“China’s Snag”

By guest writer William R. Stimson. (Richard is still on the road with limited access, back on Sunday.)
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Many years ago I found myself in a biochemistry graduate course at Columbia University in which almost all the other seats were filled with Chinese. The professor graded on a curve. I had to work a lot harder for an A in that course than I ever had in any other. That’s when I first discovered Chinese are smart. I wondered what happened to smart China? How come it got left so far behind in the dust?

I’ve lived in Taiwan for over two years now and I think I’ve found the answer — not from Taiwan, but from China, which looms menacingly over this free little country in such a way that anyone who lives here can’t help but take note of the bizarre pronouncements that issue from it. These speak volumes about why China is so backward and has stayed that way so long — and don’t bode too well for its future either.

Today, for example, a Chinese official rejected reconciliation with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, saying it must first stop opposing Beijing’s policies. The official’s actual words were, “The premise for communication is not opposing the central government’s policies…”

In other words, “We’ll let you talk with us if first you start saying what we want.” How familiar such nonsense is to anyone living over here in Taiwan. The Chinese put it this way to us, “We’ll negotiate with you over your sovereignty if first you accept our position that you are not a sovereign state.”

Such wording says everything about China’s backwardness because it’s a veritable picture of the contract those governing the country have with their own people. It’s certainly not a deal anybody else in the world — Hong Kong or Taiwan included — would be motivated to buy into, if they had a choice in the matter.

The way the leaders of China operate, though, is by not giving anybody a choice. This is the subtle logic to statements such as, “We’ll negotiate only after you accept our position.” They mean, bluntly, “You do as we say.” These are the terms of tyranny.

China has a problem with this. Other countries around the world have moved forward and left primitive dictatorship behind. China can’t seem to shake it off. Taiwan got a nasty taste of the Chinese affliction when the Nationalists came fleeing the Communists and imposed their brute tyranny here. They massacred Taiwan’s intellectuals, confiscated land, and essentially grabbed everything in sight. “They’re crooks,” said the U.S. President when many millions of U.S. dollars given them to fight the Communists were discovered invested secretly in family business deals.

The miracle is that out of that mess Taiwan became the democracy that it now is and the economic success story. Everybody in the mix contributed somehow or other. There may be wildly differing opinions on almost everything, but anybody here can say anything they want. Taiwan is a happening place.

In contrast, China still operates under the old system. Its leaders are as corrupt, unscrupulous and thieving as so many of their predecessors stretching back thousands of years. For generation upon generation, a great, a superior, an unparalleled civilization has been trying to happen, only it’s been parasitized by the smartest of its smart, who know only too well how to grab everything for themselves.

Small wonder China has such a crazy mania for censoring information. That’s the way a tyranny works, pure and simple. It keeps everybody a little off balance, so they’re less likely to make trouble, or notice their rulers are robbing the country blind. Also, it provides a convenient excuse to get rid of whistleblowers. You can go to jail for exposing corruption.

Whatever money, mansions or fine cars China’s rulers may be grabbing for themselves or their families is the least of their crime and of scant importance compared to the far greater evil they’re guilty of. For too many thousands of years now, corrupt officials like them have taken away the Chinese people’s future, the nation’s pride, the culture’s bounty and — worse by far — the ordinary Chinese peasant or worker’s right to speak the truth and to reach out with the whole of their life and talent and engage the world in a way that is real and true. That is the ultimate disgrace that can be done by someone with a smart mind who has scratched their way to the top — to deprive someone on the bottom who has so little to begin with and so much to offer. In doing this, China’s rulers, like their predecessors, have not just robbed China, but they’ve robbed the world of China. How sorely the world needs China’s vast intelligence, resourcefulness and imagination – the genius of its ordinary people. When you look at all that little tiny Taiwan has done, you get a hint of what vast China is capable of.

Back in my graduate student days at Columbia University, I was so impressed with the smarts of the Chinese. But living now in Taiwan, just across the water from China, and listening to the jargon that comes out of that country, it strikes me — What’s the use being smarter than everybody if you don’t have the sense to use it towards a higher purpose? I’d rather be ordinary any day but live in a way that serves to set in place a system that has the foresight and breadth of vision to care less about low bullying stratagems than about a government by the people, for the people, and of the people — and about mechanisms of accountability that can at least periodically sweep the crooks out of office, and out of business. The amazing power of freedom, decency and democracy, as the case of Taiwan amply demonstrates, is that it releases the potential of ordinary people to accomplish the remarkable and extraordinary.

China seems so arrogant and proud at how fast it’s acquired all the things of the modern world, little suspecting it’s got the glitter but not the gold. Without freedom, it’s still stuck way back there in the dust.

* * *

William R. Stimson is a former New Yorker who now lives in Taiwan.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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The Discussion: 174 Comments

How long did it take for Taiwan to get its freedom and democracy? How long did it take for South Korean to get its freedom and democracy? Do they have the same issues that China faces such as the size of population, the history and the variety of ethnic groups? You may argue the case of India. But India has never been ruled by Communism. And it is not that Chinese have an inborn favour in Communism. It is a plague that destroys any country it reaches.

There is not a single country in the world that faces all these issues China does. Many critics when they criticise China often try to appear impartial by saying something like “China makes great progress in economy, BUT”.

The achievement China made in helping many of its people get rid of poverty and make China again a Non-neglectabe player in the world after a hundred year humiliation and disasters is something that can not be disgraced by any other problems it has.

I’m not here to defend the CCP. The point I’m trying to make is if you are trying to impress Chinese people what is the best thing for them to do, don’t make those superficial comparisons between China and other countries.

May 27, 2005 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

I have no problem saying “China has made great progress BUT….”

I see most of China’s progress as occurring despite the government, not because of it, and I give them very little credit for anything. Just because they became less bad and less restrictive is hardly cause for dancing in the streets. Let me take that back — it was cause for dancing in the streets when Deng ended the CR and headed the country in the right direction. But he didn’t “help” the people come out of poverty, at least not in the sense that Roosevelt helped people in the Depression with the New Deal. Deng simply loosened the restrictions (which is what I mean when I say he was “less bad”) and allowed the people to carry out trade, something they would naturally have done if Mao hadn’t ruined everything. Deng gave them an inch and the industrious Chinese people grabbed a mile. And the CCP is still meddling everywhere, making business harder for foreign companies with an array of idiotic restriction, not to mention the graft and bribes required to do business there. No, I give them next to zero credit. Wherever the Chinese people go — Indonesia, the US, Canada, Singapore, England — they become successful tradesemen, always. They never needed the CCP for this. I get sick whenI think of how great the Chinese could have done without the controls, interference, brutality, injustice, greed, corruption and highway robbery of their government. I refuse to sing their praises for the economic miracle and anyone who believes they deserve credit for deep wisdom must read Joe Studwell’s China Dream.

May 27, 2005 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

“I see most of China’s progress as occurring despite the government, not because of it…”

are u sure, richard?

May 27, 2005 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

China seems so arrogant and proud at how fast it’s acquired all the things of the modern world, little suspecting it’s got the glitter but not the gold. Without freedom, it’s still stuck way back there in the dust.

Yes it was pretty dusty in Taiwan and South Korea back in the 1980s.

May 27, 2005 @ 3:32 pm | Comment

“Get rid of CCP, China will be so much better.” I guess that is main theme of Stimson’s essay.

If Stimson can wave a magic wand to cause china economy to collapse, then chinese people will fall into economic hardship, then CCP will fall and china will disintegrate, and then Taiwan will become independent, I bet Stimson will surely do it.

For anyone who claim deeply concerned about China, you should ask yourself, “if you have the chance to wave that magic wand, are you going to do it?”

I still remember a comment by Curzon from “cominganarchy”: “I am happy to see every chance that China get screwed”.

I suspect the most, if not all, foreigners will wave that wand. I hope I am wrong.

Do not get me wrong. I think Democracy and freedom is good and eventually, CCP should be more accountable to people.

May 27, 2005 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

Steve,

I wouldn’t say “most foreigners.” First, most foreigners (most Americans for example) just aren’t that knowledgable about China and probably haven’t given the matter much thought. Second, I think most of those who are aware recognize that a Chinese collapse would have pretty dire consequences for the rest of the world. I’m not saying that there isn’t a substantial minority who feel threatened by China’s rise. But I don’t think it’s “most” by any means.

As for the CCP, I dunno. Yes, their track record is not great in many ways and downright brutal and shameful in others. But look at the state of China’s government before the Revolution. It was barely functional, if at all, incredibly corrupt and similarly brutal. And before the Republic – well, you have to go back a long way to find a Chinese government that was well-run. I leave it to those better versed in China’s dynastic history to give those examples. The CCP has to be given some credit for building basic state infrastructure out of chaos, collapse and the rubble of invasion and civil war.

