weak, they are dangerous. If every country started applying them, pretty much every country in the world would start threatening war against every bordering country, and quite a few others besides. Oh, and it turns out that China doesn’t belong to the Chinese at all. It belongs to the Mongols.

“Taiwan does belong to China as the Cairo declaration of 1944 “formally restores the island of Formosa (Taiwan) to the Republic of China” which was agreed upon by FDR and Churchill.”

Taiwan was returned to the ROC government, and the ROC government still possesses it. It hardly seems a valid argument to say that Taiwan belongs to the PRC government who was never promised the territory and has never (not for a single day) ruled it. So, in answer to the argument “Taiwan belongs to the Chinese” I answer, “yes, I agree, but WHICH Chinese?”

July 28, 2004 @ 12:04 am | Comment

Shedding some light on the 2020 thing; yep, looks like it’s Jiang whose getting all worked up about this… From today’s SCMP:
Jiang Zemin, the commander-in-chief of China’s armed forces, has for the first time set what amounts to a deadline for the reunification of Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. On July 16, he told a meeting of the Central Military Commission, the country’s most powerful military body, that “before or after 2020 is the time to resolve the Taiwan issue.”

July 28, 2004 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No. 9:

Your rebuttal based on the contradictions of Dr Sun’s nationalism and the Manchu ownership of Taiwan seem to be justified but nevertheless lack the depth of deep thoughts. Taiwan came under the sovereignty of China the moment Koxinga or Zheng Chengggong, the Ming general took over the island and the island came under this Han Chinese exile authority unitl the Manchus conquered it. Zheng never declared any Taiwanese independence, he and his followers wanted to revive the Ming nad destroy the Manchus. Hence this exile Chinese authority already claimed chinese sovereignty over taiwan. The manchus later supplanted the Ming as the Chinese govt. Whether the Chinese regarded the Manchus as foreigners or not is another issue altogether. However, the Manchus or even the Mongols were unique, they did not regard themselves as foreigners, they underwent Sinization and claimed to be the Chinese authority. Thus the Manchus suceeded the Ming sovereignty over Taiwan. Your theory of Dr Sun’s clash with the Manchus had no relevance to it. By embarking on the revolution in 1911, Dr Sun is trying to have a republican governement to take over the sovereignty of the Manchus, Manchuria remained part of China. Your point is nothing but non sequitur.

Of course Taiwanese separatism threatens Chinese national interests and sovereignty. What sort of country would China be seen if she cannot even protect her sovereign rights? . Do not forget the restless minorities in Xinjiang, Taipei’s bid for independence if condoned would encourage and embolden these separatists. China would have open up the hell of disintegration.

Your argument about Taiwan being independent is both fallacious and ludicrous. Taiwan may enjoy de facto independence but in a de jure sense, she has never been independent up till today. You have acknowledged that the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to the ROC, but the PRC already supplanted the ROC as the rightful Chinese government and has the right to succeed the sovereign rights of her predecessor. Remember, Taiwan was represented as Nationalist China in the UN until 1971, there was no such thing as a Taiwan seat. When Red China took over, international norm has recognised Beijing suceeding the ROC’s sovereignty including that of Taiwan, the fact that a separate Taiwan seat was never created point to reinforced this fact. Furthermore, Chiang Kai-shek has never regarded himself as Taiwan president but called himself China’s rightful president, he held onto Tiwan as part of China, this is also a fact till today as Chen was still officially the President of the ROC. In short Taiwan’s government is Nationalist China’s exile government that claims sovereignty over not only Taiwan but also of Mainland China. So what you have just said clearly demonstrates your gross lack of understanding behind the issue. Thats why Beijing fears Taipei changing its ROC title not because the CCP likes the nationalists but the demise of the ROC wopuld effectively mean Taiwan’s formal break from China. This should be enlightening to you, read up more on China.

July 28, 2004 @ 5:39 am | Comment

To the rest:

If your thing that China’s ownership of Taiwan cannot be based on the Chinese settlers arrival on the island, that the legimate existence of the USA and Australia would be in jepardy because your argument would mean that the whites had stolen the US and Australia from the Indians and the Aboriginals. After all, the AUSTRALIAN supreme Court had ruled that Australia was not a no man’s land when Cpt James Cook took possession of it. This is the fatuous nature of your arguments regarding the selltement factor.

And if China is really so mad, they would have claimed sovereignty over Singapore as well because of the latter’s Chinese majority. Similarly, you all had potrayed that China is eager for a military conflict in the taiwan straits, the truth is otherwise. What can China really gain? The CCP’s legitimacy depends more and more on economic performance and the war would rock the Chinese economy, why should the CCP commit political suicide by invading Taiwan unless necessary? Furthermore, a war torn taiwan is nothing more than a political baggage than asset why would they want war eagerly, it means killing fellow Chinese, Li peng and even Deng had suffered loss of prestige due to tiananmen, no Chinese leader would want to carry a bad name of killing his own people unless Taiwan embarks on hard core separatism. Look at the events, its Beijing who is panicking because they are always the reactive party, Chen, Lee Tenghui are active parties in the tensions, every hostile Chinese actions were followed by deliberate provocations by Chen and Lee, such as Lee’s proclamation of the “Two states theory” to Chen’s “One state on each side of the taiwan Straits”. Chen is always having nice words for people to hear but they are nothing but lip service, his actions testifies to his unbending pursue of taiwanese separatism.

