“China’s ‘anti-secession’ law allows it to invade Taiwan”

The conservative NRO features a piece by a Heritage Foundation analyst warning that China is setting the stage to legitimize an invasion of Taiwan if the island ever seeks to declare its independence.

The Chinese, unfamiliar with a true “rule of law,” are now prepared to respond with their own “law,” one that probably will say, “China shall wage war against an independent Taiwan.” This, notwithstanding that Taiwan is already independent in every way — including by its own insistence — and that Taiwanese have been carrying on their own existence separate from China’s for over a century (if one doesn’t count the three postwar years of what was legally a Chinese “military occupation” of a former Japanese colonial territory). If the U.S. administration is ruled by principle instead of craven expedience, it will respond to this Chinese ploy with the kind of forceful declaration usually reserved for Taiwan’s leaders. So, President Bush should declare explicitly, in terms identical to his jibe at Taiwan’s democratically elected president last December, that China’s proposed anti-secession legislation “indicates that China may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose.” This would be a nice bookend to President Bush’s overreaction to Taiwan President Chen’s rather benign effort last December to legislate a “referendum” of protest against China’s undeniable missile threat to the island.


If Chen Yun Lin can take a healthy dose of reality back to Beijing from his Washington visits, perhaps China’s National People’s Congress can begin to focus on China’s real problems — ones like the vast official corruption at all levels of government and party, rural poverty, the collapse of public healthcare, the financial crisis, unsafe mines, AIDS, and the wholesale pollution of its waters and earth.

Of course, if this analyst of Asian Studies knew anything, he’d know that his last paragraph is absurdly naive and impossible. Why would the CCP shine the spotlight on its own warts and excesses, when it can whip up popular sentiment with emotionally charged rhetoric about Taiwan? It’ll never happen.

Update: One more snippet I wanted to include from the article because it’s just so amusing:

Although the actual text of the draft “law” has yet to be published, it appears to be a watered-down version of a truly fanatical “Unification Law” advocated by at least one Chinese professor, Yu Yuanzhou of Wuhan University, whose proposed legislation requires the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to attack Taiwan as soon as it is able. Yu’s legislation, which has been circulating on the Internet for over two years, calls for the PLA to immediately start bombarding Quemoy and Matsu — and it “would not be limited to conventional weapons.”

Well, that makes a lot of sense — wipe out Taiwan with nuclear weapons so it can be re-unified with the Mainland. How very strange.

The Discussion: 99 Comments

I think you’ve got the title slightly wrong: The law doesn’t ‘allow’ China to invade Taiwan (they’ve always claimed the right to do that) – it forces them to invade Taiwan. Great ammunition for those who want a war … less than wonderful for moderates who might want some dialogue across the strait.

It does convince me of one thing: China has ZERO interest in convincing the people of Taiwan that reunification is in their best interests. Now would have been a wonderful time to start some talks: the new leadership in China is now reasonably well established, elections in Taiwan are over for another few years (having left a government whose only option is moderation), and of course trade between the two is increasing with each month. However, instead of any investigation of talks, you get this law – a virtual “surrender, or we’ll shoot” ultimatum. That’s really going to convince the Taiwanese to love China!

January 10, 2005 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

Seems like a needlessly inflammatory article about a very complex situation.

I suppose the Politburo is aware (though I never hear much about it–of course, I’m an outsider) that the direction of progress in HK has an enormous bearing on Taiwan’s feeling. That is, how real is this “two systems” idea in practice? If it turns out to be “one system-two names”, all the scare-talk may be justified, but truly, I think Beijing is feeling their way along, with HK as the test/learning case.

January 10, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment


why do you think it’s called “anti-secession law” rather than “reunification law”?

January 10, 2005 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

taiwan and mainland, which one in recent years was trying to destroy the status quo and to frustrate the peaceful exchanges of people, trade, information between taiwan and mainland?

January 10, 2005 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

Sam, of course the article is inflammatory — it’s the NRO! What do you expect from the pro-Bush crowd?

January 10, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment


I assume it is called ‘anti-secession’ because the PRC believes it already rules Taiwan. What’s your point?

Seriously, what is the point of this law? You already claim the right to go to war, so the only result of this law is to piss off the Taiwanese.

January 10, 2005 @ 7:43 pm | Comment

I think that Sam, from Shenzhen Ren, is absolutely correct when he says that Beijing is “feeling its way along” on the issue of Taiwan. As I shall argue below, the dangerous hotheads are not only to be found in Beijing, but also in Taipei and, of course, in Washington.

What is interesting about John J. Tkacik’s article above, from the National Review Online, is his argument that the Anti-Sucession Law does not have the goal of “anti-secession” and that it is not even a “law.” Tkacik writes: “It is clear from the official Chinese media that the ‘law’ is supposed to authorise China’s military to invade Taiwan immediately upon some future Taiwanese ‘declaration of independence.’ But both China’s existing National Defense Law and its legislation governing national territory already require that the military defend China’s homeland. This new legislation, as with most exercises in Chinese foreign-policy legislation, is a propaganda tool designed for two audiences.”

Tkacik believes that the Anti-Sucession Law is instead designed to ready the Chinese people “for war with Taiwan”, and that “it will be trotted out and exhibited as a diplomatic lever” whenever Americans point to the US obligation – under Section 2(b)(6) of the Taiwan Relations Act – to “maintain the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardise the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”

As such, argues Tkacik, “this proposed Chinese legislation is highly destabilising.”

Now, while I can agree with Tkacik on all of this, I most certainly cannot agree with the conclusions he draws from this analysis. Listen to what he suggests: “If the US administration is ruled by principle instead of craven expedience,” he asserts, then “it will respond to this Chinese ploy with the kind of forceful declaration usually reserved for Taiwan’s leaders. So, President Bush should declare explicitly, in terms identical to his jibe at Taiwan’s democratically elected president last December, that China’s proposed anti-secession legislation ‘indicates that China may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose.’ This would be a nice bookend to President Bush’s overreaction to Taiwan President Chen’s rather benign effort last December to legislate a “referendum” of protest against China’s undeniable missile threat to the island.”

Talk about interference! Talk about “highly destabilising” behaviour! I detect a certain degree of hypocrisy here.

Let us take a more sober look at the relationship between the United States, China and Taiwan. It’s certainly a very interesting one, and one that is difficult to understand – not least of all, because it is a relationship that is in a constant state of flux. But we shouldn’t allow our emotions and prejudices get in the way of sound judgement.

The Bush administration, from what I have been able to tell, has, to date, pursued quite an erratic course in navigating between these neoconservative voices (like Tkacik’s), and those who seek to adhere to the more traditional framework. The president of the United States, George W. Bush, has for example, supported by the State Department, properly warned Chen not to pursue changes in the status quo – as Tkacik mentions. Tkacik may not like this, but I think this represents one of the few sensible policies adopted by the Bush regime to date.

But unfortunately, the same time, the administration-appointed director of the American Institute in Taiwan – the Washington office responsible for relations with Taiwan – who has enjoyed the patronage of the offices of the vice president and the secretary of defense, publicly characterised Bush as Chen’s “guardian angel” and has thus undercut attempts by others in the administration to rein Chen in.

These mixed signals not only provided the opening that Chen used to claim US support in his re-election campaign, but have led him to calculate that the United States will stand by him as he pushes the envelope in seeking more formal independence from China. Chen brushed off Bush’s urgings not to hold a referendum coincident with Taiwan’s presidential elections, signaling that US warnings were not taken seriously. Unless the Bush administration speaks with one voice in the future, he will continue to do so, I suspect.

So Tkacik is calling on the Bush regime to take a harder line, not against Chen, but against Beijing. Such behaviour will only further destabilise relations, and could, in the longer term, prove dangerous.

Taiwan, bolstered by ill-considered, inconsistent US rhetoric and action and a misreading of Chinese intentions, could move toward formal independent status through constitutional revision. And China, in response, could judge that it needs to threaten or take military action to prevent Taiwan from achieving formal independence.

While not supporting Taiwan independence, the United States could find itself dragged into a position where it considers its strategic interests in Asia imperiled by the threat of Chinese use of force and respond by mobilising to meet the Chinese threat. Tkacik even wants Bush to make such a commitment explicitly, “forcefully”, he says.

Ironically, China, the large power whose goal is to reclaim control over the smaller one, seems prepared to tolerate the status quo arrangement for quite some time, despite what Tkacik thinks, while Taiwan, the small highly vulnerable player – though not under attack or imminent threat of attack – seems ready to destroy the framework that has guaranteed the peace.

Taiwan has made clear to the United States that it doesn’t want to buy sufficient arms necessary for its defense. Just defend us, they say, while we chart our own future. This behaviour only makes sense if Taiwan assumes that the United States will defend it no matter what the circumstances. The US government should make it clear that this assumption is not correct. Tkacik wants Bush to do the opposite, but I think this would be a dangerous, destabilizing policy to pursue.

There are three things which I believe the United States should do instead, under these current circumstances:

(1) Stay the course with the framework that has maintained the peace: the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-China Joint Communiques, and the One China Policy.

(2) Make absolutely clear to Taiwan that actions that threaten the stability of the Strait, including any move towards independence or a permanent separation, are unacceptable and will have consequences for its relationship with the US. In fact, US defense assistance to Taiwan should only be contemplated in the context of the One China Policy, not movement by Taiwan towards independence.

(3) Make clear to Beijing that it would pay a costly price for military action against Taiwan. US steps could include an embargo on trade and investment; a break in relations; and an increase in support for Taiwan’s defense – but not necessarily any direct US military involvement.

The first two of these steps are relatively easy. The third is not. The potential economic and human consequences of a military conflict between the United States and China, the world’s most populous country, are enormous and could surpass the horrors of the 20th century’s wars. Even those who told us that the Iraq invasion and occupation would be a “cakewalk” – incidentally often the same fools who resist constraints on Taiwan’s conduct – probably understand that a US-China conflict would be devastating.

Time could turn out to be an ally, if the hotheads (like Tkacik) among the three sides are not allowed to dictate the pace of events. China and Taiwan are drawing closer together economically. Let us not overlook the fact Taiwanese investors would be unwilling to lose their US$50-100 billion worth of investments on the mainland. China has a very real interest in sustaining these investments too.

China is also transforming socially, with greater freedom and better rule of law enjoyed by hundreds of millions in the developing eastern provinces, and further evolution toward pluralism can be expected – as I have already argued elsewhere on this website! These are developments which people like Tkacik are either ignorant of, or simply do not wish to acknowledge.

Moreover, notions of absolute sovereignty, so dear to both the United States and China, are beginning to erode in much of the world, as Europe’s union demonstrates.