Now, however, the time is long past for the CCP to allow some competition, public debate and as Stimson puts it, to put China’s greatest resource – her people – to the task of running their own country.

On a completely different note, I’m not sure of this, but might there be some name-stealing going on in several recent threads?

May 27, 2005 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

This article is just another piece of nonsense!
The Taiwanese should thank God that China is communist! Or Taiwan would still remain a cut-off, impoverished, maybe several times genocided, Chinese province, receiving comments like “oh Chinese can manage it, they are democrats, anyway.”

May 27, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

Other Lisa,

I can understand that some people feel happy to see china disintegrate. After all, as Ambrose Bierce said, happiness is an agreeable sensation arising from comtemplating the misery of another. It is simply a human nature.

However, people should not pretend to be a friend of Chinese people and offer seemingly friendly advice, while at the same time harbor the wish to see China disintegrate.

What is dear to Stimson’s heart is Taiwan independence. Democratic or not, Chinese people will not like to see Taiwan independent. However, if CCP is gone and China end up in a shitty shape as Russia, western power could surely use economic aid as carrot and saction as stick to force China to accept Taiwan independence.

Therefore Stmson really wants to see China in a shitty shape, while at the same time offer friendly advice.

With friends like Stimson, who needs an enemy?

As to CCP, I agree with you that its current governing style is not sustainable and CCP need allow more debate and public participation.

May 27, 2005 @ 7:15 pm | Comment

Dear Steve,

Since Mr. Stimson wrote the article, maybe he would care to comment on what you’ve stated here.

My uninformed take: I don’t believe that this is a zero-sum game, where in order for Taiwan to prosper, China must decline and vice-versa. China and Taiwan have been separated for more than 50 years. They have developed in very different ways. I doubt that most Taiwanese are willing to consider reunification with China until China’s government has moved in a more democratic direction, and who can blame them?

If China and Taiwan do not begin to develop along more similar lines, then reunification can only happen one of two ways: first, as you stated, if China collapses and cannot assert itself in this area, second, if China brings about reunification by force. Neither of these two scenarios is very desirable, wouldn’t you agree?

May 27, 2005 @ 7:49 pm | Comment

Forgive me, I just realized that part of what I wrote makes no sense. Obviously if China collapses, reunification becomes somewhat of a moot point…

May 27, 2005 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

Why not split China apart into different little regions like the Soviet Union after it imploded. China will be too dangerous in the future threatening the Western powers. We can a free Tibet, a democratic Hong Kong and Taiwan, an Islamic Xinjiang, another Mongolia. The wealthy coastal regions are probably tired of subsidizing their poorer rural cousins. They’ll gladly leap at a chance of becoming autonomous regions.

These regions with no more than 50 million people apiece will never be a threat to Western powers and interests. Each one can be a smaller Mexico making our goods at slave rates while we keep the profits. I suggest that each region should be governed by a Western country like Britain or Japan. After all, they’ve had great success as being colonial powers.

Each region can be a democracy but will still be governed by another power similar to what’s going on in Iraq right now. I’m sure Britain would love to get Hong Kong back into their claws.

May 27, 2005 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

Shanghai Slim made a comment in fon’s blog:

“The doomsayers are just another example of what happens when different people with different perceptions and agendas view large, complex datasets: they end up seeing different patterns, and can point out all sorts of data points that appear to support them.

And it’s hard to think of a thicker, more complex cloud of data than contemporary China!

Maybe this effect is unavoidable since so much activity of the human mind seems to based on pattern-recognition.

Unfortunately, once patterns are recognized, they are difficult to give up, whether it’s the face of someone you met twenty years ago, or your opinion of where China’s headed.”

thanks SHS

May 27, 2005 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

there is a big difference between a professor and an bootstrapper-entrepreneur

a professor tells us what is the best scenario but usually fails to develop a workable roadmap to get to there

an entrepreneur must work out the goal and the roadmap at the same time, and depending on whether the roadmap is workable, revise the goal from time to time

as an armchair politician, you could be a “professor” or an “entrepreneur”, usually a “professor”-type way of thinking is much easier

as a real politician to make real decesion-making restricted by many factors, you have to be an “entrepreneur”

but anyway, i enjoy reading “professor” style essays about china like this one, that expand our views

May 27, 2005 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

Other lisa,

Indeed, neither scenarios is not desirable. I can understand that Taiwanese do not want to be under CCP control. But they enjoy all the freedom under status quo.

What is dangerous about people like Simson is that, they are pushing for quick Taiwan independence. This could lead to a disasterous war. Richard posted some of Stimson’s writing before, which, frankly, read like CCP’s propaganda brochure. Stimson tend to romanticize Taiwan indepedence and inflame the sentiment for independence. I have noticed that, a fairly large westeners share his view.

I have noticed some foreigners are irritated when chinese tell them, “you are not chinese so … “, because they regards themself very knowledgeable about China. The key here is not about knowledge, but the feeling at heart. If China ends up like Russia, most Chinese will feel painful. For most westeners, they will shrug and say, “hey, the evil CCP is gone, so, the collapse overall is a good thing. We will offer you some aid, of course, with some string attached … ”

May 27, 2005 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

Steve, Thank you. You spelled my heart perfectly!

I just want to pose a question here. Imagine this senario (an improper analogy)—-what if the majority of Hawaiians are voting for independence but the Congress of the United States passed the anti-sessecion law coz the majority of the americans are voting against Hawaii’s independence?

Is there pure democracy? If “democracy deficit” is too large, will the bank of democracy get bankrupted?

Should we give freedom to Taiwan because it wants to break away? Should we give freedom to those who will do whatever they wnat to do? What is freedom then? What does rules and laws do then?

May 27, 2005 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

wkl,

A lot of people would agree with you in here.

May 27, 2005 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

JR,

hehe. wkl was just trying to satirize…

May 27, 2005 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

Other Lisa,
China and Taiwan have been seperated for 50 years…maybe. But they shared a 5000 years’ history.
So this alone can not be the reason for taiwan’s independence.

May 27, 2005 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

Anon,

I know that about wkl.

Lisa,

There is a third way, which is to unify under a democratic government.

May 27, 2005 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

If I had a magic wand and the task of fixing China, I would put it on the heads of the Chinese and instruct them to be less obdient ( to the family leader’s wishes or the government’s), less tied to the past, more interested in having a say-so in government, in better goverment. In part, well in a big part, you cannot put all the blame of the CCP or on corruption for China’s state of affairs. It can and should be put on the people in a big part. As long as the vast number of people accept the “system” in China, it will not change except as allowed by the CCP. The CCP as an organization will not allow changes that will end its domination or its existence voluntarily, IMO.

I have had opportunities to hear info about how the CCP operates. It is not just a political organization from what I hear, but is as well, what I would call a “life-style” organization. Meaning that people join and stay in the Party for better jobs, better positions, better opportunities, better housing, higher standing, better benefits (legal and illegal) and also protection. For members, the Party has a build-in reason to exist beyond political dominance.

There will be no easy way to lessen the CCP’s dominance. And I think it will not be lessen unless the people speak out or there is catastrophe attributable to the CCP.

May 27, 2005 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

I’ve lost track of who said what, but whoever said that pushing Taiwan into a quick independence is a bad idea, I agree. Doing anything that would increase tension and the likelihood of a military conflict would be a bad idea. And as I and others have said, if China had a more democratic political system, I doubt that we would be having this conversation.

As for Hawaii, you know there is an independence movement there. It does not seem to have the support of the majority, however. As far as I’m concerned, if there were a state where a clear majority wanted to declare their independence, I’d favor it. But the fact is, there isn’t a state in the US whose population feels that way. There have been a lot of jokes about it since the last election though….

And Steve, I for one would be very sad and deeply upset if China collapsed. I mean that with all of my heart. And I honestly do not feel that mine is an uncommon sentiment.

May 27, 2005 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

The right wing said how much they detested California before ah no BUT I am sure there will be a civil war if enough Californians wanting independence.

May 27, 2005 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

Hey, as a native Californian, I say “bring ‘em on!”

Well, no, I’d never say that, actually.

The thing is, I doubt there will ever be enough Californians who would favor secession for it to be a serious issue, at least not in my lifetime. It’s hard to speculate on what would happen if a US state wanted to secede – there just aren’t that many people who want to see that happen. The red state/blue state divide hasn’t gone that far!

May 27, 2005 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

yeah…but my question was hypothetical and i wanted to introduce the conflicts between regional freedom and the democracy of a nation.