July 28, 2004 @ 5:53 am | Comment


Chen already broke one of his “5 Nos” in his 2000 speech but having a referendum. One of his nos was no to referendum to decide the status quo in Taiwan and regarding the official titles but he went ahead. And he also wanted to totally overturn the 1947 ROC Constitution just before the elections before both domestic and exteranl pressure forced him to watered it down to “amendment”. In this sense he already break one of his nos as No to change to Taiwan’s ROC title. It easy to expose a lousy liar like him.

July 28, 2004 @ 5:58 am | Comment

sp … your arguements will convince someone who already agrees with you. Anyone else will look at them and wonder about your ability to think rationally.

sp – “Your rebuttal … seem to be justified but nevertheless lack the depth of deep thoughts.”

The depth of deep thoughts? Sorry, it just makes me smile. I would suggest however, that you could do with a bit more depth to your thoughts yourself. As I have said already, just because a few Ming refugees managed to flee to Taiwan and maintain a remnant of Ming authority there for a relatively short time, this isn’t good grounds for claiming that Taiwan is an integral part of China either then or now. If occupation of that sort brings eternal sovereignty, then Taiwan also belongs to Japan, and oh yeah … China also belongs to Japan.

sp – “However, the Manchus or even the Mongols were unique, they did not regard themselves as foreigners, they underwent Sinization and claimed to be the Chinese authority.”

You have the key point in the last clause … claimed to be the Chinese authority … it was the best way to keep the Chinese under control. They knocked out the Chinese leadership, stuck themselves on top, and then adopted Chinese rhetoric to justify their rule, and put themselves in charge … but to call either of them a “Chinese Dynasty” is ridiculous. The Mongols looked down on the native Chinese as the lowest class, and despised them … they’d much rather rely on any kind of other foreigner to administer their empire, and referred to the Chinese with the term “Man” … “southern barbarians” essentially. As for the Manchu … they maintained extensive records in their own language throughout their rule, as well as the Chinese ones for the administration. They banned intermarriage with Chinese. They forbad Chinese immigration into Manchuria (although that one broke down later). Being fully aware that they were a far smaller group compared to the Chinese, they knew that they had to make use of the Chinese people to administer the empire. So, whenever a governor was Chinese, the second in command had to be Manchu, and vice versa … the whole administrative and legal structure was designed to keep the Manchu in charge, and prevent their absorption by the Chinese majority … quite the opposite from the idea that they became “just another Chinese dynasty.” So yes, sp, you’re right, the Manchu claimed authority over China. Did they ever claim to be Chinese? No, quite the opposite in fact … and you would probably have been executed if you’d dared to tell a Qing emperor to his face that he was a “Chinese”.

“Your theory of Dr Sun’s clash with the Manchus had no relevance to it.”

Sigh … it isn’t a theory sp … go read your Sun Yixian. Destroy the Manchu! That was the slogan of not only Sun, but pretty much all the pre-1911 revolutionary forces in China. The Manchus did not consider themselves Chinese, and the Chinese revolutionaries who overthrew them also did not consider them to be Chinese. Yet you dismiss this by simply saying it has “no relevance” … umm … I guess there’s no reasoning with you, if you think so!

“Of course Taiwanese separatism threatens Chinese national interests and sovereignty. ”

Sigh … well, all I will do is refer you back to my last post, and ask you to consider what I said there. I have already answered this. Has Xinjiang already been separate from China in every aspect of its administration and borders, for almost 60 years? I don’t think so …. In fact, if China were really so threatened by the fact that they don’t and can’t control Taiwan … then Xinjiang would have broken away and been independent a long time ago. The fact is that there is no realistic possibility of Xinjiang gaining independence, no matter what happens with Taiwan. Taiwan declares independence? So what? Is there any other section of China that would be lost? No, of course not.

“Your argument about Taiwan being independent is both fallacious and ludicrous. Tiwan may enjoy de facto independence but in a de jure sense, she has never been independent up till today.”

Fallacious and ludicrous? Well, seems you’re a master of the ridiculous, so I guess you should know. As I made clear, I was talking about the practical and very real independence of Taiwan, as opposed to any technical “declaration of independence.” In a legal sense, it depends what kind of law you’re talking about. On one level, most (but not all) countries accept the so called One China principle … but as everyone knows, this is purely because PRC will get so hot and bothered and conduct all sorts of retaliation … but from a practical point of view, almost everyone treats Taiwan as an independent entity from China … have you noticed anyone applying for a visa to visit Taiwan from any PRC embassies? Noticed any foreign governments making trade agreements with PRC over trade relations with Taiwan?