Formulas to bridge the gap between Beijing and Taipei could well be found – ones that satisfy Taiwan’s need for freedom, democracy, and identity and China’s need for unity – if people and leaders on the three sides do not try to force events.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 10, 2005 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

let me use the case of media to elaborate my views.

chinese media, just like many other media in the rest of the world, always like to make people excited rather than informed. why is that? because making people excited can greatly increase readership, and adv money chases higher readerships.

for a young democracy like taiwan, it is almost unavoidable for their “president candidates” to manipulate people’s feeling to attract more supports. chen shuibian, a show guy, did perfect job in stimulating hatred among young taiwanese towards mainland, therefore attracted more supports than the KMT candidates. this is a well-known fact in chinese society including mainland, taiwan, singapore, etc., but to many westerners, this is something they will never learn from their “free” media or from taiwanese side.

so, basically, the democracy in taiwan has a negative influence on the mainland-taiwan relationship.

the west should thank to mainland’s lack of democracy at the moment, if we have a “rule of the majority”, guys, do you know what it means?

the “anti-secession law” is a reflection of the mainland chinese’s desire to fight against taiwan secessionism. and also a reflection of the mainland’s desire for a peaceful solution of taiwan issue.

this law just puts a threat to taiwan’s extremism, by doing so, ensure the status quo to remain for longer time and ensure that a peaceful and gradual re-integration possible.

this law makes peace possible, and only threatens those guys that provocate mainland china and foster blind hatred.

January 10, 2005 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

“I assume it is called ‘anti-secession’ because the PRC believes it already rules Taiwan. What’s your point?”

PRC has never said that she rules taiwan.

PRC says taiwan is part of a chinese nation that is currently separated into two parts.

“secession” means taiwan refuses to admit that she is part of a chinese nation.

“secession” doesn’t mean taiwan is currently separated from mainland because of idological reasons.

January 10, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

you could say to your brother that “you are you, i am myself”

but you just could say to your brother that “your mom and my mom are two different persons ”

what taiwan secessionists are doing is just like the second assertion.

January 10, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment


but you just could NOT say to your brother that “your mom and my mom are two different persons ”

January 10, 2005 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

It’s pretty amusing that “respectable” Western analysts would use random rumors on internet chatrooms in their “analysis” on China issues. If analysts in any other field were to do the same, I wonder how much credibility they’d have.

January 10, 2005 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

“Well, that makes a lot of sense — wipe out Taiwan with nuclear weapons so it can be re-unified with the Mainland. How very strange.”


these wee boys will nuke everything they don’t like after they spend 10 hours in a computer war games.

if you see these wee boys as a representation of chinese, you are just misled by yourself.

read my post about computer usage in china:

January 10, 2005 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

People like the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, neoconservative commentators like the NROs John Tkacik (who wrote the above article), Taiwan’s president Chen, and mainland Chinese nationalist-chauvanists like Wuhan University’s Professor Yu Yuanzhou – all of these people just mentioned above, all in fact have very much in common: they are all fools, extremists, hotheads who could, if they try to force events, destabilise the framework that for so long has enabled the peace.

As I said in my commentary above, formulas to bridge the gap between Beijing and Taipei could well be found – formulas that satisfy Taiwan’s need for freedom, democracy, and identity as well as China’s need for unity – if people and leaders on all three sides do not try to force events.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 10, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

Well, it’s so vindicative. After reading Heritage Foundation’s Tkacik, who says liberals have a monopoly on Naivite?

And Mark, I don’t know for others, but Yu Yuanzhou – or any Communist China’s ‘scholars’, are not extremists. No. Except on cumpulsive consumerism. All they are doing is to fool the regime which they themselves do not believe in, in exchange for something they do believe: cold cash. Don’t ask me to prove it. I can’t, only years of experiences taught me so.

January 10, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Dear Bellevue,

Any mainland Chinese “scholar” who proposes legislation that “requires the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to attack Taiwan as soon as it is able” is definitley an extremist as far as I am concerned. A nationalist-chauvanistic nut, I would say.

And Bellevue, this old Cold War rhetoric that you use about so-called “Communists verses Capitalists” is also very anachronistic! China today is an example of bureaucratic state capitalism – it has nothing whatsoever to do with the ideals or concepts of “communism” – and it never has. Maoism had more in common with Stalinism than it did with any of Marx’s theories.

The exact same thing applies to the former Soviet Union, of course.

And of course, all of mainland China’s academics are consumers. They are living in a consumer society. Most of them suffer commodity fetishes in the exact same way as anybody else in the world. And most of them are hungry for money in order to satisfy their cravings – just as most other people are in this world.

Some of them are national-chauvanists, some are not. Some are extremist nutters, most are not.

It’s the same in every country – especially in the United States. In fact, the number of extremist nutters in the United States far exceeds the number that exist in mainland China – and in the United States such extremists usually offer up for public consumption some bizarre synthesis of Christian methodist evangelical fundamentalism and “lasse faire” capitalist ideology, fused together with a strong nationalistic zeal – all of which they tend to preach from their pulpits – be that in a Church, or in a lecture theatre or on T.V., or from within the White House.

Mark Anthony Jones

January 10, 2005 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

Mark: There is no disagreement. ‘Communist’ as an attribute of China is used in a cliche way.

Professor Yu has some extremist view, and he sounds like a extremist. Only he is not – he isn’t serious. The Internet kids are more serious. Like in final stage of USSR, no one believed any more in what Brezhnev said – not Leonid himself. In China, maybe only those Internet kids still do, but they also question the seriousness of people like Professor Yu.

January 10, 2005 @ 9:56 pm | Comment


So what do you suggest should be the US’s response to this law? You agree with the article that it’s “highly destabilising” – but I note that from the 2nd of your 3-point plan that it’s only Taiwan that should be reprimanded for destabilising the situation.

Aside from that, I’d like to comment on your assertion that time is on our side – I disagree. Firstly, how does the economic integration of the two sides help? There are definitely a lot of Taiwanese businessmen making a lot of money out of China, who won’t want the boat rocked, but there are a hell of a lot more Taiwanese who have lost their jobs to cheaper mainland labour (I’m actually amazed that Taiwan has kept its unemployment at such a low level in the face of this). If anything the economic links are fuelling anti-mainland sentiment in Taiwan.

Secondly, with every passing year, the link between Taiwan and China fades. The generation who can remember the ROC being anything but Taiwan is fading, and even the following generation (brought up believing they would take back the mainland) are no longer the majority. People today in Taiwan are growing up seeing the day-to-day reality that Taiwan and China are currently separate entities.

If China really wants unification by any method except force, it needs to do something pretty quick – because it’s only going to get more difficult. Unfortunately, as I’ve already mentioned, I see this law as an indication that China think force & intimidation are the only way forward …

January 10, 2005 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

p.s. Regarding your comment that Chen Shui Bian is an ‘extremist’: you’re waaay off the ball there – and in for a nasty shock when Chen steps down and you see who replaces him.

I’d say Chen is more moderate than 90% of the DPP (and of course more moderate than 100% of the TSU).

I certainly don’t agree with everything that Chen does as president, but I would say he’s much better than the alternatives (whether they be PFP/KMT/DPP or TSU). Anyone who thinks Chen is THE problem doesn’t understand Taiwanese politics

January 10, 2005 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

Seems to me Chen is an opportunitist. He is neither more moderate nor more radical than others are. For a state in perilous waters like Taiwan, being opportunistic may not be a great sin.

January 10, 2005 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

An above quotation:

“the west should thank to mainland’s lack of democracy at the moment, if we have a “rule of the majority”, guys, do you know what it means?

the “anti-secession law” is a reflection of the mainland chinese’s desire to fight against taiwan secessionism. and also a reflection of the mainland’s desire for a peaceful solution of taiwan issue.

this law just puts a threat to taiwan’s extremism”

First point:

Haha…Funny how we Westerners never understand ANYTHING at all! It really is difficult being so stupid, let me tell you, even after years of experience living in Asia.

A separate point which only relates to your last line, a line which shows once again your ignorence of Taiwan. Polls have shown that well over half of Taiwanese would support independence if war was not at stake. The whole reason behind maintaining the status quo is to avoid war, it is not a fear of independence. Factor war into it and the support for the status quo reaches the mainstream.

Rather than criticize others about their lack of knowledge about your society, you should consider the remarks you make about another. “Taiwan is this way, Taiwan is that way…

I am not Taiwanese, but I at least know several hundred personally…Somehow I doubt you do…

Waiting for your “No you are wrong because you just don’t understand the way things are in the country in which you have lived for a while and in which I do not only because you were not born there and do not have a non-Western background” post or something similar…to which I will not deign to respond.

January 10, 2005 @ 10:40 pm | Comment


You may be right that Chen is not an extremist. But I think your suggestion is naive that China should be nice to solve Taiwan problem. In your life experience, how often have you solved a conflict by being nice?

Taiwan issue is somewhat like the play-chicken game. The anti-secession law is like locking steering wheel and notifying the other side. The approach may look stupid, but may actually work.

January 10, 2005 @ 10:57 pm | Comment


In China’s vocabulary, solution has only one possible option: reunification. Surely it does not believe in being nice crap – Xinjiang (sorry, again) and Tibet were not conquered with a smiley.

You’re right that they want to lock the steering wheel, but it could backfire and crush on to the driver. Let’s see how it unfolds.

January 11, 2005 @ 12:10 am | Comment

Dear David,

Thanks for your thought-provoking response to my comments above.

Firstly, I think perhaps you misunderstand me a little. I do not think that it is “only” Taiwan that should be reprimanded for destabilising the situation. If Beijing attempts to destabilise the situation, then they too should be reprimanded. This is what I was suggesting in my third point: that the United States should “make clear to Beijing that it would pay a costly price for military action against Taiwan. US steps could include an embargo on trade and investment; a break in relations; and an increase in support for Taiwan’s defense – but not necessarily any direct US military involvement.” Washington needs to make this clear. A military response from Beijing is not desirable – not under any circumstances. To probelm to date though, as I have already pointed out, is that the Bush regime has been sending Chen mixed signals.

My argument, essentially, is that nobody should try to force the issue, because to do so would threaten the status quo. Nobody would like to see a war break out that pits the United States against China – two nuclear powers. No sane person, anyway!

I know, and I have acknowledged above, that there are “hotheads” from all three countries, and that these hotheads could prove to be dangerous, should they be in a position to force the issue. That really, is the crux of my argument.

I acknowledge your point that with every passing year, the links between China and Taiwan fades – but not in terms of economic ties. You couldn’t be more wrong there. But in terms of nationalist sentiments, yes, you are definitely correct. More Taiwanese now, more than ever, consider themselves to be “Taiwanese” as opposed to “Chinese”. Opinion polls consistently demonstrate this, true.

I think Sam, from Shenzen Ren, is correct when he says that “the direction of progress in HK has an enormous bearing on Taiwan’s feeling.” Let us just take last July’s demonstration in Hong Kong against the National Security Bill (commonly referred to as Article 23, after the constitutional provision requiring its introduction). It was not merely the largest anti-government demonstration Hong Kong has ever seen. It was the largest pro-democracy protest anywhere in China since 1989. The marchers – over 100,000 of them – made one of the most effective statements of popular will ever in the history of the People’s Republic.

At stake here is whether the world’s next superpower will tolerate a democratic model of development in one of its supposedly showcase cities.

This to me David, already sounds like the noisy clanging of democratic machinery, but of course that was not what China’s leaders had in mind when they selected the aloof and stoic Tung to be Hong Kong’s Chief Executive after the territory’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. They backed him – and renewed that support when he went for a second five-year term in 2002, despite his already dismal approval ratings – because they could count on his loyalty in keeping Hong Kong pacified and obedient. But now, Tung, 66, and his beleaguered administration have become objects of public resentment and ridicule in Hong Kong. Through his inability to tackle the various crises – economic, political, epidemiological and now constitutional – besieging Hong Kong, Tung has inadvertently politicised the city and become a liability to Beijing by making Hong Kong emblematic of a larger Chinese issue: the pace of political reform.