May 27, 2005 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

piyeye,

If China were to nurture for Hawaii independence and the majority of Hawaiians wanted it. Can you imagine US would let Hawaiians have it?

May 27, 2005 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

NO…never…unless the balance of power were diametrically different than it is now or there were another World War.

What do you think, JR?

May 27, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

piyeye,

Well, my guess is that any secession process would end up in a series of courtrooms for a very long time. But my larger point is that not many people in the US currently favor secession because they still want to be Americans. It’s really tough to compare a situation where a considerable number of the people under discussion are saying that they don’t want to belong to the larger country to a hypothetical like the one you’ve proposed. And I’ll tell you something: political and social divisions are the worst I’ve seen them in this country since the 60s, when I was a little kid. But the reason that we aren’t seriously discussing secession at this point is that the half of the voters who strongly disagree with the direction of this country know that we have a mid-term election in 2006 and a presidential election in 2008 to try and put things back on a course with which we agree.

Now, if things go very badly in the next few years, if we experience some serious economic downturns and social divisions, more allegations of election corruption, etc., maybe we’ll be seriously discussing this hypothetical scenario. But I do believe things will even out. They generally do.

May 27, 2005 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

But look…you have to posit a scenario where Hawaii would want to ally with China. And that would involve a world that looks so dramatically different from our world today that it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that democratic political systems tend to provide the safety valves that prevent secessionist movements. Not always – look what’s happening with the Basques and Spain – but then I guess you could make the argument that Spain has only been a democratic country for the last 30 years, so…

And although I’m sure that a segment of American leadership is pushing Taiwan independence – e.g., the Neocons – this certainly does not reflect the mainstream of American foreign policy, not since Nixon and Kissinger. They and their Chinese partners established that both sides agreed there was “one China” – and that we just would agree not to discuss what that “one China” was, exactly, and how it would actually come about.

May 27, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

William Stimson wrote: “China has a problem with this. Other countries around the world have moved forward and left primitive dictatorship behind. ”

“Other countries around the world” seems to imply that China is unusual in this respect, as if it were one of the last remaining nations to complete the Long March to the voting booth.

Democracy is FAR from the global norm, as a cursory tour of Asia, Africa, former eastern USSR, the Arab world, and many points beyond would quickly reveal.

I share many of his feelings toward the present gov’t of the PRC, but to try to paint China’s ruling regime as some sort of atypical throwback seems silly to me.

This is another example of why we need more commenters with experience living in other parts of the world, especially other developing nations. Since most of the “foreigners” here are westerners, it’s too easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking of the “west” as the “rest of the world”.

May 27, 2005 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Lisa, I guess you have not got what i meant. Sorry for my confusing English.

The reason I used this analogy is not that I really wanted to compare these two scenarios, but to encourage you to think from some other angle. I chose Hawaii as a “renegade” state not because of what’s going on there now (I had not idea what’s going on there), but because it has geographical similarity with Taiwan, as you can see. Would America be able to tolerate Chinese fleets staying at its backyard, even if America is a democratic nation? I assume no. It has a lot to do with a nation’s sovereignty, doesn’t it? Same here with China. It’s not completely irrelevant with what we are talking about now.

What I wanted to say is, the legitimacy of Taiwan’s independence has little to do with if China is a democratic country or not. Yes, China’s political system is far from democratic, but this can hardly be the reason for Taiwan’s breaking-away. After all, it is not democracy that decides whether Taiwan should break away or not. Not to mention the fact that there is always “democratic deficits” as my previous post said, where would you put the sovereignty of China?

But don’t get me wrong, I believe China WILL become democratic eventually. I also hope Taiwan and China can live under a democratic system as Hawaii and the rest of the US do.

May 27, 2005 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

that was me

May 27, 2005 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

Dear…piyey (?),

Thanks for clarifying. I get what you’re saying now.
So wouldn’t you agree that the best scenario for the present is for both sides in Taiwan and China to bring down their rhetoric and avoid escalating the conflict?

Shanghai, I agree with everything you’ve said. What’s disappointing is that Hu seems to be a throwback at a moment in history where China is primed to move forward in terms of greater political participation by her citizens. It’s really sad, and I’m about ready to label it tragic.

May 27, 2005 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

Bing wrote:
“There is not a single country in the world that faces all these issues China does. ”

???

Actually, I think there are many countries in the world that are worse off than China by almost any measure.

Bingfeng, I’m flattered by the quote from Fons’ blog. :-)

I think of myself as a San Franciscan (lived there most of my adult life) and couldn’t agree more with Other Lisa’s comments on California, although I find myself leaning farther towards “splittism” since the terrible 2000 election. I admit I’m with those who are beginning to think that northern California, Oregon, and Washington could maybe do quite a bit better than what we have now. But as Other Lisa made clear, we have a political system in place that allows for change, and it’s hard to say what will happen after Bush is history (and, oh, I’m counting the days…)

Hawaii really is a better example as it does in fact have a small secession movement. But even if the majority of Hawaiians really did want to seperate, I honestly don’t think American mainlanders would react by threatening to kill them with missiles.

It would be a divisive and wrenching crisis for the US, but I truly don’t think a war or ocupation by the mainland military would be a likely result.

American honeymooners would never permit it. :-)

May 27, 2005 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

Piyeye, you might be interested in this – it’s a recent study on the attitudes of Germans regarding German reunification. That was a situation where a majority on both sides wanted to reunify, and it’s still been very problematic, with lots of conflicts and resentments on both sides. The similarity is that the two Germanys were separated for a similar amount of time and that there were huge political and social differences between the two.

http://www.lehigh.edu/~incntr/publications/perspectives/v16/adams.pdf

May 27, 2005 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

hey Shanghai, if we don’t prevail over the wingnuts in the next 2 election cycles, I’ll join with you in Pacifica splittist solidarity!

May 27, 2005 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

I see a few of us are crossing-posts on Hawaii, so let’s continue it a bit more. :-)

Sometimes I try to explain mainland Chinese feelings about Taiwan to American friends by using the following scenario:

Suppose that the US Civil War ended in 1950, with Robert E Lee and the Confederate gov’t fleeing to Hawaii, which, let us suppose, is located where Cuba is now.

The North, resources drained from the long war, is unable to move on Hawaii, especially after superpower China sends it’s powerful navy to shield Hawaii from Yankee threats.

After fifty years, the American mainland is back on its feet, but in the meantime the Hawaiian gov’t – with the help of Chinese aid and trade ties – has morphed from a Confederate slave-state to some sort of liberal parliamentary democracy. Worse, it now has little interest in re-joining an America ruled by jingoistic neocons and right wing religious extremists.

Now what?

May 28, 2005 @ 12:18 am | Comment

The Western developed countries are trying to establish the “global norms”, which is made more for their own good rather than made for the long-term well-being of the developing countries. It is certainly hard for Chinese people, who value dignity and national sovereighty a lot, to immediately accept what is GIVEN to EXERTED on them. There is a famous saying, “Qu3 qi2 jing1 hua2, Qu4 qi2 zao1 po4″ (accept what is good for us, refuse what is not), but it’s extremely hard to tell what western norms are suitable for China and what can not work in China. So it’s natural that Chinese people like to think on their own when they are gradually chewing western ideology. And it’s also natual that sometimes they throw up a little bit because of their “Chinese stomachs”. Lisa, I guess that explains Hu’s recent policies. It’s rather natural to me than sad…

May 28, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Other Lisa, should worse come to worse (a Pat Buchanan presidency? Senate Majority Leader Karl Rove? Anne Coulter on the Supreme Court? ) would you rather the US Pacific Northwest form a new nation … or join Canada? :-)

Or maybe we could join Taiwan! :-0

Okay, enough jollity for today, I have to do some housework …

May 28, 2005 @ 12:25 am | Comment

This post illustrates why (as the comments on the previous post alluded to) Chinese and Westerners have trouble discussing China. Although the focus of those comments was on Chinese parroting a certain point of view and their inability to tolerate “heretical” viewpoints (which is true to a degree), many of the comments here and this post illustrate a parroting of a different sort. This democracy-and-Taiwan broken record is really so tedious — and I’m American. I can just imagine how tedious it must be for Chinese.

So many of these comments boil down to this: if Chinese culture were only the same as Western culture, everything would be rosy. Well, China is not the US. Chinese culture has a different set of values, many of which are anathema to the West. If China did have a democracy, someone like Hu or Mao would be back in power within a decade. Sound improbable? If so, then you know nothing about Russian history or a guy named Putin. Putin is popular because most Russians simply don’t want a democracy. And the “democracy” that Russia did have for a short time did nothing (in the eyes of most Russians) but enrich a corrupt few.