“You have acknowledged that the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to the ROC, but the PRC already supplanted the ROC as the rightful Chinese government and has the right to succeed the sovereign rights of her predecessor.”

This is a better argument, and has some merit (unlike your earlier attempts). I can see that many reasonable people would also agree with you. For myself I don’t agree that PRC automatically inherited all rights of former Chinese regimes. What about the responsbilitiies? In fact, even the Chinese Communist Party denied they had to accept those. Did they accept responsibility for all foreign debts and treaties made by the Guomindang? No … they didn’t. So, your argument appears to be that PRC inherited all the rights but the responsibilities could be forgotten at will? Well … ok, but personally I don’t think that is a very reasonable position.

“Remember, Taiwan was represented as Nationalist China in the UN until 1971, there was no such thing as a Taiwan seat.”

Well, ok … but does this mean that you recognise that until 1971 the Guomindang were the rulers of all of China? No … I didn’t think so.

“In short Taiwan’s government is Nationalist China’s exile government that claims sovereignty over not only Taiwan but also of Mainland China.”

That was once true, but it is out of date information. Furthermore, arguments based upon it fail to recognise that if you accept the old Guomindang argument, then you also have to accept that the PRC government in Beijing is illegitimate, and has no right to decide anything for China. You can’t have it both ways.

“So what you have just said clearly demonstrates your gross lack of understanding behind the issue.”

I’m afraid sp, that I have both more knowledge and better understanding about these matters than you do. Keep your insults to yourself.

“This should be enlightening to you, read up more on China.”

Well, I would suggest that you go away and follow your own advice. I would also suggest that you spend a bit of time to learn how to rebut someone else’s argument. When you’ve done that, perhaps you’ll be able to offer a convincing argument.

July 28, 2004 @ 7:52 am | Comment

sp – you kind of prove my point. He’s only a ‘lousy liar’ if you ignore & distort the facts. He promised not to hold a referendum on independence or unification, and guess what? he hasn’t. Granted, the referendum he had was stupid, but it had nothing to do with independence – he was also very clear through his first term about how important he thought the principle of referenda was.

As for changing the constitution – how on earth do you equate that with a change of the ROC title? PRC has changed it’s constitution what 5 or 6 times in the last 50 years, but noone has claimed that means it has change it’s title.

July 28, 2004 @ 7:53 am | Comment

It’s truly interesting to read about Chinese (or is it Manchu?) history from so many angles – somewhat like Akira Kurowasa’s ‘Rashomon’ or Edward Zwick’s ‘Courage Under Fire’.

But, in the real world, the international community (except for a few small and poor countries, mainly in the Caribbean and Central America – just like the bulk of the pro-whaling nations – get the drift?) recognized the PRC as China, including the UN and the US. The US also subscribes to the ‘One China’ policy. So does the PRC and ROC, until Chen decides it was time to upset the apple cart.

The PRC will not hesitate to use her economic might (adolescent as it is) to diplomatically marginalize/isolate Taiwan, as we have seen in countries like the Bahamas and Dominica. How many countries will truly come to Taiwan’s aid when the time comes for taking sides?

The PRC does not want war, and (I have said this many times before) while she dreams of bringing Taiwan into her fold under the HK formula (One Nation, Two Systems), she would be contended with the current status quo (basically still a ‘One Nation, Two Systems’ albeit in a very loose form). ‘Face’ would then be preserved.

This could go on for years without any trouble, but unfortunately Chen has chosen to poke at the hornets’ nest. The DPP wants to be independent as Taiwan rather than as the KMT’s ‘China’ or a part of China. This is understandable for Taiwanese but utterly impractical or not realistic in the current climate.

The PRC is like a hugh boy just growing into adulthood – developing strength yet so awkward, growing to dominate the region yet not so confident, wishing to be recognized as a world power yet highly sensitive and easily taking umbrage at any slights. She is NOW not yet a country willing to let Taiwan go her own way. Additionally allowing Taiwan to do so will set a precedent for some of her troubled Muslim populated regions.

The PRC is not ruled by a ladies’ tea set club, and can easily turn rather ugly when she is riled. Chen has been riling her, and pushing her annoyance envelope to its limits. He is playing a very dangerous game, based on some incorrect assumptions/assessments.

The real world says that the PRC will attack Taiwan if push comes to shove. Whether the invasion may be successful or not, immense damage to both sides will be done.

The real world also says Chen will be sadly mistaken if he thinks the US will rush to fight the PRC to defend her. China does not want a war with the US who is militarily too superior, but neither does the US. Washington does not want a war with China for many reasons – you don’t attack a country that has WMDs or who represents a lucrative market for your exports, and for what?