“Because the Chinese leadership backed Tung,” notes Shi Yinhong, a political scientist at People’s University in Beijing, “the standing of the central government itself is on the line.” That sentiment, David, is also echoed by Ma Ngok, a social scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: “Beijing is slowly getting the general idea that things are getting out of control in Hong Kong.” And any sense of crisis in Hong Kong causes problematic ripples not only up north but also across the Taiwan Strait. The mainland has held up Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and “one country, two systems” as a model for reunifying with Taiwan. But the Article 23 bill, says Joseph Jaushieh Wu, an official in Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian’s office, has “further confirmed suspicions among the Taiwan people about the reliability of Beijing’s promises.”

This is very significant David: the Taiwanese are looking at how Beijing manages their Hong Kong SAR, and to date, most do not like what they see. Ironically, they are being driven away from the reunification cause by Beijing, more than anybody else.

If Beijing wants to encourage the Taiwanese, then they need to learn from the mistakes that they have made to date in managing Hong Kong.

Until that time, until Beijing is able to encourage the people of Taiwan that their democratic freedoms will be protected under mainland laws and leadership, until that time, as I said, all parties involved need to remain sober and calm.

I disagree with you David, that time is not on side. I hope and I pray (despite being an atheist) that you are wrong here! David – look at Cyprus, or even the Korean peninsula! The current status quo can certainly continue for a long, long time to come, and Beijing seems willing to tolerate this more than Chen, and, as you have already pointed out, more than many other, more extreme Taiwanese nationalists.

But if extremists on either side were to try to force the issue, well, as I said earlier, this could lead to military conflict, and if the US were to become directly involved, the consequences could be bloodier than anything the world has experienced to date – it could result in a conflict, which, I am sure, would benefit neither side. All parties involved will be the losers.

The Yu Yuanzhous, the Dick Cheneys and the President Chens – all of these voices need to be challenged and to be kept in check, to be kept marginalised – in the interests of not only the Taiwanese people, but also in the interests of the mainland Chinese, the Americans, and indeed, in the interests of the world, of the humanity, of the human race.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

It just strikes me of a historical similarity. On that day UN passed its imfamous resolution equating zionism with racism, Israel ambassador to UN responded: this resolution based on hatred, falsehood and arrogance, is devoid of any moral or legal value.

The so-called anti-secession law is just another instance of infamy. Like other Chinese ‘legislations’, this law is a piece of paper and worths no more than a piece of paper. It does not change the status quo, and does not deserve response from the US or Taiwan.

If 23 million people living in freedom are determined to keep their way of living, no one can subject them to tyranny by this piece of paper.

January 11, 2005 @ 12:32 am | Comment

Dear Bellevue,

You say that Professor Yu is not an extremist because, as you say, he is “not serious.” Well look, I hope you are correct in saying this – but is this merely an assumption on your part, or do you have evidence to support this claim?

I do agree with you though, when you say that “Chen is an opportunist.” I couldn’t agree with you more on that!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Mark: not assumption, but educated guess! Come (go) teach in any of those colleges, and you know why. If I’m wrong, you’ll see an even bigger problem.

January 11, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Steve: “In your life experience, how often have you solved a conflict by being nice?”
All the time! However, I’m willing to admit that my conflicts are both more easy to solve and less explosive than this one 🙂

I’m not so naive as to think China will drop all threats of force – all I’m saying is that China’s policy is all stick, no carrot. That policy is very good at frightening the Taiwanese away from formal independence, but it is also good at alienating them (so making eventual unification less likely). Unless China provides some positive reason for unification you end up with two camps in Taiwan: those who want to keep the status quo, and those who want to push towards full independence (i.e. noone in Taiwan actively looking for reunification).


Thanks for your responses. I agree with a lot that you are saying – but you didn’t answer my question about what the US should do in response to this law? In my mind, the law makes cross-strait talks less likely, and war more likely, and so deserves a reaction (which is also what the original article is saying).

I do agree with you completely about Taiwan-US miscommunication. In my view, Chen Shui Bian’s biggest failure in his first term was in not communicating properly with the US. Not only was the AIT head more pro-Taiwan than the Bush administration, but the main Taiwan ‘ambassador’ to the US was much *less* pro-independence than Chen – with the end result that there was virtually no sensible communication either way. Hopefully this link will improve – supposedly Chen’s inauguration address was vetted by the US, and there was consultation before his double 10 speech (and reportedly the referendum questions were changed after Bush’s rebuke). Of course, the latest US-Taiwan spat is about weapons: but in this case it’s the DPP people who are the ‘good guys’ and the KMT who are obstructing things.

I think you missed my point about economic links: they are increasing massively, but the issue is how that affects Taiwanese opinion. How does the mainland “stealing our jobs” (on a massive scale) make people like China more? Richard has an article about a potential US backlash against China as a result of increased trade – increase that by an order of magnitude and you’ve got the situation in Taiwan (well, ok, overdramatised to make a point!). Economic and political integration are two very different beasts – economic integration is happening (and isn’t under debate), but so what? How are improving Taiwan-China economic ties different to improving Japan-China economic ties?

January 11, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

Dear Bellevue,

I have lived here in China for the last three years, and I have, since coming here, taught English at a number of tertiary educational institutions: the Huaiyin Institute of Technology, in provincial Huai’an, Jiangsu Province, and at the Shanghai Finance College, Yangpu District, Shanghai. I now work here in Shenzhen as the Academic Director for an Australian-American-Chinese venture that manages the world’s most widely recognised university foundations program – the Global Assessment Certificate. I thus have to frequently liaise with Chinese university staff, both management and academic, all over China, and so, not surprisingly, I have a number of good Chinese friends who are professors, etc.

I am happy to report to you that, and I can say this in all honesty, that to date I have yet to meet or to make acquaintances with any Chinese middle school teachers and or university academics who hold views as extreme as Professor Yu’s.

They are, for the most part, just ordinary human beings like you and me – sure, they seek a better life for themselves and for their offspring, with more material comforts, and so yes, they are, more often than not, interested in making money. But I have yet to meet one who advocates the military invasion of Taiwan “as soon as possible”!

You say that Yu is not serious, and I hope you are right. But why would somebody like Yu go to the time and trouble of formulating legislation, and why would he then risk his reputation by proposing this legislation to Beijing as being something worthy of adoption? For the sheer funvof it? Highly unlikely. To sell himself as a staunch patriot, in order to advance his career (which is what you seem to be suggesting)? Once again, highly unlikely. The central government in Beijing also fear this kind of extremism, and not without good reason. They too know that nationalism, should it be allowed to grow and to blossom unchecked, could prove to be dangerous and uncontrollable. They have, despite what you might think, learn’t lessons of value from the so-called “Cultural Revolutionary” experiences of the 60s.

Most Beijing goverment officials want to maintain the present status quo. There are many in the US State Department who are at one with the CCP on this.

Let’s just admit it: Yu is an extremist. He does not represent the views of most Chinese academics, nor does he represent the views of most CCP officials, nor does he represent the views of mainstream China.

Sure, a good number of Chinese youth (predominantly males) blabber on about how much they hate the Japanese, and how they would like to see China militarily invade Taiwan, etc. – but let’s face it, they hardly make up a majority. They’re just a bunch of tossers who have nothing better to do other than to sit in cheap smoky internet cafes all day every day playing mindless violent “shoot-em-up” computer games. They hardly represent a significant force in Chinese politics. Indeed, they are hardly even worth mentioning….

Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Dear David,

It is 6pm China time right now, and I have to meet Sam, from the Shenzhen Ren website, in front of the Starbucks at Jusco’s in 30 minutes from now. This will be the first time that we have met – we plan to find a nearby pub and to have a few drinks whilst sharing our impressions and experiences of China.

For this reason, I will not be able to respond to your very challenging and interesting questions until tomorrow – as I just don’t have sufficient time right now.

I do know exactly how I am going to answer them though, and I promise I will do so first thing tomorrow morning, China time.

Until then, thank you for your patience, and have a great day (or evening), depending on where in the world you are!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 3:00 am | Comment

David: What kind of carrot can you think of? 🙂 Look, this is where the problem rests: there is no value can be added to Taipei in the new business model Beijing can propose. No tax? Taipei is not paying at all. Highly autonomous? Taiwan is. So all Beijing can do is to increase the promised damage if Taipei does not comply. There is virtually no way it can intice Taiwan ‘back’.

Mark: Great to know you are almost an old China hand! If I’m not wrong, the mainstream China is much more capitalism-leaning than a lone Marxist like you 🙂 You’ll have a hard time to find a professor Yu’s like, in late Premier Zhou’s hometown, or in Shanghai (is the main campus still close to the railway? The other campus is close to Fudan I think).

In fact, this ‘ASAP’ clause will cause trouble for CCP ruling elites. I bet they don’t like it either. They want something to deter Taiwanese, not to hasten themselves into action and leave no room for political manuevre. Either Yu is insane, or like I guessed: Yu is too eager to please the Party to get his reward, and went overboard.

If you somehow implied, that because majority Chinese people are peaceloving, Beijing’s threat needs not to be taken seriously, I beg to differ. They don’t deserve a response, definitely not that kind of fuss and panic in Taiwan right now, but they should be taken seriously. China is not majority-ruled. If we only bet the peace on the corruption index of the regime, well, we can, but Pentagon can’t. And Taipei shouldn’t.

January 11, 2005 @ 3:17 am | Comment


Regarding to your point that Chen is not provocative and China being the aggressive party, i really beg to differ. You seem to have overlook alot of milestones in cross straits relations.

From the death of President Chiang Ching Kuo in 1988 to 1992, the ties between Taipei and Beijing was actually on the mend, as the old rivalry between the KMT and the CCP take a drastic turn towards improvement. It reaches a high point in 1992 with the Wang-Koo talks in Singapore with both sides agreeing on the prinicple of “One China according each interpretation”. If the CCP really was so hell bent on the armed invasion of Taiwan, why do they bother to engage in talks and come up with a consensus? Also note that up till this point, even as the return of Hongkong and Macau were imminent, there were still no talk of having a timetable for reunification with Taiwan. From 1992-95, ties were still fine and exchanges continued.

Things started to go downhill with the provocations and ploys of Lee Teng Hui from 1996. He started an agressive diplomatic competition with China and started to smashed the Wang-Koo Consenus by redefining ties as cross straits relations as “special state to state relations”

With the advent of pro-independence Chen Shui Bian in 2000, more aggressive moves to rock the boat were boldly made. He defined the situation between the mainland and Taiwan as “one state on each side” and vow to amend the ROC constitution of 1947 through a controversial referendum law that would pave the way for vote for a formal break from China. He wanted to change all the names of organisations and bodies with the legacy of the ROC and rewrite history textbooks in a rapid process of De-sinicisation and creating a whole new Taiwanese identity. First the amended history curriculum never mentioned the rule of the Qing Dynasty of Taiwan till 1895, never mentioned the Cairo declaration etc.