You can comfort yourself with platitudes on democracy and believe that all peoples and cultures embrace Enlightenment rationalism (which is only restrained by evil governments), but that is nothing more than a delusion. Most people, wherever they are from, are concerned with their standard of living above all else. Those who are living on 20$ a month only more so.

>>For too many thousands of years now, corrupt officials like them have taken away the Chinese people’s future, the nation’s pride, the culture’s bounty

While I agree that the CCP is just the latest incarnation of a system that has been in place for thousands of years, the above view displays a stunning ignorance of one simple fact: government grows out of culture. Be clear: attack Chinese culture, which is the basis for this system, and not simply its latest outgrowth at the top.

American culture is by nature anti-authoritarian, conservative (in the best sense of that word), and centered on the individual and his rights. For the same reason that I think the establishment of a communist dictatorship in the US is unlikely anytime soon, democracy will not be coming to China anytime soon.

I just have one question: if China had a Western-style democracy tomorrow, would the Chinese people vote to allow Taiwan independence?

May 28, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

HEHHE! Piyeye, you’ve made me laugh (the throwing up analogy) and think at the same time. Thanks. Though I think there’s a danger of assigning “western” identities to certain concepts that I think are pretty universal. the desire to have autonomy over one’s life and express oneself freely, for example. And aren’t a lot of Chinese people pretty horrified at Hu’s support of N. Korea’s social policies? I have friends in Beijing who are pretty p.o.’ed at what they see as arbitrary and unnecessary censorship of ideas – they aren’t even asking for political power, just the ability to read what they want.

And Shanghai, other than having to make the mental transposition of Hawaii and Cuba (which makes my tiny mind hurt), that is a pretty good analogy.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:36 am | Comment

tuode—No.

And…I have one other silly question—-Who are those neo-conservatives? Anyone is kind enough to give me a hint?

May 28, 2005 @ 12:37 am | Comment

Shanghai, I too have been procrastinating. And positing any of those scenarios -

THE UNITED STATES OF PACIFICA!

I’m so there.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:38 am | Comment

“China and Taiwan have been seperated for 50 years…”

yeah, east germany and west germany have been seperated for 55 years …

i know some of you will find other excuses …

May 28, 2005 @ 12:41 am | Comment

“If China were to nurture for Hawaii independence and the majority of Hawaiians wanted it. Can you imagine US would let Hawaiians have it?”

the cuba missile crisis says everything

May 28, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

“But look…you have to posit a scenario where Hawaii would want to ally with China. And that would involve a world that looks so dramatically different from our world today that it’s like comparing apples to oranges.”

cuba, as an independent nation, wanted to ally with soviet union, and see how washington goverment reacted.

no need to discuss the hawaii scenario.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:50 am | Comment

Piyeye,

Oh, wow, it is waaay too late in California for me to get started on the Neocons – look up “Project for a New American Century” – basically, if you look at George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, that whole gang and their foreign policy, it will tell you a lot about their methods and goals. They believe in a very interventionist foreign policy, which is based on a rather scary combination of idealism and raw projection-of-power pragmatism. They tend to be very strongly linked to the more right wing elements of the Israeli government – the Likkudniks. They tell themselves that, for example, invading Iraq will establish democracy throughout the Middle East (!) and also have the side-effect of supposedly making Israel safer and helping to ensure a supply of oil to the US and maintaining American power.

Tuode, I sort of agree with you, and I sort of don’t. I would guess that a democratic China would reject Taiwanese independence. On the other hand, maybe there would be no need for such a referendum, given a democratic China! And call me an optimist, but I think that China can handle a more open and democratic political system, at this point. I really do. And I think that a majority of Chinese people would want this and would participate. China isn’t Russia. Like you said, cultures aren’t the same.

I’m not suggesting some revolutionary transition; I think the slow evolution is the way to go. Which again, is why it’s disappointing to see someone like Hu, seemingly going backwards.

But of course, we really don’t know what all is going on behind the curtain.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:50 am | Comment

>the cuba missile crisis says everything

The US has secretly installed nukes on Taiwan? I must have missed that story.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

Well, no. The Cuban Missile Crisis is not relevant in this context. You can’t really compare Cuba to Hawaii. Hawaii is a part of the United States; Cuba is a sovereign country that allied itself with the Soviet Union, at the time an enemy of the United States, and they were aiming nuclear missiles at the United States – and yes, I know, the US had missiles in Turkey at the time.

Basically, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a situation where in spite of everything, diplomacy prevailed. The US did not invade Cuba. No one fired nukes at anyone.

And by the way, I certainly do NOT approve of current US policy towards Cuba. It’s very silly and is basically predicated on the need at this point for the Republican party to get Cuban American votes to carry Florida.

May 28, 2005 @ 12:57 am | Comment

May,

Re China and Taiwan and with the greatest respect, do you realise i.e. are you aware that you have a very limited view/knowledge of history?

One of the biggest complaints of the Taiwanese people (I lived there for 3 years—I’ve also lived in China for 9 years) is that Chinese people know little about modern Taiwan and even less about Taiwan’s history?

Please remember that mainland Chinese people are taught the CCP’s version of history which leaves out, let’s say, “incovenient” parts, exaggerates some parts, and only explains partial elements of certain particular episodes.

Have you ever considered why history taught in China is not the same as everywhere else?

If you live in Taiwan for any length of time you’ll inevitably meet someone who studied overseas. The ones I’ve met all said how they were shocked when they met Chinese students because of their bigotry AND ignorance about history and the world at large.

It’s important to remember not what Chinese teachers tell their students but what they DON’T tell their students.

I once met a Chinese lady teaching at a UK university, she taught Chinese language but her love and acedemic discipline was Art History.

She told me of her shock when she first started studying overseas of how little she actually knew about her subject, Art History, how little she actually learnt in China and how Art History in China tends to glorify Chinese art and all but ignore the rest.

She pitied her Chinese compatriots.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:03 am | Comment

“>the cuba missile crisis says everything

The US has secretly installed nukes on Taiwan? I must have missed that story.”

who do you think will become the ally of an independent taiwan?

May 28, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

Re: germany reuniting, I posted something about this upthread. As I said, this was a situation where a majority on both sides favored reunification, and it’s still been a very difficult and complicated process. You can go here to read a study that examines the attitudes of Germans on both sides:

http://www.lehigh.edu/~incntr/publications/perspectives/v16/adams.pdf

May 28, 2005 @ 1:08 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

Again, upthread – the American neocons who would ally with an independent Taiwan represent a break from the mainstream of the last half-century of American foreign policy, which is better represented by the pragmatism of Nixon & Kissinger, who signed on to Zhou Enlai’s “One China” policy, with both sides agreeing to leave the specifics unstated.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:11 am | Comment

“If you live in Taiwan for any length of time you’ll inevitably meet someone who studied overseas. The ones I’ve met all said how they were shocked when they met Chinese students because of their bigotry AND ignorance about history and the world at large.”

The only mainland Chinese student I personally knew of won a worldwide English composition competition and went to graduate top at Rice University in architecture and got a scholarship for Harvard and became intern for IM Pei in NYC.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Foreigners don’t understand because they don’t have a “Chinese heart”.

What absolute rot.

If, for example, Other Lisa, started ranting onto me about how Great Britain humilitated her country and, amongst other things, burned down Washightom in 1815 and how I could never understand Americans because I’m British and don’t have a Amercian heart….

…I would, quite rightly, think of her as an absolute loon not to mention certifiably insane. I would furthermore not bother to read any more of her (informed and thought-provoking) comments.

Therefore, I refuse to accept this “foreigners don’t understand” rubbish from Chinese people…because being a Brit I like to treat everyone the same, no matter where they come from.

I gotta tell yer, the mainland better wake up and smell the coffee sometime soon cos they’re gonna struggle to be part of the international community of nations in their present form.

Sorry Other Lisa, hope you don’t mind me using you in my example!

May 28, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

“The only mainland Student”

Exactly.

Is there a point hidden away in there somewhere JR?

May 28, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

I’m not sure what your point is on this. Taiwan is already an “ally” of the US. Japan and S. Korea are also allies of the US (as are many countries) — and the US hasn’t given them nukes to aim at Beijing. I think your Cuba analogy just doesn’t work. If the US declared that China was its sworn enemy and then set up nukes on Taiwan, then your analogy might make more sense.

Anyway, that is enough wasted breath on that issue for me. No one should change the status quo: that sums up my view.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:22 am | Comment

Mike,

I don’t know about now but in the 90s, very few foreign students were from mainland China (close to none)comparing to many from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:24 am | Comment

Lisa,

Thank you for your explanation! I will tell you more about my opinions on Bush’s interventionist foreign policies.