Just as a snapshot of China’s lucrative market, Boeing is China’s biggest aviation partner and predicts that in the next 20 years, the Chinese nation will require 2,400 airline jets to become the 2nd largest aviation market in the world. The US and Boeing certainly hope most will be purchased from them.

Immoral? The real world says morals should be left at home, preferably in the dark basement. If morality and not the real world rules nations’ foreign policies, would we have an Apartheid South Africa for so long, a Savak-terrorised Iran for years, Mugabe still ruling the roost in Zimbabwe, Liberia left to stew in her own miseries for so long until Nigerian troops marched in, the once-US-enemies in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance brigands back in power as heroin barons (to sell to US markets), and Rwanda-Burundi to suffer their tragedy? As one US journalist said during the Liberian crisis, the only thing that can get the US, Liberia’s ‘big brother’, to land troops there to stop the massacre and rapes was Liberia’s discovery of oil!

Chen and the DPP should cease and desist from their provocation. Let time be the solution. Jiang is an old man and won’t be long with us. The day will come when a Jiang-less PRC will recognize that Taiwan has a very different political culture and ‘people’. That has to be a self-confident and stable China. If Chen persists is his reckless dreams, it’ll be a case of ‘one step forward, 10 steps backwards’!

July 28, 2004 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

Jacky … I think you not only misjudge China’s threats, you also misjudge USA’s likely response. The chances of USA not intervening militarily and on a large scale, in the event of a PRC attack on Taiwan, is effectively zero. This is exactly what I mean about why your views are positively dangerous (if too many people believe them). The result of that would be USA and Taiwan think China won’t really put its threats into action, so don’t treat them with sufficient seriousness. China thinks that USA won’t respond, so pushes things harder than they should. Suddenly you’ve got a nasty confrontation out of nowhere, which neither side intended.

Jacky writes “The PRC is like a hugh boy just growing into adulthood – developing strength yet so awkward, growing to dominate the region yet not so confident, wishing to be recognized as a world power yet highly sensitive and easily taking umbrage at any slights.”

I think this is exactly right, and I’ve made a similar comparison myself, in the past. I would like to add a bit more to it … the fact that this kid used to get picked on all the time when he wasn’t so strong. He’s got a real chip on his shoulder about that, and is harbouring plenty of grudges. I’d say that he’s hankering after a fight … so he can show one of those bullies that he can’t be pushed around any more. Even worse, he’s bought himself a gun (nuclear weapons). He’s cocky, and all too likely to talk himself into a fight that he isn’t prepared for, and (worst case scenario) if he ends up in a fight he can’t handle, he’s all too likely to pull out that gun …

July 28, 2004 @ 7:41 pm | Comment


I am glad we are converging on some issues, namely China’s temperament as I mentioned it, but I stop where you proceeded beyond to suggest she’s looking for a fight. Seems like we have a long to go yet before we can agree on major grounds.

I provided the reason why she doesn’t want to – she’s right in the midst of an economic renaissance so why would she?

You place too much undeserved faith in the US coming to Taiwan’s aid. Countries don’t act on grounds of morality or honour – it’s all about national interest. That’s why the US continues to hobnob with unsavoury characters even as she preaches to others on democracy, transparency and ‘due process’. That’s why she has been and still is soft on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who are the actual threats to her security.

If you believe for one instant that the US will abandon mainland China for an insignificant little island you aren’t living in the real world. This becomes more true especially after the recent Iraq experience when the US will become that more prudent and less arrogant, just as she became ultra careful after the trauma of Vietnam. Much as the hawks may wish for the US to nuke China and the ‘evil commies’ that’s just not going to happen, for the same reason that Washington continues to pretend that Saudi Arabia, particularly Prince Nayif’s faction who has been so beholden to the Wahhabi clerics, has been lily-white in the 9/11 incident.

National Interest!

July 28, 2004 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

To “sp”, I wasn’t online yesterday, but “Filthy Stinking No.9” said it, and said it best.
You aren’t a CCP asslicker, sorry about that, but your views on Taiwan are still extremely biased.

July 28, 2004 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

Filthy Stinking No. 9:

“Well, ok … but does this mean that you recognise that until 1971 the Guomindang were the rulers of all of China? No … I didn’t think so.”

Right now, only 27 countries has dipolomatic relations with taipei, and they recognised her as the ROC, not Taiwan, meaning in a de facto sense, they recognise Taipei based on the fact that they see her as the rightful Chinese govt. as they do not have any ties with Beijing. And the USA veto and lobby support to oppose the entry of red China into the Un from 1949 to 1971 based on the argument that Taipei was the rightful Chinese govt and not Beijing. Of course that changed when they switch it to Beijing in 1979 and only set up the American Institute in Taiwan to replace the US embassy.

July 29, 2004 @ 3:41 am | Comment

:China belongs to Taiwan you say?