So who is the provocative party? Beijing’s leaders were actually very reluctant to face the Taiwan issue unless they feel they have no choice. Which leader could get political capital by launching a military invasion of Taiwan tommorrow?

January 11, 2005 @ 6:50 am | Comment


And you claimed that others don’t know Taiwan politics? I think its time to be slightly more humble in this.

The DPP and Chen were the problem as a whole. With a pro-independence stance and whipping up Taiwanese separatism, the DPP is no different from the KMT, PFP etc. Hence thats where the DPP and Chen got their votes: do all they can to provoke Beijing in times of elections and create an external enemy, at the same time stress the Taiwanese identity. From there, they can label and smeared the opposition as “traitors”, “those who do not love Taiwan”. Chen, no matter how moderate he is, is a DPP member and he must play along with the extremist at times where his own position within the DPP is at stake. The DPP is famous for dividing Taiwanese between those who are natives for many generations and those Taiwanese who has mainland parentage, the latter being accused of “not loving Taiwan”. If this kind of political ploy which eventually divide and tear up the Taiwanese society is not extreme, i really do not know what extremism mean to you.

And you should feel relieved that the KMT won the legislative elections. At least for now, there a local political force that would block any more separatist initiaitves by the DPP and TSU. China might not feel the need to take the fateful decision of using military force on Taiwan as yet.

January 11, 2005 @ 7:04 am | Comment


I am in no position to equate Zionism with Racism, but i saw extreme zionism in a physical way: millions of Palestinians evicted from their homeland, excessive forcewhich killed many innocent people. It is certainly not very benign.

If you know the De-Sinicisation process carried out by the DPP and Chen, you would know why China wants to enact this law. The separatists rewrite Taiwanese history in such a distorted manner. Why did they purposefully leave out China’s rule in Taiwan till 1895? Why did they suddenly classified the Chinese revolution of 1911 and Dr Sun Yat Sen as “Ancient History”? Then they want to drop all the official titles and names that were associated with China or the Republic of China. Then Chen declared that the most proper abbreviation for the Republic Of China (ROC) is Taiwan. With this one sentence, he already altered the status quo. The ROC is never the same as Taiwan; Taipei’s govt is still the alternate China, whether you like it or not, but it kept the peace for five decades and China never felt the need to fight Taipei since it still regards itself as part of the Chinese nation under the ROC.

As Chen proceed with all this dangerous, silent creep towards independence, China naturally wants to take an active stand now, in the form of the law.

January 11, 2005 @ 7:19 am | Comment


at is sp btw. And regarding Xinjiang and Tibet, i never agree with the CCP’s method but its no doubt that they are part of China. I always support a full confederation method towards the ethnic minorities in China, not the CCP way.

At least the Tibetans and Uighurs still have the strength of resistance, look at the Ameridians in America, the Australian aboriginals, they were almost extinguished by the bloodyhands of the colonists’ legacy.

January 11, 2005 @ 7:24 am | Comment


great posts! you are very smart and you can see the issue from both sides. thank you!

maybe i could offer other “dimensions” to look at this issue.

1) what is the best (and realistic) solution we (taiwan and mainland) are looking for?

2) is that solution to the interests of the US?

January 11, 2005 @ 7:31 am | Comment


I have disagree with the accuracy of the post ie the article by the NRO as it wrote “if one doesn’t count the three postwar years of what was legally a Chinese “military occupation” of a former Japanese colonial territory”

The Cairo decalration of 1943, endorsed by the Allied leaders stated very clearly that “all territories that Japan has stolen from the Chinese such as Manchuria, Formosa (now Taiwan) and Pescadores shall be restored to the Republic of China (ROC).” which gives China’s legal sovereignty over Taiwan.

The Potsdam Declaration of 1945 endorsed by the victorious Grand Alliance, reinforces it by saying “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out…”

From 1945, China had legally recovered Taiwan. The fact that Chiang KS and the KMT fled to taiwan in 1949 did not change that. Chiang ruled Taiwan as part of China, under the premises of the ROC, not as a separate Taiwanese republic. Chiang ruled Taiwan as President of the ROC, so had Chiang Ching Kuo. Lee Teng Hui and Chen Shui Bian are effectivelt presidents of the ROC, not an independent Taiwan. They sweared their allegiance to the Republic of China in front of the potrait of Dr Sun Yat sen, so Taiwan was never separated in a de jure way from the Chinese nation.

January 11, 2005 @ 7:58 am | Comment

Regardless of one’s views toward Taiwanese independence, there’s no justification for twisting the facts of history. Legality is not the only issue here, practical realities and the democratic rights of the people of Taiwan also cannot be ignored.

However, the following passage is blatantly false from both a legal and moral perspective:
(if one doesn’t count the three postwar years of what was legally a Chinese “military occupation” of a former Japanese colonial territory).

I guess North and South Korea are also illegitimate regimes, products of the Korean “military occupation” of a former Japanese colonial territory.

January 11, 2005 @ 5:16 pm | Comment

Has there been any talk in Taiwan about returning the treasures from the Forbidden City? How do they justify continuing to possess them in Taipei?

January 11, 2005 @ 5:16 pm | Comment

Dear David,

Thanks for your challenging questions. We appear to be broadly in agreement, though I have yet to answer two of your questions: namely, how should the US respond to the Anti-Sucession Law, and secondly, how does the “stealing of Taiwanese jobs” make the Taiwanese open to ideas of reunification?

Let me deal with the second of these first. The jobs issue.

Let me say here that the Taiwanese government and their corporate press distort the debate around jobs. To lay the blame for this on China is quite unfair and rediculous. Opponents of expanding trade ties with China, as you have indicated, argue that it has sped up the exodus of Taiwanese capital and jobs to China, driving up unemployment rates that had already hit historic highs before Taiwan’s entry into the WTO.

True too, to say that many Taiwanese business leaders have been arguing that Taiwan – famous for its manufacturing prowess – can no longer compete with China’s factories, fueled by low-wage labour. Many Americans say the same regarding their economy, and its relationship with China.

Many of Taiwan’s factories that produce consumer goods have already moved to China, where the Taiwanese have invested an estimated $60 billion in China during the past decade. Now, many of the island’s electronics firms are also setting up shop in China or are making plans to relocate there.

The free traders thus argue that the island must do what the United States and other mature economies have done: to become a “green silicon island” by shifting into service and high-tech development.

Globalisation is a double-edged sword for all societies that come under its grip – be it China, Taiwan, the United States, India or Peru. Now that both China and Taiwan are well integrated into the global capitalist order, it is hard to see how anybody can lay the blame for Taiwan’s growing unemployment at the feet of Bejing’s officials. It’s not as if the CCP sit down and formulate policies on how to increase unemployment levels in Taiwan. It just doesn’t happen that way. At any rate, it is not in the interests of Beijing, or of China’s capitalist enterprises, many of which the CCP owns shares in, for Taiwan’s economy to sink. The exact opposite in fact. Beijing sees trade with Taiwan as being not only very important, but also mutually beneficial.

Indeed, many would argue that Taiwan greatly benefits economically from its relationship with the mainland – as it clearly does! Economic relations between Taiwan and China have, over the years, developed very rapidly due to strong business motivations in both societies. According to Taiwan statistics, by the end of 2002 China was the largest recipient of Taiwan’s outward foreign direct investment (FDI), with the accumulated total reaching $25.5 billion, 48.3 percent of Taiwan’s total FDI. However, Perng Fai-Nan, governor of Taiwan’s Central Bank, estimated that by the end of 2002 the real figure for Taiwan’s cumulative investment in China was about $66.8 billion.

Today’s estimates of cumulative Taiwan investment in China range from $55 billion to $100 billion, with the total growing by between $5 and $10 billion per year. The quality of the investment has also changed over time. Taiwan investment was originally intended to supply the China market with consumer goods and to tap inexpensive Chinese labour in order to produce labour-intensive goods for export to developed countries. However, as I mentioned earlier, Taiwanese companies have recently begun transferring production of high-technology products such as semiconductors and liquid crystal displays to China, sometimes evading government limits on investment in China by routing the money through Hong Kong or Singapore.

Cross-strait indirect trade has also increased dramatically as Taiwanese firms integrate factories in China as links in their global production networks. According to official Taiwan estimates, two-way trade across the Taiwan Strait totalled $41 billion in 2002, with Taiwan enjoying a $25 billion trade surplus – making China Taiwan’s third largest trading partner and largest export market.

Taiwan’s government feels ill at ease having such a close economic relationship with its powerful political rival, in part because it fears the flood of Taiwan investment and trade will make it economically dependent on China, thus undermining its de facto political independence. In fact, these fears have been triggered and reinforced by the fact that Beijing explicitly considers cross-Strait economic relations an important source of political leverage against Taiwan. Beijing engages in cross-Strait economic exchanges with two political strategies in mind: yi min bi guan (utilising the public to urge the officials) and yi shang wei zheng (exploiting business to press for politics). Taipei worries that Beijing could exploit its economic leverage through economic sanctions in order to achieve its political goals if there is asymmetric interdependence between Taiwan and China.

Despite Taipei’s fears, however, Beijing has shown itself to be reluctant and generally ineffective in exploiting its economic leverage through economic sanctions, even during the 1995-1996 and 1999-2000 Taiwan Strait tensions. During the 1995-1996 missile crisis, Beijing made significant efforts to reassure Taiwanese businesspeople that their investments in China were safe. Beijing also demonstrated restraint in the aftermath of then Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s “special state-to-state relationship” comment of July 9, 1999. However, after the victory of Chen Shui-bian (a one-time pro-independence opposition leader) in Taiwan’s March 2000 presidential race, Beijing overtly warned some Taiwanese business figures that their interests in China would be negatively affected if they supported Taiwanese independence.

Taiwan is an economic entity heavily dependent on foreign trade, with its export accounting for 47 percent of Taiwan’s GDP. Since the beginning of 2001, Taiwan’s four main trading partners, with the exception of the Chinese mainland, the economic situation in the three others – the United States, Japan and EU, is worse than anticipated.
It is well known that the ever-closer cross-Strait economic relations in recent years have played an active role in stabilising and developing Taiwan’s economy. A number of Taiwanese economists recently made an in-depth analysis of the contribution made by the cross-Strait economic exchanges to Taiwan’s economy, pointing out that such commerce has expanded Taiwan’s exports and export surplus, increased its foreign exchange balance and job opportunities and accelerated Taiwan’s economic growth. Related data show that in the first half of 2001 for example, cross-Strait economic and trade volume hit US$14.4 billion, of which some US$10 billion was Taiwan’s favourable balance of trade, making cross-Strait trade the only bright point in Taiwan’s external trade.

The influence of economic factors inside and outside the Island are, for sure David, important reasons for the emergence of problems in the Taiwanese economy as well, but the root cause lies in the political factor. Over the past year or more since the new leader of the Taiwanese authorities took office, he has thus far refused to accept the “92 Consensus” and pushed through a separatist line of “covert independence” as the core, thus causing high tension in cross-Strait relations and social turbulence on the Island, and making it difficult to create a more favourable ans secure social environment for future economic co-operation.

By adhering to the One-China principle, investors will able to maintain confidence in the future of cross-Strait economic ties – arguably one of the most fundamental prerequisites for protecting the interests of investors – and many would say, in the future of Taiwan’s economy.