For the case of Germany, I would say, the East and the West are like sisters. Chances are they hate each other when they grow up, but they will not be childish anymore later in their fifties, sixties. And their relationship usually tightens when they are facing an external threat, like the death of their parents or the attack of a neighbouring boy.

I understand you might be very concerned about the social and political differences between the two sides of China and Taiwan. But I have the confidence that it’s easy to conquer based on my experiences with my Taiwanese friends. 50 years is only a blink compared to the 5000 years’ cultural roots. So yes, I hope now both sides can hold back a little bit and not antagonize each other so that the situation can be stablized.

Mike

A lot of what you said is true, but not constructive, I would say. It is not hard to see that the students from both sides have been brainwashed. Please say sth that makes more sense next time, Thank you.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:24 am | Comment

Hey, Joe, don’t remind me about the burning of Washington! It STILL gets my blood pressure up!

Well, the difference would be that America has prospered greatly and China has suffered tremendously in the same period of time, and I think that’s important to remember. But at some point, these kinds of resentments create a vulnerability that can be grasped and exploited by leaders. I’ve seen it happen here, in the good ole’ USA.

Speaking of which, Joe, if we keep screwing up, will you take us back?

May 28, 2005 @ 1:24 am | Comment

I echo tuode exactly.

Also, I think it’s ridiculous to seriously think that Taiwan will declare UDI and therefore start a war. The country is ALREADY independent, what could it possibly gain from UDI under these present circumstances.?

Also, I’d be careful about saying things like “Taiwan shouldn’t declare UDI and start a disastrous war”…..because that statement EXACTLY echoes what the CCP government says!

May 28, 2005 @ 1:26 am | Comment

“Well, the difference would be that America has prospered greatly and China has suffered tremendously in the same period of time”

It is true, in 1776, China was under the last of the strongest emperor Qian Long and it was all downhill from there.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

Ha ha! Nice one Lis. I’m now working on a polite answer.

Mind you, just because the US has prospered and China hasn’t—that still doesn’t do it for me. I need to give that more thought…and–whoosh–I shall return!

May 28, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

I’m going to bed. Good night all, and thanks for the stimulating discussion.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment

I should like to add my full support to the sentiments expressed by Mr. William Stimson. He gets the China point entirely. Full Marks.

We should carefully read the posts of steve, leo etc above to understand the exqusite, tragic irony that their point of view represents.

Guys, let me set u straight:

1. ‘Taiwan Independence’ is a dead end story. It is not any kind of key issue – it is simply an accidental by-product of the current dysfunctional Chinese geo-political landscape – and it is certainly not what Mr. Stimson is calling for in his piece.

2. If the Chinese people of the world found themselves capable of uniting sufficiently and worked together to create a Chinese political universe which alllowed for the emergence of the individual and the release of the true creative human potential of the ordinary people, then and ONLY then will the Chinese nation displace its true weight in the world commensurate with their actual numerical status of approx. 25% of the world population.

3. The nightmare scenario of the world laughing at a ‘collapsed’ China is already here! Not because China is physically broken up or exploited by those always lurking ‘foreign’ powers but, as Mr. Stimson wisely observes ‘China’s rulers, like their predecessors, have not just robbed China, but they’ve robbed the world of China.’ !

4. The best scenario that could ever happen to China for those who some people imagine would wish to ‘contain’ China or prevent it from being a ‘non-neglectabe player in the world after a hundred year humiliation and disasters’ is for the current CCP tyranny to simply continue indefinitely! Bacause for as long as the majority world Chinese population has its potential, resourcefullness and intelligece negated by their humiliating submission to an arrogant mafia-style government the Chinese impact in the real world will always be far less than their numbers, history and culture truly deseve.

5. The key point is that by bravely and sucessfully floating democratic politics and dumping the 20th century Chinese one-party dictatorship model, Taiwan is already ‘independent’ of the dumb twilight quarrantine from which those living under the violence-based police-state dictatorship of CCP China have yet to emerge and which is now becoming ever more apparent to the once-free Hongkongers. Mr. Stimsons’ point is that Taiwan, in fact is already ‘independent’. It is the ‘independence’ of Mainland China itself that those who care about individual Chinese people and their nation as a whole must seek to bring about. That is if the world is ever to accord China and the Chinese people the respect as individuals and as a nation that all free people and free nations have a right to demand.

6. For as long as the CCP can get away with making the steves and leos of this world feel ‘patriotic’ and ‘proud to be Chinese ‘ etc etc [!!] as a result of a few technical adjustments to the economic system within the dictatorship they will continue laughing, shaking their heads in amazement at their luck. And why not? The great lie of their CCP = China formula continues to sell to steve, leo etc. and it keeps them in business so successfully, in ways that even they could not have imagined when they began their adventure.

The world is a greatly poorer place as a result of the squandered potential of the millions of ordinary Chinese people that we see all around us daily in the PRC. Just because the majority of those individuals currently have either no idea of what they are missing or are just tired and benumbed by the constant bragging of their masters claiming credit for what little ‘normalization’ of daily life and resulting outward ‘glitter’ has been acheived by the recent reforms.

Those who fear the consequences in the world of freedom for all Chinese are served well by the CCP and are dutifully assisted by the half-informed steves and leos.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment

other lisa,

regarding the germany case, i can’t see a short period of separation between two regions of one country created an insurmountable obstacle to their reunification.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:41 am | Comment

NiuBi4
I hope you are not one of the gao3 min2 yun4 de, but you really sound like one.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment

By the way, I’d like to lodge an official complaint about the Other Lisa.

Please let the record show that, there was I, happily posting away in my simple ‘black and white’ world when “she” sauters into into it and throws and spanner into the works by creating an uncalled for “other angle” on my opinion.

By the way, thanks for that piece William, I enjoyed reading it. Are you doing requests?

How about something on the current situation in Taiwan? Re Chen’s govt, the ‘split’ in Taiwan’s society, the aftermath of Lian/Sung’s mainland visits etc?

I haven’t been to Taiwan since just after the election in March 2004 so it’d be intersting to get an update so to pseak. Thanks.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:48 am | Comment

*snort*!

Sleeping now. Really.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:49 am | Comment

Lisa went to bed early tonight. =)

May 28, 2005 @ 1:50 am | Comment

Its 4 am here in the east coast. You are 4 hours behind me Lisa.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

Ha ha! ‘snort’ right back at cha……

May 28, 2005 @ 1:52 am | Comment

I am not sure, but it is very possible I am one of those ??

May 28, 2005 @ 1:53 am | Comment

haha…it’s 4 am here too.

NiuBi4,
I just wanna say…your English is superb…that’s all.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:56 am | Comment

pieye, really? LOL where are you?

May 28, 2005 @ 1:57 am | Comment

piyeye, perhaps you have never met bellevue. it would be fun to see what happen if you two meet in this forum

i “miss” bellevue :)

May 28, 2005 @ 1:57 am | Comment

bingfeng,
he is still around I am sure. Only if he can make up his mind about his identity.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:00 am | Comment

I am in a tiny study room at wellesley College, Boston. Where are you, JR?

May 28, 2005 @ 2:00 am | Comment

this place is starting to feel like mitbbs. I can’t keep up with all of these comments anymore..

May 28, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment

Wow, piyeye, Soong went to the same school. Are you from mainland china? I am in upstate NY, pretty far from you.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:02 am | Comment

Tuode,
I know, its like a chat room in here. LOL I guess I am hitting the sack also.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:04 am | Comment

tuode,
don’t worry, just keep on playing along.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

JR
yeah, I am from shanghai. Who’s that…Soong?

May 28, 2005 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Soong May Ling, madame Chiang Kai shek.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:11 am | Comment

May, I see you’ve convenitently ignored my last comment.

If anyones wants to see evidence of exactly how warped many mainlanders view/knowledge of history is, please visit the China Daily Forum.

A lot of the comments there are outrageously narrow-minded and downright wrong.

Also, if anyone on the China Daily forum disagrees with the party line or accepted Chinese view of history they are subject to the very , very childish abuse.

My point here is I refuse to debate international issues like ‘Taiwan’ with people who only know one very biased side of the overall story.

May 28, 2005 @ 2:28 am | Comment

“My point here is I refuse to debate international issues like ‘Taiwan’ with people who only know one very biased side of the overall story”

a very effective way to defeat your opponent, now this is my announcement:

I refuse to debate issues like ‘Taiwan’ with people who can not see it from the chinese perspectives :)

May 28, 2005 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Bingfeng, with respect—and I do respect your views as I’ve read many of youre previous posts–what part of my comments makes you think that I do not see Taiwan from the Chinese perspective?