1. The Atlantic Charter(1941.8.14)¡G
a. First, the Charter announced that ¡§ their countries seek no
aggrandizement, territorial or other.¡¨ China¡¦s annexation of
Formosa (Taiwan) is obviously a territorial aggrandizement.
b. Second, the Charter said that ¡§they declare to see no territorial
changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the
people concerned.¡¨ Therefore, should Formosa be ¡§restored¡¨
to China as China claimed, the people of Formosa should be
consulted, so far there is no such consultation made.
c.Third, ¡§they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of
government under which they will live, and they wish to see
sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have
been forcibly deprived of them.¡¨ The so-called ¡§restoration¡¨ of
Formosa to China does not respect the people of Formosa in the
sovereign right and the right of choosing government.
This Charter was endorsed by China in the ¡§Declaration by the
United Nations¡¨

July 29, 2004 @ 5:03 am | Comment

2. Declaration by the United Nations (1942.1.1) declare ¡§The Government signatory ( U.S., U.K., Soviet Union, China ¡K¡Ketc. total 26 countries) hereto, having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter.¡¨ China is one of the signatories of the Declaration, claiming the sovereign right of Formosa is a violation of the Charter per se.

July 29, 2004 @ 5:05 am | Comment

ahh crap it isn’t letting me add more to this… I have 6 more things to point out about the declarations why China isn’t taiwans.

But it isn’t letting me..

July 29, 2004 @ 5:11 am | Comment

3. The Cairo Conference (1943.11.22-26)

Records kept by the chinese government showed that Roosevelt, Premier Churchil and Chiang Kai-shek of China agreed that japan should be stripped of all the islands she had seized or occupied in the Pacific, including Formosa and the Pescadores. The disposal of these islands was not determined at that time.

July 29, 2004 @ 5:35 am | Comment

it won’t let me post the rest of part 3.

July 29, 2004 @ 6:47 am | Comment

Please not another long-winded legal obfuscation of the Taiwan issue by Taidu separatists. Didn’t you already post this at the JT forums. You might actually want to become a regular poster before you start spamming.

July 29, 2004 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

“she” is in the midst of an economic rennaisance, so why would she want a fight?
well, you don’t need the CCP in order to have an economic rennaisance. that is something that comes from the people, and could actually be done better without a massive bureaucracy.
so, in my opinion, the reason china would go to war with taiwan is simply because rabid nationalism is the last ideological principle (besides “stability”) that the CCP still possesses. I mean, equality, socialism, anti-imperialism… these are all things of the past. All that is left is a rabid ugly nationalism that will not stop and think about the rationality of an invasion of taiwan, but that will rather simply consider that this is the last possible rallying point of a failed dynasty.

July 29, 2004 @ 7:17 pm | Comment

Is everyone else enjoying this thread as much as me?

Anyway, I don’t think Cameron’s comments class as spam, if that’s what you meant Jing? After all, it was clearly being posted by him in person at this address, and even if he was cutting a pasting material he’d used elsewhere, it’s still relevant to the current discussion?

sp – with regards to the change of seats at the UN. well doh! Come on, you think I don’t know that?

Jacky – I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I take China at her word when she makes threats. You regard it as bluff and bluster, but if it came down to it, she wouldn’t act on those threats, because of her developing economy. (I hope I haven’t put that in a way that you feel misrepresents your views.) Well, for myself, I’m going to stick with my opinion, since the PRC themselves have come out with a rebuttal … they say they’re prepared to sacrifice their economic development (and the Olympics etc etc) for the Taiwan cause … again, I take them at their word.

July 29, 2004 @ 7:57 pm | Comment


Your “You regard it as bluff and bluster, but if it came down to it, she wouldn’t act on those threats, because of her developing economy” falls short of one point I have qualified (repeatedly if I may add).

I did mention that China’s preference would be to avert/avoid war. But push comes to shove (and Chen is the driving force here), China may become irrational and do the ‘face saving’ thing – silly yes, but nations had gone to war for even sillier reasons.


your wish to deny credit to the CCP, who manages the country that is currently enjoying the benefits of an improved economic is rather argumentative.

I have provided filthy with a response (see above) that answers your contention as to China’s irrationality.

as to your other point about rabid nationalism, which country is not nationalistic when it involves an issue of secession.

July 29, 2004 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

deny credit?
just because they “manage the country” and happen to have changed their policies to focus on economic development rather than political struggle does not mean that they are necessarily causing the development that we see. please notify me as to how the party is guiding economic development, besides building a lot of freudian tall buildings.
if you read the south china morning post, they had a recent article about officials in guangdong (yes, a single province) skimming off 1 million RMB of funding. so, i think development could be done better in a more open and transparent system.
and yes, i know your response will be “but the system is becoming more and more transparent and open.” i have heard this a lot before. of course i agree. but just how open and transparent are they? “more” is a purely comparative term.