Another important trend is the shift towards increasing consciousness of a Taiwanese national identity separate from the mainland. This has already been raised by another contributor to this discussion, the writer who goes by the initials, “sp”. The construction of a national identity is a complicated social process that revolves around efforts to create what Benedict Anderson calls an “imagined community.” This process is not based on efforts to accurately understand the historical record, but rather involves efforts to create the historical myths and political consciousness necessary to bind a people into a distinct nation. Just as the mainlander dominance of the political system at the expense of native Taiwanese led to a fusion between democratisation and pro-independence sentiment, mainlander efforts to impose a Chinese identity through education and national symbols stimulated a backlash. The result is that many activists have made a conscious effort to define “Taiwan identity” in opposition to “Chinese identity,” rather than as a supplemental identity (such as the way local Guangdong or Jiangsu identities co-exist with Chinese identity in the PRC). Some might even argue that deemocratisation and Taiwanisation have ended the KMT’s efforts to suppress Taiwanese culture. Groups have consciously sought to reshape the school curriculum, as “sp” has already alerted us to, mainly to emphasise Taiwanese history, language, and culture at the expense of the study of Chinese history, language, and culture. In fact, in doing so, they also distort their own history in ways that are clearly politically-charged and censored. A recent survey indicated that 58.7 percent of primary school children in Taiwan considered themselves to be Taiwanese, while only 23.7 percent considered themselves to be both Chinese and Taiwanese. It is the perceived fusion between a Taiwanese national identity and support for independence that makes this trend potentially destabilising.

One researcher that I know of, Shelley Rigger, has rightly criticised much of the Taiwanese research on the question of national identity and Taiwanese society for focusing on national identity as a dichotomous choice between a Chinese identity or a Taiwanese identity. As she correctly notes I think, in much of the research these alternative identities are assumed to be closely correlated with the choices between reunification or independence, missing the majority’s preference for political autonomy.

The weight of empirical evidence, I think, supports sp’s claim that “with the advent of pro-independence Chen Shui Bian in 2000, more aggressive moves to rock the boat were boldly made. He defined the situation between the mainland and Taiwan as ‘one state on each side’ and vowed to amend the ROC constitution of 1947 through a controversial referendum law that would pave the way for vote for a formal break from China. He wanted to change all the names of organisations and bodies with the legacy of the ROC and rewrite history textbooks in a rapid process of de-Sinicisation and creating a whole new Taiwanese identity.”

This is clearly very provocative on Chen’s part.

At any rate, my main point in all of this is to point out that Taiwan wanted and actively sought entry in the WTO, just as the mainland did, and so, like the mainland, Taiwan must accept the challenges and uneven effects of its more complete, more thorough integration into the global capitalist order. Increased trade, so-called “free trade,” will always be a double-edged sword. If political leaders and media commentators want to whip up anti-mainland sentiments by laying all the blame for increasing unemployment levels on its economic ties with the mainland, then more fool them, because Taiwan’s economy benefits overall from its increased trade with the mainland – something which I have already pointed out above. Some Taiwanese economists, as I have also already mentioned, even argue that cross-Straits trade with the mainland has increased the overall number of jobs, even though significant job losses have occurred in particular industries.

Many Americans, as I also mentioned earlier, also blame China for taking away their jobs!

To answer your other question – how should the US respond to the Anti-Sucession Law? Well, they should pretty much ignore it. There is really very little that is new in it anyway, so it is hardly anything worth getting upset and all hot under the collar about. I certainly know how the US shouldn’t react: they most certainly should NOT respond in the crude manner suggested by John Tkacik – and for all the reasons that I outlined in my original contribution to this discussion.

China seems happy enough to sit back and tolerate the status quo. This is clearly what the US State Department also wants. And it is should certainly be what all Taiwanese want – assuming them to be sane, that is!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

sp: I think you mischaracterise my responses. I have said that *in this instance* China is the aggressor (i.e. proposing this new law) and Chen is blameless – it’s agressive and provocative, and doesn’t help the situation in the slightest. Of course, we’ve still to see Taiwan’s response (which could be a law requiring independence if China attacks).

Of course I agree that Chen has not improved relations. (A minor point, but I wouldn’t call him “provocative” because his goal is to move as far towards independence without provoking China too much – his goal is not to wind up China, that’s just a side effect!) However, my point is that Chen was able to win twice because his pro-independence policies are popular … so your problem is not Chen, it’s that 50.00001% of the population of Taiwan approved of his policies (despite a track record of poor economic growth, virtually no new legislation passed, very slow progress on removing corruption, the threat of war as a result of his policies, etc.)

You wrote “Things started to go downhill with the provocations and ploys of Lee Teng Hui from 1996.” – which goes to the core of my point: Taiwan was pro-China up until 1996 and increasingly pro-Independence afterwards (A gross simplification, I know); 1996 is also the year that full democracy kicked in in Taiwan (i.e. presedential elections). Coincidence? I think not.

Sorry, it’s one of my pet peeves that people outside Taiwan always fixate on Chen Shui Bian and HIS plan for independence. I’m not asking you to like him, I’m asking you to realise that he’s not the cause of the problem, he’s an effect.

January 11, 2005 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Wow, great discussion while I was out bar-hopping! And sp, I had never seen the legal issues you brought up; thanks.

I don’t think it’s deniable that peaceful China-Taiwan relations are in everybody’s best interest, and one of China’s highest priorities is stability (mixed in, of course, with control, nationalism, and economic growth—it’s hard to tell which value is in ascendance from month to month), though a certain amount of belligerent posturing seems inevitable.

I guess there are three wild cards to consider: first, the idiots in the US who insist on encouraging belligerence in TW.

second, their counterparts in TW who assume their rich, powerful Uncle Sam will always back their goading of China, regardless of the consequences.

Third, and the biggest, most complex issue (but the one I hope for progress MOST in), is how will China resolve the tension between their two desires; to peacefully integrate their “second-system” regions, countries, rebel provinces, whatever, and still maintain control.

I wish I had an answer, but I’m as curious as anyone: How will the CCP achieve an open border, economically and socially, with HK, and yet insulate itself from a more libertarian, independent mindset?

January 11, 2005 @ 7:57 pm | Comment

Sam, you have summed up all of my own sentiments on this issue very accurately and concisely.

Fascinating questions that you pose too Sam! These are the real questions that we should all be considering – questions which bingfeng also raises, as he did earlier in this discussion, when he asked how best the Taiwan issue can be solved.

Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Morning Mark. Quite an impressive essay! My reply will not be quite as verbose 🙂

I agree with you 100% about economic links – and (aside maybe from a few TSU notjobs) you won’t find many Taiwanese politicians or economists arguing against strong cross-strait economic links (although there are people who are a bit nervous on over-dependence, but that’s more an “all your eggs in one basket” argument). Cutting those links would be complete economic suicide.

However, I still don’t see how that translates into political links – or pro-unification feeling amongst the electorate. I certainly don’t blame Beijing for “stealing Taiwanese jobs” – but if I’d just lost my job to a factory worker in the mainland … ? There are a lot of Taiwanese blue-collar (and nowadays increasingly also white-collar) workers who have cause for job-loss resentment to the mainland (while simultaneously enjoying the mainland fueled economy and buying cheap made-in-China goods).

To me, the economic links are at best politically neutral – and at worst actively causing antipathy. Note that I’m not saying that any resentment is being whipped up by politicians, but that it’s a farily natural & predictable reaction at an individual level.

On the issue of US response (or lack of it) to the anti-secession law – I doubt either of us are going to convince the other! Personally, I think it deserves a “This does not help start cross-strait dialogue, and we don’t think this is helpful” response (which is what we’re talking about here). Just on a practical level, if the US does nothing, then how can it react when Taiwan responds by passing a law requiring independence when attacked?

January 11, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

two challenges mainland china faces:
one is to deter the secessionism trend, the other, to win the hearts of taiwanese people.

the first if urgent, considering what is happening in taiwan now. that’s the reason mainland china put forward this “anti-secession law”.

the second, much more complex and challenging and mainland china still can not figure out a way to solve.

it is obvious that economic integration doesn’t necessarily lead to social and political understanding between two sides.

i think unless mainland offer something in POLITICS that is very creative and attractive enough to taiwanese people, breakthrough will not make.

this “something” should not only make taiwanese “happy”, like ensure them the internal affairs not intervened, but also make them “happliy surprised”.

some experts in mainland proposed very critive ideas to solve the second problem, like one i heard before, that expert says why don’t set up a “greater taiwan region” including taiwan island, fujian province and part of guangdong province, and let the mainland part of this “GTR” to test the proposed political systems. i don’t believe this will work in real world, but something like this must be developed to convince taiwanese that a “reunification test” is low-risk enough to just try.

January 11, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment


there is an interesting article by Lin Siyun, discussing the causes that induced the sino-japanese war of 1937. his conclusion, although i don’t totally agree with, is that those extremists, both in china and japan, pushed the chinese and japanese governments to confront with each other.

in order to stop the deterioration of the issue, mainland china has to stop those extrimists pouring oil on the flames. it’s relatively easy on mainland side, but it’s a little bit difficult for mainland china to control those extrimism in taiwan.

last year i read wiston churchill’s “wwii commemoration”, in which he repeatedly said if britain and france detered nazi germany in early stages of its aggression, the following wars could be stopped.

i am very sure that mainland china wants to do what britain and france didn’t do before wwii, deter the dangerous trend in taiwan that will eventually leads to a war. i don’t know if the anti-secession law will work in that way, but the direction and steps are correct, maybe it’s a little bit too late.


btw, david, your wedding pics outdoor are great. did you have a professional guy to do that for you or just a friend to help you?

January 11, 2005 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

again, the purpose of this “anti-secession law” is not to “win taiwan people’s heart”. its pure prupose is to deter the extrimists in taiwan, which mainland china believes very urgent and dangerous.

so, david, i agree with you that the law won’t work in that way, because it is not designed to work in that way.

January 11, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

and i think the US is actually working together with mainland china to develop this “anti-secession law”.

it seems the US loses control over those taiwan extrimists.

January 11, 2005 @ 9:09 pm | Comment

seems we don’t have any comments and insights from taiwanese people here.

January 11, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

Dear David,

Your assertion that “economic links are at best politically neutral” strikes me as a most peculiar thing to say. All human beings are inherently political creatures, whether they are consciously aware of it or not, by virtue of the fact that all human beings are inherently social creatures. The basis of all economic systems, of all societies, must necessarily exist as a set of dominant social relationships – the social relations of production and reproduction – those who own and control the means of production, and those who actually “produce” through the use of their labour power.

Capitalist social relations of production, for example, are fundamentally different from the social relationships of production and reproduction that characterised say, for example, a feudal society.

These relationships will always express themselves in various structures inherently formed to strengthen and to maintain the status quo in these relations – judicial systems like courts and parliaments, as well as law enforcement apparatuses like the police and or military, educational institutions, the media, etc.

When different states deal with one another diplomatically in order to facilitate trade arrangements, etc, they are also, naturally, inherently, political by nature. The social effects of economic systems, policies and outcomes are certainly always going to be political as well, because some people will benefit from such relations at the expense of others – there will always be winners and losers!