Also, I’ll fire that what you just said right back at you. Can you see the Taiwan issue from any other point APART from the Chinese one?

Not once did I mention anything about the Taiwan situation re unification or independence.

My gripe is with debating the issue with people who are utterly convinced that they are right, despite the fact that they only know a small part of the history and modern situation of Taiwan.

Also, debating Taiwan with people who are inclined to brush over alternate views by saying things like “you’re not Chinese, you don’t have a Chinese heart and therefore you have no right to hold an opinion about Taiwan.

May 28, 2005 @ 3:04 am | Comment

This is interesting. I also have noticed how people in the mainland can be very arrogant about many things and I consider Taiwan to be the best example.

As the people here have been brought up in an environment whcih snuffs out dissent and discourages individual/independent (no pun intended!) thinking, perhaps the only way in which they can deal with alternate views on, say, Taiwan, in their own mind is to say things like “only Chinese can understand” etc.

That maybe also why they often react with anger to alternate views about Taiwan…..simply because they have no internal mechanisms which permit them to accept differnet opinions. I.e. they are confronted with an alt4ernate view and their brain doesn’t have anywhere to put it.

Just a thought.

Obviously, as many mainlanders have been overly-taught recent history and to generally view foreigners with suspicion, it doesn’t help.

May 28, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

As the German reunification was mentioned here I would like everybody to remember that it only could happen after the East-Germans overthrew their dictatoral government, that imprisoned the whole people. A peacefull revolution (actually the only sucsessfull revolution Germans ever managed to do) against a dictatorship led to the reunification of Germany.
Reunification was never put in question on either side, but can anybody imagine the West-Germans happily joining the eastern part?
The East-Germans happily joined the western part although a lot awoke with some headache after the first enthusiasm was over.
One other thing. I read that magical number 5000 years twice. If my information is correct the Portugiese where the first non Taiwnese to establish a settlement on Taiwan in 1590.
Only when the Ming where defeated by the Qing some Ming loyalists in 1661 fled to Taiwan (nice similarity withe the GMD) but where defeated by the Qing in 1683. So thats when the China-Taiwanese history began.
Just for the record.

May 28, 2005 @ 5:53 am | Comment

It seems to me that many people who are in favour of Taiwan independence just because it’s a democracy and Mainland China is a communist government (in name only). But what if the situation was reversed? What if China was a prosperous democracy and Taiwan a backward poor country? Would any of you object if China decided to annex Taiwan? Is there anybody opposed to Korea unification as long as North Korea becomes a democracy?

May 28, 2005 @ 6:46 am | Comment

Too many ifs and whens for my taste, wkl.
Anyway, I would gess that the Taiwanese would happily join the democratic and prosperous Mainland and the democratic government of China would not have to think about invading Taiwan.

I’m in no way opposed to a unification of China and Taiwan. Again, I and I think a lot of the commentators are in no way favoring Taiwan’s independance. It’s not for me or anyone than the Taiwanese people to decide on this.
What I would be opposed to is the killing of thousands of innocent people.

May 28, 2005 @ 7:06 am | Comment

Great comment shulan.

A democratic China maybe a condition for unification with a minority of Taiwanese but most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances.

May 28, 2005 @ 7:43 am | Comment

pssst. Crush Taidu separatists :P

Man I can’t believe this one post has over 90 comments, my blog feels like a veritable ghost town in comparison. If anyone’s interested, I recently put up a fairly decent length article about Chinese nationalism on my blog thats related to the discussion here. Go have a look see? ^_^

May 28, 2005 @ 7:48 am | Comment

no no no no no no, deep in your mind is a dislike or fear for a unified china, as we all know that france, and britain in a less extent, doesn’t like the east germany reunified with the west germany

let’s be honest

you have many cards to play with – democracy, history, love for peace, etc.

as piyeye said, this has little to do with democracy as reunification won’t harm the democratic system in taiwan but only enhance the democratization in mainland china

talking about history, many have indicated that mainland has a relatively short period of connection with taiwan, even before mainlanders there are dutch people settle in taiwan, but come on, what taiwanese speak today is chinese language not dutch

love for peace, respect for human life, oh yeah, pls first convince GW that thousands of lives are not worth it for the well beings of future generations of iraqi and americans and the rest of the world, and convince europe that red army of USSR has no right to destroy the nazi germany because it was a communist regime

i find westerners here are shy of talking about national interest, which is the fundamental cause for their favoring an independent taiwan, which become a very useful “tool” to “restrain” mainland china.

May 28, 2005 @ 7:51 am | Comment

Joe,

In 1990, over 90% of Hong Kong people prefered independence than became part of China, but now very few people want Hong Kong to be independent anymore.

May 28, 2005 @ 8:04 am | Comment

mike, sorry i lost the post to you, in short, exchanging of views is a way to let the other side know the parts s/he doesnt know before, so just refusing to debate seems not a good way to change the situation you don’t like

as for so-called “narrow-minded mainlanders”, as i know from business, if you are obsessed with selling your own product/idea, the potential customer will instinctly resist to it

May 28, 2005 @ 8:08 am | Comment

“but most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances”

“under any circumstances”? this is really interesting. i didn’t see any survey contains such question as “do you oppose a reunification with mainland …. under any circumstances”

perhaps you forget to add two words – “i wish …”

May 28, 2005 @ 8:16 am | Comment

O.K. bingfeng you got me on that. Yes there is fear and angst in my heart. But I do not fear a rising and peacefull unificated China. What I fear are governments that talk about war as if it was just a normal political device like any other. Be it the Chinese government or the American.

May 28, 2005 @ 8:19 am | Comment

the “Deutschland Einheit” really made britain and france unhappy, didn’t it?

i forget what excuses they use to oppose to a “rapid reunification of two germanys”, perhaps we shoud keep these excuses in our “oppose reunification under any circumstances” tool book in case a democratic mainland china wants to reunify with taiwan

May 28, 2005 @ 8:27 am | Comment

To answer it just one word: Nazis.
Fortunatly Bush senior had a talk with Mitterand and Thatcher and convciced them that the Nazi-angst was not that resonable.
Have to quit now.
Byebye.

May 28, 2005 @ 8:32 am | Comment

shulan,

perhaps you agree with me that nuclear arsenal of the USA and USSR help to kept a “cold peace” for more than 50 years, as many know, they are determents

threatening to use force to deter secessionists doing something stupid, i cant see any difference of that with threatening to use force to deter holligan regime or terrorists doing sthing stupid

the stationing of US army in former west germany help avoiding war, not lead to war

May 28, 2005 @ 8:42 am | Comment

“To answer it just one word: Nazis.
Fortunatly Bush senior had a talk with Mitterand and Thatcher and convciced them that the Nazi-angst was not that resonable.
Have to quit now.
Byebye.”

To answer it just one word: communist.
unfortunatly nobody could convince taiwan secessionists and many westerners that china is not communist anymore and the communist-angst is not that resonable.

May 28, 2005 @ 8:47 am | Comment

magic wand

over at peking duck somewhere in the beginning of an exceedingly long comment thread someone asked “if you could wave a magic wand and solve the political problems of china, would you?” (or something like that). the understood comparison seems to alw

May 28, 2005 @ 8:49 am | Comment

wkl.

“What if China was a prosperous democracy and Taiwan a backward poor country? Would any of you object if China decided to annex Taiwan?”

IF China was a prosperous democracy it wouldn’t, I would hope, indulge in it’s present barnyard language (“Annette Lu is a 1,000 year whore” etc).

A democratic China would also not need to exploit the Taiwan issue as a way of shoring up crude nationalism to unite the country with the lowest of all common demnominators and justifying the continued rule of the party while the govt officials pillage the nations wealth.

It might also possibly RESPECT the views of the majority in Taiwan which is, after all, the very basis of democracy.

I am British by the way and Scotland has been unified with England since 1713. However, Scotland has the legal right to leave (split!) the United Kingdom if a majority of it’s citizens vote to leave. I would not have any objection if this were to happen.

Does this make me a splittist?

May 28, 2005 @ 9:00 am | Comment

(“Annette Lu is a 1,000 year whore” etc).

I heard Taiwanese call her worse than a whore. Blame it on her ugly Chinese name also.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:05 am | Comment

Re some of the points richard made waaaaaay back in this tread about China’s progress occurring despite the government, not because of it.

It’s funny how what we’re talking about here is almost blasfermous in China. The CCP have pinned all the rewards and benefits of the embracing of capitalism firmly to it’s own chest…oh and conveniently ignored it’s other less-desirable events 1949-1989.