July 30, 2004 @ 2:57 am | Comment

oops, 1 billion, not 1 million. sorry, i was off by 999 million. as for rabid nationalism, i think you are avoiding my point that it is the only ideological piece that the CCP has left, and that it is used to an extreme degree.
is nationalism reallya good reason for a dictatorship to attack one of the few thriving democracies in the region?

July 30, 2004 @ 3:21 am | Comment

“and what country is not nationalistic when i comes to secession?” ok, if i had to call it secession, then the secession occurred long ago. some might say that it occurred in ’49, or perhaps the true secession was chiang ching-kuo’s move to transform taiwan, a move that could set a nice example for some other places…
as zhang lei en pointed out, taiwan and china have been separated for so long. if i wanna go to taiwan, do i apply at the PRC embassy? are taiwan’s interests represented by the PRC at any international institution, or are they just too busy making sure that taiwan can’t join? i am in china, and i wanna go to taipei, is that convenient? no. china is acting like a big baby with regards to taiwan, thinking that it just deserves control of the country. but any mother, before they buy their baby a candy bar at the grocery store, will review whether or not it has been a good baby or a bad baby… and that is the point, china has not been a good baby, it has a major mismanagement mess in its own backyard, and it is unfriendly, even hostile, to taiwan, never really offering that much that could ever appeal to the people there (you been to hong kong recently?) and china just does not deserve this candy bar. give it a spanking.

July 30, 2004 @ 3:30 am | Comment


With regards to all the long-winded stuff you have posted, while the Atlantic Charter did practise the priciple of self-determination, this does not apply to Taiwan. Nationalist China did not claim any more rights of any sort in Korea even though formerly she used to be her vassal before the Sino-Jap War of 1895. Taiwan was too lost by China at that war. For Taiwan, she is Chinese territory, you are applying the Atlantic Charter to China in a laughable way. By asking the people of Taiwan then whether they wanna be under the ROC, you are as good as wanting to ask the people of Guangdong, Zhejiang or Jilin whether they want to be under China. And even the Western leaders did not abide by the Atlantic Charter, for instance Churchill intimitated the ROC govt and held on to Hong Kong also without consulting the people of Hong Kong then by saying “No one is going to get any British territory without a fight.” And USA also held onto the Panama Canal Zone after 1945 even though the Atlantic Charter endorses self-determination.

July 30, 2004 @ 6:26 am | Comment

See thats the problem with you, trying to apply a dubious standard of morals that you yourself cannot abide by, hypocrisy is what it really is.

July 30, 2004 @ 6:29 am | Comment


By changing the Constitution of 1947, Chen would destroy all the remaining traces of the ROC by re-defining the ROC as an entity covering only Penghu, Matsu and Kinmen, and Taiwan. The ROC while retaining its name, has already become the smokescreen of a Republic of Taiwan and Beijing would surely prepare for war.

A referendum would be seen as a dry run for a real, explosive referendum that would eventually put the issue of separation from China to a vote. That would open and pave the way for Taiwan’s break from China, Beijing would resort to force and preempt it if things would to continue in this trend. In a nutshell, the referendum is the stepping stone to formal indeoendence, and subsequently to a war that China, Taiwan and America would be dragged into.

David, it sometimes pays to read some political actions more than what they really seen to be, if not politics are too simplistic for you.

July 30, 2004 @ 6:38 am | Comment


The job of a govt is to develop vision and set high level policies, not to micro manage the economy. In this the PRC has done reasonably well compared to its earlier socialist years – yes, it could be better and I believe it will be. At least it has shaken off the impractical communist ideology (most people are selfish and greedy, so how can one be a good communist?), and policies of centralized planning and control (remember! The selfish and greedy human nature has to be motivated!).

You picked a case of corruption, condemnable as it is, to deny credit in the general sense. Every country has its fair share of scandals. One that springs readily to mind is Enron, and also the disgraceful and most unprofessional ethics of an auditing firm in the US. France has its share, and so has Italy. The UK and Australia are not absolved from such corruption. When regulators fall asleep, especially under the current deregulated climate, one may expect the rats to come out to play.

But despite these cases of corruption, those countries are generally prosperous and doing well, and so will China, provided it maintains economic track. China is a novice in the capitalist and free market, after half a century of reversals, not that it was a shining example pre-1949. Shanghai then was the original sin city, and feudalism was at its most brutal and wicked.

On the matter of secession, the aftermath of 1949 brought about a military stalemate, with the CCP in control of the mainland and the KMT on Taiwan. Needless to say, the CCP was in charge of the larger piece of estate. The Korean War immediately after that made many realize the PRC was a tough and very big nut, and that Taiwan was in reality a political pygmy.

Yet, both China’s had maintained the ‘One China’ policy, so your argument about secession is at fault. Yes, there has been (and still is) a de facto political and physical division, but both sides of the bamboo curtain had accepted that Taiwan has been an indivisible part of China.