Beijing, as I have already pointed out, is in a position where it can, and at times it already has, used its trade ties with Taiwan as a political lever. I have already mentioned this, and Taiwan, as I said before, is very well aware of this.

I have never claimed that these close economic links between the mainland and Taiwan will necessarily translate into a mass upsurge in pro-unification feeling among the Taiwanese populace. I have never said this, though one might expect that to be the case. True, as you say, the loss of jobs in some industries has had the reverse effect.

But what I did say, was that the economic trade links are so important to both the mainland and Taiwanese economies, that it is not in the interests of either societies to upset the current status quo. Surely many (most) Taiwanese investors and entrepreneurs recognise and appreciate this!

The US State Department sees it this way too, I am sure. And that is because the mainland’s economy is now so well integrated into the global capitalist order, that the rest of the world now largely depends on the health of the Chinese economy – Japan especially.

Hence the reason why the US administration has been quick to knock Chen into place. The problem however, as I said in my original commentary above, is that certain neo-conservative forces within the current US administration – people like Dick Cheney for example – have been sabotaging such attempts by sending Taipei contrary messages – the kind of messages that John Tkacik wants Washington to send.

I agree with you that Beijing’s Anti-Sucession Law is provocative and unnecessarily stupid – I said this in my original comments: it’s designed to send a very clear message to both the Taiwanese and the United States – a reminder, if you like, that Beijing is prepared to militarily invade Taiwan should it declare itself independent.

But why has Beijing resorted to this type of folly? It is a response, a reaction if you like, to Chen’s political manoeuvrings around the independence issue. It is a response to provocations from Taipei. This is the main source of all of this instability. I would not say this if I didn’t consider it to be true – but I’m afraid the weight of evidence points to this conclusion.

As I said in my original piece: it is ironic to think that “China, the larger power whose goal is to reclaim control over the smaller one, seems prepared to tolerate the status quo arrangement for quite some time….while Taiwan, the small vulnerable player – though not under attack or imminent threat of attack, seems ready to destroy the framework that has guaranteed the peace.”

So how should Taipei and Washington, and indeed, the rest of the world, respond to this so-called new “law”? Well, the best thing to do for now, as far as I am concerned, is to prevent what is in this teacup from being brewed into a storm!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 11, 2005 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

Mark, you seem to be trying to read a deep philosophical point behind my fairly simple point: economic integration does not (in my mind) lead to (or help) political integration in this case. I thought you had implied this in an earlier posting about ‘time being on our side’ – apologies for misinterpreting you!

Bingfeng – thanks. The photos were done by a professional; we spent a whole day pretending to be models. Great fun 🙂

January 12, 2005 @ 1:42 am | Comment

A final(?) post on this thread from me:

Did you know that Taiwan (sorry the ROC) already has a law which makes it illegal to advocate the ‘division of the national territory’ and/or communism? It was found to be unconstitutional – but it’s still on the books!

Where the ROC leads, the PRC follows 🙂

January 12, 2005 @ 2:00 am | Comment

SP: Interestingly, history books again. The proposed changes by Dr. Du Zhengsheng (Tu Cheng-sheng) leave much to be desired, but does that justify an invasion? I don’t think even KMT zealots would agree with you.

BTW, China’s history textbook is full of distortion and outright lies. For example, Generalisimo Chiang Kai-shek is described as a passive bystander in Anti-Japanese war. Will that warrant KMT to invade China?

KMT lost contact with Chinese people and lost China. Now KMT lost contact with ordinary Taiwanese people and blame Chen, Lee, DPP and everyone for its loss, but never blame itself. And Beijing’s threat of invasion looks likes now a convenient leverage for power-hunger KMT to put Chen’s administration in check. What’s next?

January 12, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

David: Do you mean the criminal code clause 100? You can find similar things in PRC’s ‘constitution’ and criminal law. So technically they don’t even need to follow suit KMT.

Therefore, it’s clear this piece of legislation is highly political-motivated. I think we can stop here; it rather doesn’t worth time and efforts.

January 12, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

Really, Richard … the Heritage Foundation??? :-0

Who next, Freepers?


January 12, 2005 @ 4:05 am | Comment


I think you have not be watching the news and reading the newspapers for the past few years, maybe its time to start now.

You wrote:”However, my point is that Chen was able to win twice because his pro-independence policies are popular … so your problem is not Chen, it’s that 50.00001% of the population of Taiwan approved of his policies”

What! 50.00001% of Taiwanese supported Chen in 2000? Are we living on the same planet Earth dude? In 2000. Chen only won 39.3% of the vote, which makes him a “minority” president. In 2004, he may have won 50.1%, but its a razor thin majority of about 30000votes. Do not forget that 49.98% voted against him, giving this situation, to say that his pro-independence stance is popular is a mere unthinking exaggeration.

You also seem to forget about the DPP’s defeat in the recent parliamentary elections. Chen campaigned for his party by rallying all the pro-independence forces and shouting all the pro-independence slogans. First, his premier talk about attacking Shanghai as a deterrent against Beijing, then he talk about removing the word “China” from all state-linked enterprises and government offices abroad. Finally, he made the comment that Taiwan is the most appropriate abbreviation for the ROC. Yet, despite all this moves to whip up the support for the pro-independence cause, the DPP suffered a severe setback. So do you really wanna reconsider your assessment about the popularity of Taiwanese independence on the island? I think you need to spend more time on reading Taiwan politics.

January 12, 2005 @ 6:30 am | Comment


I seriously do not believe invasion of Taiwan as a desirable option, but may be the last option should the island formally announced its break with the entire Chinese nation. I am certainly not a war monger unlike Mr George W Bush and his hawkish officials. War is no laughing matter and should only be considered when all other options failed.

About Chiang’s role in the Sino-Jap war. He may not be entirely a passive bystander but certainly guilty of diverting his forces to fight the communists instead of the Japanese. In fact when Beijing, Nanking and Shanghai fell, there was little KMT resistance. Thats why Zhang Xueliang, a patriotic warlord who came under the patronage of Chiang’s govt, urge him to unite with the communists and fight the Japanese, the foreign aggressors. However Chiang ordered Zhang to focus his forces on fighting the CCP. When Zhang refused, Chiang flew to the city of Xi’an to reprimand Zhang but ended up being detained by Zhang and was forced into a United Front with the communists to fight the Japanese. So in light of this, i would say that Chiang despite being a patriot himself, make the mistake of not making resistance against Japan as his top priority and gradually lost the support of the Chinese people.

You can verified all that i have say. I give you my word that it is not communist propaganda. You can check this out by referring to information regarding the “Xi’an Incident” in any books regarding China’s history.

January 12, 2005 @ 6:46 am | Comment


You are right in your comments about the KMT. But you seem to forget Lee Teng hui’s hand in KMT’s downfall.

Shouldn’t it not shock you that Lee, being KMT’s leader for 12 years was actually a hardline independence activist who actually hated the KMT to the core? During his leadership at the KMT, he encouraged internal dissension within the party, purge all the members who refused to follow in his creeping separatist agenda, thats why you see the PFP and the New Party now, the two being formed by former KMT members who were thrown out by Lee or left in disgust because of their disdain with Lee. Lee, using his absolute powers as KMT’s chairman (due to the party’s Leninist power structure), even try to make life difficult for popular KMT politicians like Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou. In fact Lee has been a longtime mentor of Chen, despite being a KMT member. Soon after Chen was elected in 2000, he was finally thrown out of KMT and he soon formed the ultra-separatist TSU.

There has always been a saying when Lee was still at the KMT that, “Lee is KMT’s chairman by the day and DPP’s chairman by the night”
Lee never liked the KMT, the ROC nor the Chinese nation. He is a die hard separatist who is more interested in Japan. Before Lee became KMT’s chairman in 1988, the late Madame Chiang-Soong May Ling, had tried to block his ascension, knowing all his credentials but failed.

So you should see the true colours of Lee Tenghui.

You should be relieved at the Pan Blue alliance’s win at the parliamentary elections just as Beijing and Washington were relieved at the fact that the people of Taiwan put a brake on Chen’s launch towards catastrophic independence.

January 12, 2005 @ 7:04 am | Comment

SP: No I don’t need to verify with a book, thanks. The Xi’An incident is CCP’s favority piece of history, so I had been taught in history books, a movie and much more sources. And personally I don’t think Chiang’s priority had anything wrong. The problem was execution.

Of course, my view is not in accord with CCP’s. Sorry.

January 12, 2005 @ 11:26 pm | Comment


Your pre-assumption is so-called unification has its magic value and it warrants Beijing to attack Taiwan. I don’t think anything other than humanitarian concern has such value. Of cource, again it’s a personal choice issue. But I believe there is an answer to who is on the wrong side of history.

For example, in dismantaling KMT’s martial law dictatorship, Lee was on the right side of history. The velvet revolution he led in his tenure ensured a peaceful democratization of Taiwan and should be regarded as a great achievement in history of Chinese nation. Even in China, many people begin to acknowledge Lee’s ability of ing the zeigeist of Taiwan and leaving his own marKs. Majority of Taiwanese, except some bankcrupted New Party politicians, don’t see history your way.

January 13, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

Asia by Blog

Asia by Blog is a twice weekly feature, usually posted on Monday and Thursday, providing links to Asian blogs and their views on the news in this fascinating region. Previous editions can be found here. For tsunami relief information, please see the Ts…

January 13, 2005 @ 1:13 am | Comment

Asia by Blog

Asia by Blog is a twice weekly feature, usually posted on Monday and Thursday, providing links to Asian blogs and their views on the news in this fascinating region. Previous editions can be found here. For tsunami relief information, please see the Ts…

January 13, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment


If Lee is really so concerned about democracy, as the KMT’s chairman then, he should have democratise the party thoroughly. But the KMT was a focal point of his hatred. Instead of promoting internal democracy within the KMT, he used his absolute powers as chairman (taking full advantage of the Leninist power structure) like a despot and further centralise power in his hands, the aim is not to democratise, its is to thoroughly wreck the KMT from within and purge those who might threaten his position.

True democrats and liberals are people like Hu Yaobang and Alexander Dubcek, who sought first to liberalise the party and then the state apparatus. But Lee had no interest in that, once he made use of his chairmanship to wreck the KMT, he would introduce full fledge elections to remove the KMT from the govt. No party in the world would survive in any elections when its own chairman sabotaged and wreck his own party. Furthermore, Lee is no transparent and accounting for his own alleged embezzlement and corruption when he was at the helm of the KMT. You have just insulted people like Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi and Vaclav Havel when you equate him with democratic velvet revolutions. He treated democarcy as a political tool, not an ideal. You have cheapen and stained democracy when you associate it with him.

January 13, 2005 @ 6:57 am | Comment


By the way, Lee is not the one who initiated the process of democracy, the late President Chiang Ching Kuo did. First he allowed the DPP to operate legally as an opposition party in 1985, then allow native Taiwanese to hold influential posts, and finally lifting martial law in 1987. Lee did not do all these!