However, I digress.

The fact is that the CCP throughout the 80′s did not actually “do” anything. All they “did” was (I saw this phrase on an earlier Peking Duck thread) ‘dismantle the worst excesses of Maoist folly’.

Which is absolutely true.

After 40 years of outrageously foolish and sickeningly idealistic sociaa-list economic policies which completely and utterly failed….the CCP “allowed” farmers to sell their produce on the roads leading into Beijing. And that’s how it all started.

I totally agree with your point William about the CCP robbing the world of China and the great nation it could have been in recent history.

While the CCP has deftly and nimbly reversed it’s earlier “impregnable” and “unquestionable” socia1ist policies by calling black white and north south, the party elite has quietly robbed the Chinese people of vast amounts of the nation’s wealth in the name of economic development and insisted that the great Chinese people thank them for it.

All while they graft and skim and carve up the Chinese economy amongst themselves like some huge cake.

Their sons and daughters aren’t usually educated anywhere near a mainland school. God forbid that they are subjected to a brain-twisting ‘Patriotic Education’.

No, a Chinese education is strictly for the masses because only hate-filled, nationalistic bigots, utterly incapable of thinking beyond what the government tells them can be trusted to maintain “national unity” and “social order”.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

“but most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances”

“under any circumstances”? this is really interesting. i didn’t see any survey contains such question as “do you oppose a reunification with mainland …. under any circumstances”

perhaps you forget to add two words – “i wish …”
—————————–
Here we go, the Chinese obsession that the west wants to “keep China down” and that the west wants an independent Taiwan to serve our own evil anti-China ends.

Don’t you ever stop to think that the paranoid Chinese crooks, sorry, goverment, have been pushing this line for decades? Don’t you ever stop to think how goofy it sounds?

Re your “I wish” comment. Here’s the latest poll I could find (I found it on EastSouthWestNorth)

April 27-28, 2005 (survey of 974 Taiwanese people via telephone):

“In our society, some people say that Taiwan should become independent quickly, some say that Taiwan should be unified quickly with China, and others say that the status quo should be preserved. Which do you agree with?
————————————————–
- 16.0% be independent quickly

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.4% keep the status quo, and then work towards independence

- 41.2% keep the status quo and then watch what happens

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.8% keep the status quo and then unite with China

- 6.1% unify with China quickly

- 11.9% don’t know/no response
—————————————————

This survey is pretty consistent with past surveys.

So how about that bingfeng my friend?

May 28, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

Great post MJO.

“Chinese education is strictly for the masses because only hate-filled, nationalistic bigots, utterly incapable of thinking beyond what the government tells them can be trusted to maintain “national unity” and “social order”.”

Superb.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:28 am | Comment

Martyn,

Paranoid? What do you say when the Bush white house says China is not America’s partner but rival and tries to encircle China like it did to Iraq. There is a new report coming out soon from the Pentagon, see if Chinese are still being paranoid.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

You can call Annette Lu what you like.She at least had the courage to stand by her beliefs and was jailed for it.I guess during her time in jail she was able to form some pretty strong opinions on things Chinese.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

Mike,

Did you cum?

MJO,

“Their sons and daughters aren’t usually educated anywhere near a mainland school. God forbid that they are subjected to a brain-twisting ‘Patriotic Education’.

No, a Chinese education is strictly for the masses because only hate-filled, nationalistic bigots, utterly incapable of thinking beyond what the government tells them can be trusted to maintain “national unity” and “social order”.”

Isn’t what you said above an oxymoron and illogical? The CCP sent their sons and daughters abroad so that they won’t be ignorant enough to (or not to) maintain the government for national unity and social order.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:39 am | Comment

JR, I’m not going to do you the courtersy of an answer as you don’t deserve it..

Your flippancy is reaching new heights. You should check yourself on that mate. Until then, don’t bother.

May 28, 2005 @ 9:48 am | Comment

MJO,

It felt good when you wrote hateful rhetorics and irrational hyperbole And you can’t defend what you wrote, why don’t you just admit it. :)

May 28, 2005 @ 9:59 am | Comment

If what MJO said is true, it doesn’t bode well for many foreign teachers who chose to teach in China. They become the willing participant in this “brain-twisting patriotic education scheme” aimed at brainwashing the masses into hatefilled, nationalistic bigots.

May 28, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment

JR, keep it up and I’ll consider banning you. You know I appreciate your comments and have never deleted a single one, but i think you are pushing the envelope and it’s not acceptable.

May 28, 2005 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Richard,

I am apologizing for using the coarse word cum. It sounds much worse than what it means as overjoyed by MJO’s statement.

May 28, 2005 @ 11:06 am | Comment

Wow, I guess I did go to sleep early.

As with any Taiwan discussion, I feel like there tends to be a lot of heat and not much illumination, but I do have one question: if the West’s supposed motivation for supporting Taiwanese independence – and again, I argue that this is not a mainstream foreign policy view, but for the sake of this argument, let’s say that it is – if so, then what is it that would be so threatening about a China & Taiwan reunited? I don’t really see it, personally. Or is this one of those doomed to become a Tom Clancy discussion about deepwater ports and battleships and such?

May 28, 2005 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

I don’t see anything very threatening about a reunified China, Lisa. The only ones threatened would be the Taiwanese.

May 28, 2005 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

Bingfeng
I have to answer to your comment about the cold war. From what I know about the cold war the danger of a hot war was there more than once, just think of the Cuba crisis. We are all kucky to still live (just watched a great documetary dealing with that “The fog of war”, very recomendable).
Threatening with military force mostly means to walk a tightrope. In the end you have to be serious to realy use the military cause otherwise next time nobody takes you serious.
In such a tense atmosphere one wrong decission by one guy can cause an avalanche.

May 28, 2005 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

Well lucky, not kucky.

May 28, 2005 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

The unification of China and Taiwan is a huge loss both economically and politically for every country that has long been benefiting from the ubiquitous competition for recognition and support between China and Taiwan.

How much worth of weaponry has Taiwan bought from US? How much worth of weaponry has China bought from Russia? How much concession and kowtow have China and Taiwan made to other countries in trade and diplomacy due to their rivalry?

With a combination of the two: manpower world factory and high tech powerhourse, you bet Japan and US would have any say in Asia. At that time, they are not just threatened, they are economically doomed.

May 28, 2005 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

Is a reunited China a threat to the U.S.? Maybe not an immediate one. In the term of global influence, military maneuvorability, economic prowess, Iraq was a lesser threat, but Americans bombed shit of them. Why? They can. We can basically do nothing about it but pray.
Why did I say that the Taiwanese should thank God? Just let us turn to the examplary India. This country has just so mismanaged its economy that the Chinese commies could catch up with her during the Cultural Revolution and overtake her before the market economy was ever launched. When this country swallowed first Kashmir, then Sikkim, everyone outside just suppose the people there would take it. And there is still a civil war going on in Assam, which you may never read in major world press! Why is foreign investment not going there? The government wants you to believe that it is due to the fact that she mantains a higher standard of workers’ right. That’s the kind of craps you are supposed to believe. There are more child labor in this country than anywhere on the earth, not to mention its bad rating of governmental economic competence by international institutations. Since the session of Pakistan, this country has never given up any chance to bully her smaller sister, which, by the way, also enjoy a decent democracy, and just a few years ago almost nuked this neighbour. This is why I depict this scenerio what if China turned democratic late 1940s and Taiwan remained a part of it. It might look like Chinese version of Kashmir, Sikkim, Assam. One day during your morning reading a short of piece of news might flash over the corner of your sight, saying that a small riot happened on a no name Chinese island, leaving several hundred people dead. You wonder where.
This is why I call the Taiwanese lucky.
I don’t know when I have stepped on someone’s toe or murdered his/her kinsmen that I got such retaliation like being dubbed as a “Chinese patriot”. Oh, my goodness, what blasphamy, anti-social utterances I have made that I end up as party liner, commie hugger? If you want to punish me, send me to gulag, or laogai, OK?
Just like every gentleman/lady here, I just typed down some unserious thoughts here purely as a time-killing sport. Just due to the fact that these words is meant for pleasure, I am reluctant to give advice like “go get rid of this” or “take up that”, however “this” or “that” may be well intended or morally sounding. I am just afraid that some eager Chinese Gorbachovs in dire need of good advice would by chance take my no so good counsel, which might well result in some very undesired consequences. It is easy for everyone may easily claim that he/she loves this or that country/nation/culture and all he/she intended nothing but best wishes. But I know that, if I did not hold the passport of that country, I might well get off lightly. What costs someone else a country, a livelihood, a prospect of several generation, costs you just a ticket home. I am not teaching economics and political science at the Harvard Law School. Even those good few who do, what have they archieved in Russia, uh?
Are they not best intended for Russia, just like us for China? Anyway, what benefit has the fall the Soviet Union/Russian brought to the U.S. and the rest of the world, except for some cheap hidden pleasure/schadenfreude (though, admittedly, I personally fully enjoyed it).
I beg all you folks attention not to take my words seriously. If it sounds disturbing, just think it a distasteful saturday late show joke.