In earlier days, under US support and protection, and advantage of ‘incumbency’ as the ‘China’, the ROC occupied the UN Security Council permanent seat allocated to “China”. In fact, its very national title of ROC speaks volumes of the political fact. Therefore and therein, all the expositions on history and the alleged political disconnect between China and Taiwan are just argumentative.

Then, the world decided that the game of political musical chair would be played to right an incongruity, to confer rightful recognition to the PRC and to consign the ROC to a subordinate position. Perhaps the reason was immoral greed driven by the sheer scale of commercial possibilities, but in the end, it was inappropriate to ignore a nation of 1 billion plus people in favour of another whose population numbered just a wee fraction of that.

Over the years, the ROC and indeed the PRC maintained the original political aim of reunification. But lately Chen and the DPP, understandably so, decided that it was time to abandon a purely KMT ideology. That’s when the shrill threats began to emanate from Beijing. The PRC is neither ready nor confident enough to accept secession. She also fears other regions may start to entertain similar designs. Her aim is to stop Chen’s intention, no matter what. She would prefer Taiwan to continue as she is – a de facto separate country but never a de jure independent entity. The PRC doesn’t want invasion or war – that will just bugger her economic growth and development plans. But obviously Chen has other ideas. Perhaps he wants to be remembered in history as the President of an independent Taiwan. He will certainly lobby hard in the US for support. The PRC is unlikely to concede any grounds on this issue – she has drawn a line in the sand by which either her leaders or Chen’s group, or both sides, fall on their war swords.

The US has reaffirmed her ‘One China’ policy but the PRC doesn’t trust her. Can you blame the PRC when the US has right wing think-tanks like the Project for the American 21st Century and the neo-cons with grandoise ideas for world domination?

July 30, 2004 @ 6:48 am | Comment

sp raises an interesting point when he talks about a possible Chinese claim over Korea (even as he dismisses it). In fact, it’s another reason why China’s claims to territory based upon historical claims are problematic at best in a modern context.

According to the pre-modern Chinese world view there was no plurality of nations … there were only 2 kinds of foreigners … civilised states who recognised the superiority of China and had a vassal status (at least in the Chinese mind), and there were uncivilised barbarians … that’s it. It wasn’t even (entirely) arrogant on the part of the Chinese. Geographical factors dictated that China was always going to be the dominant state in asia. So … Japan, Burma, Vietnam, Tibet, to mention a few, were all technically subjects to China. Most of them would even send missions to the Chinese capital with tribute payments … some annually, some only each time a new king came to power … he’d present gifts to the Chinese ruler, and have his rule “sanctioned.” … well, mostly these tribute relations were about getting Chinese trade favours etc., but the Chinese always wrote it in their records to reflect their superior position. They did the same thing when European diplomatic missions starting arriving at the dawn of the modern era.

So … if we were to accept the arguments presented by Beijing today over their possession of Tibet and their claim to Taiwan … then the same logic must apply to ALL the rest of asia.

Mainland Chinese people often seem to get worked up by the fact that almost no one else accepts their logic. They react with either hurt or anger, and then start telling you to butt out of China’s private business etc. The problem is, that it isn’t China’s private business. To sit back and placidly accept China’s claims to Tibet and Taiwan would leave no room for disagreement if China were to start claiming every other state in Asia, including much of the Russian east. I hardly know where to start in describing the implications if China’s logic was accepted in all parts of the world, and other countries started applying it … it would be World War One. Not some war that involved a few countries like did the official WWI and WWII … that would be a real world war, with every country in the world involved killing each other. But of course, Beijing says “our position is indisputable” … so I guess it must be … ok, just let me go buy a gun to get ready.

July 30, 2004 @ 8:58 am | Comment


any historical record to show that China invaded and remained in any countries, other than hold her traditionally recognised territories?

I know, I know, some (especially Richard Gere) dispute China’s claim to Tibet. Ever wonder about the origin and history of the title “Dalai Lama”?

BTW, she was in N Korea in 1950 – in fact she went in with a hugh army.

Western historians have often mentioned that China was not renown as a colonising power

July 30, 2004 @ 10:32 am | Comment

To Jing:

JT Forums??? To be honest I keep out of debates with China, Taiwan. As I leave it to the ppl with very good knowledge of the history. My knowledge of this Topic wouldn’t be able to match alot of the ppl debating about this.

With what I was posting, call it spam if you will.
I was trying to post what I read at this site.

I encourage everybody to have a read of it as I felt this person made some very interesting points.

And I would like to hear everyone’s opinion on what this guy has stated. And to who objects or agree’s with it and why?

sp, jing:

If you have some sites that can make of some good reading for me, please share them with me. As i’m still a learner of this I WON’T subject myself to just what ppl of Taiwan have to say. (I can only read English BTW)

However, Filthy has made some very good points on everything he has said so far.

Again i’m prepared to listen to what either camp has to say.