And regarding the Xi’an Incident, i don’t think i have said any thing inclining towards the CCP, i hated the CCP, many of my relatives died under its rule. But the Xi’an Incident is fact. Or let me put it in a familiar context. Assume that George W Bush is now engaging in a civil war with the Democrats, Al-Qaeda together with other rogue states are invading the US homeland, killing and raping along the way. George decided that his fight with the Dems is more important and use his forces meant to fight Osama and his gang to fight the Dems, despite the Dems’ appeal for a temporary truce and alliance against America’s enemies. Bush refused, continued to fight the Dems and largely ignored the onslaught of Osama and his friends in the US. You mean to say that George make a right decision? Thats what Chiang had done and you say Chiang is right about his priorities? As your relatives are massacred and your sisters and daughters are raped by Japanese, your dear president is more interested in fighting his political rivals instead of the foreign invading bastards who wrecked your family and home? And you have not pointed out how the Xi’an Incident was fabricated by the CCP despite your endless whining about CCP historical biasness. No wonder Chiang has now find a bedfellow like you in the dustbin of history.

January 13, 2005 @ 7:12 am | Comment

I don’t understand why a clear cut legal case can be made so complex. Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China supported by the facts below.

Sovereignty of Taiwan belonged to China before 1895. The sovereignty of Taiwan was ceded to Japan by China under the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) after China’s loss in Sino-Japan war.

The return of Taiwan’s sovereignty to China (ROC) was decleared before the defeat of Japan in WWII, in Cairo Declaration (1943) “all the territories Japan has seized from China, such as Manchuria, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, shall be restored to China,”

It was reiterated in Potsdam Proclamation (1945), “the terms of the Cario Declaration shall be carried out.” which was the condition for Japan’s surrender. ( Japan’s Instrument of Surrender 1945)

PRC replaced ROC as the rightful government of China in 1971 (UN resolution1668, 2025, 2159, 2389, 2500, 2642 and 2758).

Therefore, Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China, which is rightfully represented by PRC today. Peaceful secession of Taiwan from China can only be achieved by the consensus of 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Now for PRC to enact an anti-secession law is natural as a pre-emptive measure in view of some in Taiwan moving towards independence. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

January 13, 2005 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

according to taiwan secessionists, taiwanese people don’t speak mandarin, they speak “taiwanese language”.

do you expect them to admit those basic facts? no way.

if cursing the God helps their secession daydream, they will just do it. if lying helps, they will just lie.

January 13, 2005 @ 8:45 pm | Comment


It’s quite obvious to most Chinese, bellevue’s only interest is demonizing China nothing else.


Your website about Abu Grab, “multiple investigations” were all conducted by the US Army, just like Enron opens multiple investigation on its finance department under Kenneth Lay’s direction. In my post, I asked for independent investigation, I believe there has NONE or ever will be? If you disagree show me another weblink.

What’s interesting is this “multiple investigations” report is from, (who would have guessed) VOA. The article somehow avoids the critial issue of who is conducting the “multiple investigations”—it only said one investigation is lead by the US Army. So are other investigations are lead by non-Army identity? NO. I call this report a true piece of ART of propaganda, miles ahead of CCP. Indeed, US propaganda is more effective in eradicating independent thinking than CCP.

Again, Richard, I wish you can provide me a weblink that shows an independent investigation of Abu Grab is underway, if you believe there is one.

Anyone can read the “multiple investigation” piece for yourself.


January 13, 2005 @ 8:55 pm | Comment


Too bad for taiwan separatists, because facts are their enemy. It’s the truth that they can’t hide from.

January 13, 2005 @ 9:02 pm | Comment


You surely helped me understand why KMT lost two elections and now resort to CCP to power at any cost.

If my memory serves me, Chiang Ching-kuo’s secret service aranged the assassination of dissenting author Henry Liu (Jiang Nan) in Daly City, California, and Ronald Reagan kicked out all Taipai’s spies out of US. This fact contradicts your claim that Chiang is a great reformer. His reluctant reform was hard pressed by the consensus of Reagan Administration and democrats the long time Dang Wai backers like Edward Kennedy. And Clause 100 of criminal code was not abolished until Lee became president.

The days the KMT dictatorship could massacre Taiwanese people, and penaltize schoolkids for speaking Taiwanese are gone for good. Face it.

January 13, 2005 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Spoken Taiwanese language is not comprehensible to Mandarin speakers. This is a basic fact. I speak and understand 4 dialects (including Mandarin), but still can’t understand Taiwanese. Those die-hard believer of ‘One-China’ don’t speak a word of Taiwanese, do they?

January 13, 2005 @ 11:09 pm | Comment


Sovereignty of Mongolia belonged to China before 1911.

Mongolia is an independent country now. Your auti-secession garbage doen’t work.

January 13, 2005 @ 11:12 pm | Comment


Regardless what happens in Mongolia. It does not change the fact that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China, clear and simple.

In strict legal terms, China is well with in its right to launch an invasion tomorrow to remove the current regime in Taiwan. It’s the goodwill of PRC to try its best to work out a peaceful solution.

January 13, 2005 @ 11:28 pm | Comment


Your analogy equating Dems and Chinese Communists is out of logic. Dems are legitimate part of the political process as true as GOP is, but Communists are not. Remember, in 30s Mao and his fellow rebels were fighting for the destruction of the ROC. As command-in-chief, Chiang had to set his priorities in accord to the urgency of the threats. In later years, even Zhang Xueliang agreed that Xi-An incident is the greatest mistake he made. Anyways, Chinese people paid a unimaginable price for his mistake.

January 13, 2005 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

there is not such a thing as “spoken taiwanese language”, it’s Fujian dialect – Min Nan hua

if that becomes something for taiwan secessionists to support their notorious “taiwan nationality theory”, i can create 100 different “nationalities” in shanghai in 10 minutes

but anyway, if you call that a “taiwanese language”, fine, and don’t forget to create your “taiwanese writing systems”.

these guys are just insane

January 13, 2005 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

change your blood and chinese faces, too!

January 13, 2005 @ 11:48 pm | Comment


Then why good-willed China has waited over 50 years?

Sounds like all China’s good will has been wished upon Taiwan, not on its own people:


My suggestion to you: bring your own Zanzhuzheng with you to ensure your own safety. Don’t be next Sun Zhigang. Let Taiwan takes care of itself.

January 13, 2005 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

Finnaly, racist arguement. This should be an eye-opener here, for I think most Westerners are not aware that Beijing tacitly insists that if you speak Chinese and are an ethnic Chinese, you pay a penalty of being ruled as a subject and kowtowing to Beijing. This emerging racism should be taken seriously by the world.

The Nazi annex of Austria was based on the same logic. Today, no one insists that all German speaking people should be part of Deutschland.

In my view, even if a Taiwanese speaks Mandarin only, he still can choose an idendity that has nothing to do with PRC. Collectively, Taiwanese have full rights to a separate political entity of their own, regardless of their ethnic origin. Just as the recent Economist predicts, Taiwan will NEVER ever be a part of China.

January 14, 2005 @ 12:55 am | Comment


Believe or not, it IS the goodwill for China not having used military means for 50 years. Yet the day of finally resolution may approach faster if Taiwan moves radically towards independence. As China grows each day, the peaceful resolution moves closer by day as well, given Taiwan learns to face the reality and acts rationally. No western propaganda can change that neither your hatred. So be realistic.

January 14, 2005 @ 1:06 am | Comment


You have yet produced any facts to dispute the fact that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China. So no matter how much you can cite Economist or Ruters, the fact stays the same that Taiwan is ALREADY part of China. It’s solely due to restaint of PRC that this legal claim is not being enforced at this moment.

January 14, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

1/5/2005 11:49 PM
“…. Chink” – bellevue

“I’m sure your shitty Mandarin is no better than your broken English, inland redneck! Hell to you, and your corrupt country!” – bellevue

“I’m holding a PRC passport. Not being able to be as clueless as you doesn’t mean I’m not.” – bellevue

January 14, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment


I-G-N-O-R-E that liar and troll!

January 14, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment


Any of your future recycle of government propaganda and outright lie about China will be met with examination and exposition as before. You can rest assured.

January 14, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment

some insane taiwan secessionists have tried to prove that taiwanese people don’t have chinese blood.

they will call any taiwanese who suggests taiwanese are culturally and historically connected with mainland china a “traitor”. there is a bigger and bigger gap between those from mainland and those from taiwan.

it is not impossible that if taiwan secession extrimists are pushed into the corner, they will vent their blind hatred to those taiwanese from mainland.

today’s taiwan is just a vivid example of Tocquville’s “tyranny of the majority”, actually they are not the majority yet, but they are establishing tyaranny there in taiwan

January 14, 2005 @ 2:04 am | Comment

BL, sorry to say this but you’re an ignorant windbag. The Justice Department is also holding investigations and the House and Senate committees have also been holding investigative hearings. You also have no idea how army investigations work — they are not usually coverups; they tend to be extremely hard on the defendants, and they are covered by the media so it’s hard for them to commit fraud.

Oh, and any more of your personal attacks against other commenters or me and you’re out. It has nothing to do with whether I disagree with you or not — I disagree with bingfeng and steve but have no problem with their comments. It’s your lack of respect and belligerence that are offensive.

January 14, 2005 @ 6:40 am | Comment


I never said that Chiang Ching Kuo was a great reformer BUT he did make genuine steps towards democratisation and a peaceful overture to the mainland by allowing unprecedented exchanges between kins separated by the civil war. He was the one who started dismantling the martial law regime, his signature is there not Lee’s, you have created your own historical facts time and again, how can people be convinced with intellectual snobbery like this?

As for Reagan’s role in pressurising him, i remain doubtful. Reagan is one of the most pro-Taiwan, pro-KMT presidents and has alot of friends in the KMT. Moreover, Beijing was incensed by him at the beginning of his first term inn 1980 when he wanted to increase arms sales to Taiwan and even want to reconsider the whole Nixon detente with Beijing. Surely, if you are so concern about human rights, you would not increase selling arms to the KMT dictatorship to slaugther dissidents and muzzle opposition right? And given the strong core pro-KMT lobby within the conservative wing of the GOP then, Reagan could hardly (or rather, not willing to, given his personal ties with KMT’s core elders) do anything to Chiang to pressurise him. You really have to pick up college lecture notes again to brush up modern history instead of dreaming in bellevue’s own version of history.

The KMT did instill an iron grip on Taiwan, but i could hardly hear the democratic West and the US publishing human rights reports on the KMT regime annually from 1949-1988(coincidentally throughout the Cold War), its time to drop that democracy pretense of yours! Democracy is a convenient tool that you make use when you need it to demonize your adversary and keep it under the wraps when that dictatorship is still your “friends”.

My analogy is not without logic. How do you define “part of the legitimate the political process”? The CCP was indeed part of that process until 1928 when Chiang purged them in a bloody event known as the Shanghai Massacre (thats when Dr Sun’s wife Madame Soong Ching Ling, who was so disgusted with Chiang’s style that she renounced her membership from the KMT and claim that Chiang had betrayed Dr Sun’s ideals). Before that, he made use of the CCP to defeat the northern warlords. Chiang HAD DRIVEN them forcibly out of that process with a bloody fist. Thereafter, the CCP had no route except a war with Chiang since he is out to destroy them all in his Extermination campaigns in the 1930s.

And it can be verified that on several occasions, the CCP, represented by Zhou Enlai, appealed to Chiang for a temporary truce and alliance aginst the invading Japanese, but Chiang refused and continued the war with the CCP instead of the Japs. Contrary to what you claim, i do not think Zhang regretted his decision, especially when he was hailed as a hero by all on both sides of the straits and the fact that his father was murdered by the Japanese before the Xi’an Incident. Please provide the interview where he expressed his regrets. It is not safe to believe after one made so many factual discrepancies in their comments. (Remember Hanoi regime= Viet Cong fiasco?)

You have singlehandedly coronated Lee as Mr Democracy, but you have still not reply to charges of his dictatorial and autocratic ways in the KMT when he was the chairman. I do not think one can be a democrat in general while he is an autocrat within his own party. Yet you have glorified him in a way that reminded me of the infamous works of socialist realism during Stalin’s reign of terror.

January 14, 2005 @ 11:13 am | Comment


As for your claim that Taiwanese has their own language which mainland Chinese does not understand, you are really ignorant of China. As a Cantonese, i do not understand Hokkien or Teochew, and many Hokkiens and Teochews do not understand Cantonese, But that does not make as different in that we are all Chinese. Taiwanese or Minnanhua, like Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka, are ALL CHINESE dialects, they may not be spoken in the same way but they shared the SAME, UNIFIED WRRITTEN FORM in Chinese characters. Taiwanese has no separate and different form, when written in form, it is no different from Mandarin or Cantonese. They are all in characters.

January 14, 2005 @ 11:20 am | Comment

sp: As I said before, Austrians speak highland German, but that does not offer Berlin a convenient justification of invasion.

On side trip, just like a Swedish (?) sinologist once said, Chinese language is a collection of languages that can’t understand each other. That’s true; I can understand and speak standard Cantonese, but I had a hard time figuring out Toisanese (taishanhua or siyihua – a sub-dialect of Cantonese).

January 14, 2005 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

China Times (Zhongguo Shibao) quoted Zhang’s regret words. It’s copied here:

In fact Zhang expressed his regret more than once. He even mentioned that in an interview with Beijing-funded Phoenix TV. It just took some time for him and others to know the real face of Mao and his comrades.

BTW, there is no basic fact error in usage of Vietcong.

January 14, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

the point here is that some taiwan secessionists don’t admit that is a chinese dialect, they said that is a different language called “taiwanese language”.

china has never said anything like singapore is part of a chinese nation, even though the majority are ethnic chinese

January 14, 2005 @ 8:50 pm | Comment


Again, you dodged serious questions when you can’t cover up facts with a favoring light on Chiang or Mao.

Did Chiang Ching-kuo, and/or his spy chief, order the assasination of Henry Liu (Liu Yiliang, penname Jiang Nan) on US soil?

Simple question. A pro-KMT president like Reagan seemed got his answer. His reply: kicking out all KMT spies they can name from the US.

My college history book didn’t say that. It didn’t even mention Holocaust.

January 14, 2005 @ 9:13 pm | Comment


I find your Austria-Germany example to compare with China-Taiwan relations rather hilarious and bizzare. Taiwan has been part of China and has never been a separate centre of power itself. Taiwan originally has only aboriginals and was inhabited by Chinese settlers from Fujian a thousand years ago ie ancestors of most native Taiwanese people now. However, on the other hand, Austria has never been part of Germany at all until Hitler’s illegal annexation. In fact, Austria existed thousands of years as an imperial empire under the Habsburgs before Germany came into existence in 1871 under Kaiser Wihelm I. Taiwan had long been part of China until Japan stole it in 1895. So where is your basis of comparison? Thats why i always tell you to be more educated in history, or rather basic college history.

Regarding the Xi’an Incident, i have read your link. Whether Zhang expressed regret is indeed clouded with ambiguity. But if you bothered to read other related articles from the same site:


You would realised that Zhang was quoted saying without hesitation, “I still disagree with the late President’s (Chiang KS) policy of ‘stabilising internally over fighting externally’ ie exterminating the CCP first, fight Jap later policy.”
And the website from which you cited from has no credentials to refer, we do not know who is the editor and his credentials, he never revealed his source, and China Times is definitely not a neutral source. Obviously, the website is little better than Blair’s dossier on Iraq and Bush’s State of the Union speech before he invaded Iraq. It lacks TRANSPARENCY.

Please respect other’s reputation, i will never cover up for dictators. I am not surprised if Chiang Ching Kuo had ordered a killer squad, the KMT under the Chiangs had a record of using asassins. But you also never know whether it is Chiang who personally ordered it or other KMT hardline elders who ordered it. After all, those KMT elders, whose spiritual leader is Madame Chiang-Soong May Ling. After all, Chiang Ching Kuo’s reformist agenda and his appointment of Lee Tenghui as Vice President (a native Taiwanese) did not sit well with the KMT hardliners.
The very fact is Chiang may not be a democrat, but he did make the crucial first steps towards liberalisation, he once famously in defiant of KMT tradition said,”I am both Chinese and Taiwanese.” Many opinion polls taken in Taiwan had asked Taiwanese who is the president that they respected the most; It was not Lee, not Chen nor the elder Chiang, but Chiang Ching Kuo. You can verified that too.

I really doubt if Reagan did all the expulsion with democracy in mind. He is mostly likely forced to control the political damage and outfall. After all, his personal friends included more corrupt and murderous people like Chun Doo Hyun, Macros, Pinochet, Generals Zia and Mobutu, whats more many in the KMT were his closest friends in Taiwan. Reagan was the shame of democracy with by selling out democrats and activists with his infamous “Reagan Doctrine” of propping up undemocratic anti-Soviet regimes. i will never forgive him on that.

You said, “Again, you dodged serious questions when you can’t cover up facts with a favoring light on Chiang or Mao.”

When did i ever cover up for Mao? Maybe Xian Incident is what you are referring to. But you seem to have exaggerate the Xian Incident on the outcome of the Chinese Civil War. Chiang let the people of China down in the first place, he misruled China and neglected millions of peasants, remnants of oppressive feudalism survied in the countryside under his rule, he never carried out serious reforms. Thats where he let Mao and Chinese communism’s hideous face emerged victorious. Then he lost his credentials as a nationalist when he put the japs aside and fight the CCP first despite the CCP’s appeal for an anti Tokyo alliance. The result was that he lost the people’s support, the Chinese had suffered Jap aggresion since 1895, they just want to resist Japan, other things take the backseat. Chiang did not understand this and fail again. If he had instead fought the Japs and the CCP sneaked on him, he would have won psychologically as China’s leading nationalist leader but he lost that chance. Then he made alot of military mistakes which Stillwell, US general attached to the KMT, could tesified.
In short, Chiang must shoulder a large part of the blame that the Chinese people had to come under the PRC regime because of his imcompetence to rally support for Dr Sun’s vision of a true republican democracy. Mao’s ascension has lot to do with Chiang’s failures.

And it seems that you are the one who dodged serious questions about Lee Tenghui’s autocratic treachery as KMT’s chairman. You can run but you can’t hide!

January 16, 2005 @ 10:38 am | Comment


“My college history book didn’t say that. It didn’t even mention Holocaust.”

Thats precisely why you need to do alot of homework in history.

“BTW, there is no basic fact error in usage of Vietcong.”

Please quote me any reputable history publications that uses VietCong interchangably with the communist government in Hanoi. In fact, the term “VietCong” was coined by South Vietnam’s authoritarian president Ngo Dinh Diem to describe southern rebels who aimed to topple his Saigon regime with the support of Hanoi.

January 16, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

sp: simple again.

1. Has Lee Teng-hui, according to you a dictator, ever embarked in the same hitman work or similar henious act, as his predecessor Chiang, a great ‘democrat’ did?

2 Can you deny
Viet = Vietnam
Cong = communist
and only naive Americans would believe that the insurgents in Republic south was only BACKed by Hanoi, not communists themselves. This was a well worn trick which had been used in civil war China.

January 17, 2005 @ 2:49 am | Comment


I have never say Chiang was a democrat, but he was the brave one to take the first step towards reform and possible reconciliation despite opposition from the KMT hardline elders and the subtle disapproval from Madame Chiang. I challenge you to walk down Chung Hsiao East Road in Taipei to ask pedestrians who is Taiwan’s most respectful president, Chiang Ching kuo definitely rank much higher than Lee Tenghui.

In fact after Chiang’s death in 1988, with Lee at the helms of the KMT, “blackgold” politics reached its pinnacle. If you want to compare Chiang and Lee, i would use Lee’s corruption, autocracy and insiduous wrecking of the KMT to compare with Chiang’s autocratic past. Lee should not be given credit for democratisation because like Yeltsin, it was just a tool for his own political objectives. It is disgusting that you equate him as some sort of democracy founding father in Taiwan. You blind worship of Lee has become a horrific religion.

I said it several times. Diem first coined “Viet Cong” to refer to the National Liberation Front, an umbrella coalition of anti-Diem political parties and individuals, including communists in the South whose aim is to overthrow the South Vietnamese regime. When Diem refused to carry out the terms of the Geneva Accords to hold elections for a unified Vietnam, Ho, the President of the Hanoi communist regime, decided to give support to the Viet Cong or NLF to topple the US-backed regime in Saigon. So the essentially Viet Cong is Viet Cong, North Vietnam is North Vietnam, but you stubbronly lumped them like Siamese twins despite millions of history books staring at you on the bookshelves. It seems to me that you share the same attributes of those neo-cons in Bush’s Admin who can’t even locate where is America on the globe.

And while i have admitted the involvement or possible involvement of Chiang in those acts, you have kept a long dead silence on the deeds of Lee Tenghui, which you please break that official silence of yours to defend your “Mr Democracy”?

It is also interesting that you seem to have given up on the Xi’an Incident already and Chiang KS’s resposibilties for the advent of the CCP.

January 17, 2005 @ 8:51 am | Comment


It is also entertaining to know that you probably did not know Austria existed for some many years before even Germany came into being only in 1871.

its still the basics: master college history and be enlightened!

January 17, 2005 @ 8:55 am | Comment


I stick to my view on Xi’an incident. That’s my personal opinion, not yours or a fact that we can check, and I have said all I want to say. I don’t see further discussion will lead us to somewhere. That’s why I wrapped up on that issue.

I have never been to Taiwan, and will certainly enjoy a stroll down chung hsiao tung lu or to my much dreamed bookstore chengpin. I believe you could be right, that Chiang jr. enjoys a high popularity among Taiwanese. But let me tell you, Mao enjoys a high popularity among Chinese to this date.

And thank you, I do know Austria as a state before Nazi and a few of its Kaisers. Let me remind you (you surely know it, pundit) Hungary’s sovereinghty once belonged to Austria or, the Austria-Hungaria Empire. Isn’t Hungary an indenpendent state now?

As for Lee, is his capital crime the alleged con job undermining KMT’s ruling status? Think out of the box, sp. I don’t doubt your loyalty to KMT and Chiang’s family, but as a president of Taiwan, Lee has higher responsibility to the people, the true master he was supposed to serve. What’s wrong when Lee chose the people and the right side of history, rather than KMT the oppressor? I just demand an answer.

January 18, 2005 @ 4:15 am | Comment

various comments on the “anti-secession law”

various comments on the “anti-secession law”

March 16, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

various comments on the “anti-secession law”

various comments on the “anti-secession law”

March 16, 2005 @ 9:55 am | Comment

yeah sure

April 3, 2005 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

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