Bottom line I don’t want to see this end in a war and would rather the status quo was remained for the sake of no war(I know like everyone else). But I don’t think the status quo can remain forever.

July 30, 2004 @ 10:58 am | Comment

JT= Japan Today Forums. I saw the same points posted by someone else named Cameron with the same email address. It was the first and only post. Then I see the same post here, again from a first timer.

July 30, 2004 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

To Jing:
hahahhaha silly me I hadn’t noticed, my hotmail e-mail address is… i just fixed it, thanks for pointing that out Jing, but I will go check these JT forums thanks.

July 30, 2004 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

sp – Oh dear. Perhaps you should start listening to what Chen says rather than just the CCP propaganda about him. He has EXPLICITLY ruled out any change to the territory of the ROC in the updated constitution. Let me quote his inauguration speech:

“I am fully aware that consensus has yet to be reached on issues related to national sovereignty, territory and the subject of unification/independence; therefore, let me explicitly propose that these particular issues be excluded from the present constitutional re-engineering project.”

Again, your justification for him being a ‘troublemaker’ is completely false. As for the referendum being a ‘stepping stone’ to independence – you seem to accept as a fact that the majority of Taiwanese would be willing to risk almost certain war to vote for full independence. Wow! Feelings must be very strong in Taiwan! Would you really want 23 million rabidly pro-independence Taiwanese in the PRC? Or don’t you care what the people think?

July 31, 2004 @ 7:05 am | Comment


Chen can say whatever he wants to, partly also to appease Washington after straining ties with a referendum. His position on the status quo is too vague for anyone to trust him. Sometimes he tells you his 5Nos, but he would suddenly tell you that “there is two separate states on each side”. Then he would tell you that he is a peacemaker, but he would tell you that the “political reality is that the ROC only exists in Taiwan”. As his position rocks like an unstable pendulum, nobody would be able to trust him. Would you be able to trust your friend if he tells you one thing and turn around the next second repudiating all that he had just said? I suggest you dump such friends then.

July 31, 2004 @ 10:33 am | Comment


From Chen’s speech:
“The people across the Taiwan Strait share the same ancestral, cultural, and historical background.”
In saying so, he has already diluted China and Taiwan belonging to one country into belonging to one ethinicity.

“we believe that the leaders on both sides possess enough wisdom and creativity to jointly deal with the question of a future “one China.”

By saying so, Chen disputed the status quo openly. The KMT and CCP both maintained that there is only one China, but by saying a future one China, it is trying to say that this is not a reality, and he is not in any obliged to maintain it since it is a “future” endeavour, instead of a political reality.

“Therefore, as long as the CCP regime has no intention to use military force against Taiwan, I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called “state-to-state” description in the Constitution”

This is like a criminal saying,” i would not commit any felony so long as the judiciary does not use the law as a deterrence against me.”, how ridiculous!

July 31, 2004 @ 10:51 am | Comment

Jacky writes: “any historical record to show that China invaded and remained in any countries, other than hold her traditionally recognised territories?Western historians have often mentioned that China was not renown as a colonising power”

Yes, absolutely. Any historian who writes otherwise is just betraying his ignorance of Chinese history. Pretty much every Chinese dynasty has done its best to expand the borders of China into territory that was previously not Chinese. How else can you explain the fact that the boundaries of Qing China were greater in extent than any previous dynasty? (let’s forget for the moment the question of whether the Manchu were Chinese)

Let’s take the most commonly cited evidence for China’s “non-expansionism”. The Great Wall. The argument maintains that since walls are static, they are defensive in nature, etc. etc. This did become the case later in Chinese history, but it is an absolutely false assumption when you investigate the initial building of those walls. The Great Wall was first begun as a collection of separate walls by various kingdoms in the north during the Warring States period. After Qin unification they were linked up. Traditionally people have liked to imagine that the walls were built in response to “barbarian” attacks. Hordes from the north attack, defensive Chinese build walls. However, if you care to examine the records that exist for wall construction, you’ll find that it is actually the reverse. Barbarian attacks do not precede wall building … they follow it. Why? Because those walls were built smack across the middle of their territory. In order to strengthen themselves against their rivals, the Chinese kingdoms undertook a major land-grab from nomadic peoples north of them. They stuck walls right across lands occupied and used by nomadic peoples for their cattle etc. The Qin continued the tradition by expelling the Xiongnu from the Ordos region, and extending the walls to defend their expansionism. Civil war followed in China, and the Xiongnu were able to return to their lands … the Han Dynasty rose, and what did it do? It kicked the Xiongnu right out again. Get out an historical atlas and compare the borders of China at the start of the Han Dynasty with the borders of China at the end of the Western Han period. That on its own is a pretty good answer to the often-stated but just plain wrong idea that China is a non-expansionist civilisation. History in fact teaches the exact opposite lesson. China will expand as far as she can. Expansionism will only cease when it becomes practically too difficult to take any more.

August 1, 2004 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

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