May 28, 2005 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

“but most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances”

“under any circumstances”? this is really interesting. i didn’t see any survey contains such question as “do you oppose a reunification with mainland …. under any circumstances”

perhaps you forget to add two words – “i wish …” – bingfeng
—————————–
Here we go, the Chinese obsession that the west wants to “keep China down” and that the west wants an independent Taiwan to serve our own evil anti-China ends.

Don’t you ever stop to think that the paranoid Chinese crooks, sorry, goverment, have been pushing this line for decades? Don’t you ever stop to think how goofy it sounds?

Re your “I wish” comment. Here’s the latest poll I could find (I found it on EastSouthWestNorth)

April 27-28, 2005 (survey of 974 Taiwanese people via telephone):

“In our society, some people say that Taiwan should become independent quickly, some say that Taiwan should be unified quickly with China, and others say that the status quo should be preserved. Which do you agree with?
————————————————–
- 16.0% be independent quickly

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.4% keep the status quo, and then work towards independence

- 41.2% keep the status quo and then watch what happens

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.8% keep the status quo and then unite with China

- 6.1% unify with China quickly

- 11.9% don’t know/no response
—————————————————

This survey is pretty consistent with past surveys.

So how about that bingfeng my friend?

Posted by Martyn at May 28, 2005 09:18 AM

_____________________________________

so, Martyn, where is the question “oppose a reunification with mainland …. under any circumstances”?

in the end, i find many westerners (not to say taiwan secessionists) use the “facts” they like to support their view points. in many case it’s even worse than data-mining, worse than ccp’s propaganda tricks.

May 28, 2005 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

“I am British by the way and Scotland has been unified with England since 1713. However, Scotland has the legal right to leave (split!) the United Kingdom if a majority of it’s citizens vote to leave. I would not have any objection if this were to happen.”

just like how britain let india become independent?

May 28, 2005 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

“The fact is that the CCP throughout the 80′s did not actually “do” anything. All they “did” was (I saw this phrase on an earlier Peking Duck thread) ‘dismantle the worst excesses of Maoist folly’.”

you forget now is 2005, and most of the progress mainland china made is during 1990s

May 28, 2005 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

bingfeng,
“just like how britain let india become independent?”

Scotland and India,very different issues,India being a colony.There are Scots who favour an independent Scotland,and they are allowed to speak openly in Parliament.The Brits are not rounding up the members of the Scottish National Party and trying to silence them.

May 28, 2005 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

By the way, here is a website about California secession, with lots of articles answering your questions about why, how, will there be federal troops marching in, etc….

http://www.newcaliforniarepublic.org/index.html

May 28, 2005 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

Other Lisa,

I had a look at the California Republic site.Interesting,but lacks the historical ingredients (Scotland’s king James vi was also England’s James i kind of things)that make the Scottish issue closer to an issue such as the China-Taiwan issue.

May 28, 2005 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

Dear Mark,

I’m sure you’re right re: Scotland/England being a better comparison. Shanghai and I were joking (kind of) about being California splittists last night, so I hope he sees this….

May 28, 2005 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

you forget now is 2005, and most of the progress mainland china made is during 1990s

I never forgot what year it is. China made huge progress in the 1980s, and also in the 90s. Deng made it possible, but sadly this progress brought with it other huge woes (i.e., uncontrollable corruption and wealth accumulation by CCP leaders) that I blame on the CCP and the fact that corruption is its means of holding onto power..

May 29, 2005 @ 12:05 am | Comment

in the end, i find many westerners (not to say taiwan secessionists) use the “facts” they like to support their view points. in many case it’s even worse than data-mining, worse than ccp’s propaganda tricks.

Bingfeng, if you think what Martyn is saying is equivalent to “CCP propaganda tricks,” then I have to wonder about your logic. He caught you and hoisted you on your own petard, proving you were incorrect about the Chinese viewpoint, and what do you do? Take a swipe at Westerners in general and totally evade the evidence Martyn presented. That’s not good form.

May 29, 2005 @ 12:08 am | Comment

richard,

tell me where the survey proves that ” most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances”:

- 16.0% be independent quickly

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.4% keep the status quo, and then work towards independence

- 41.2% keep the status quo and then watch what happens

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.8% keep the status quo and then unite with China

- 6.1% unify with China quickly

- 11.9% don’t know/no response

May 29, 2005 @ 1:06 am | Comment

unlike what you believe, many of the progress mainland china made during 1980s and 1990s are impossible to accomplish without the goverments efforts

except for a few provinces, most places that made great economic and social advancement are largely attributable to the central and local governments

they certainly could do a better job, but that doesn’t mean the government are dispensalbe in the process

May 29, 2005 @ 1:13 am | Comment

TAIWAN, EH!!!!!? I REJECT ENVY AND EXPLOITATION!!!!!!!! WE DEMAND THE U.S. GET OUT OF SYRIA IMMEDIATELY! IMHO, MATT DRUDGE IS NOTHING BUT A TOOL OF THE PENTAGON!!!!!!!!? I BELIEVE, THE RECHIMPLICANS STOLE THE SO-CALLED ELECTION BY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE INCARCERATED VOTERS IN AMSTERDAM, JUST LIKE JEB BUSH HELPED OUR MURDERER-IN-CHIEF TO STEAL THE OZONE LAYER FROM THE WICCAN SPECIES (WHILE THE SEAL PELT INDUSTRY HAPPILY SAT ON THE SIDELINES, LIKE I’VE SAID A MILLION TIMES BEFORE)!! REALLY, JACQUES CHIRAC’S BOOK, “THE JESUS FREAKS ARE DEMOLISHING OKLAHOMA CITY,” SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING FOR REPOOPLICKINS LIKE YOU!!!! GOSH, CHIMPBOY CAN TALK ABOUT “GOD” ALL HE WANTS, ALL THE WHILE CAJOLING BILINGUAL QUEER VEGETARIANS IN THE THIRD WORLD, SO HIS DEN OF HYPOCRITICAL SLAVES CAN BLUDGEON NATURAL VEGAN BABY SEALS IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE! SICKENING! TROGLODYTES!! SAY NO TO IMPERIALISM AND CENSORSHIP!!!!! SAY NO TO OUR GOVERNMENT OF THE COWBOYS, BY THE JERKS, AND FOR THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION! IF YOU AREN’T CONFUSED AND BONKERS ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION AND DRUGGING OF THIS LYING THIEF, THEN I TAKE IT YOU ARE A REPUGNANTAN RABBINIC ALTAR BOY OF GEORGE TENET AND NORTHRUP!!?

May 29, 2005 @ 2:57 am | Comment

egh this thread has now officially died. It’s a rule on the internet that when Hitler/Nazis are brought up in comparison, the thread has degenerated to the point to where no significant progress can no longer be made. With that being said, A-bian=Hitler! :P

May 29, 2005 @ 6:14 am | Comment

bingfeng, please tell me you are being sarcastic.

Are you just on here to wind people up and provoke a reaction?

I notice that you always totally ignore 90% of your “opponents” arguements and only pick up on one or two particular points.

You are definitely not for real.

May 29, 2005 @ 7:19 am | Comment

bingfeng,

Guess it’s time to start calling myself the other Mark.That last post was not me!

May 29, 2005 @ 8:00 am | Comment

“bingfeng, please tell me you are being sarcastic.

Are you just on here to wind people up and provoke a reaction?”

___________________________

mark,

i don’t understand why you can not comprehend such a simple point.

my original post to this assertion “but most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances” is:

“under any circumstances”? this is really interesting. i didn’t see any survey contains such question as “do you oppose a reunification with mainland …. under any circumstances”

it’s quite clear that i don’t believe the part – “under any circumstances … oppose the reunification” .

from the survey that martyn quoted, i really can’t find that “most Taiwanese wouldn’t support politically unification with the mainland under any circumstances”

can you?

May 29, 2005 @ 8:07 am | Comment

we are not talking on the same thing

i use “i wish” to highlight that “under any circumstances” is not a fact but perhaps a personal judgement

martyn thinks that shows i believe westerners are “anti-china” and he use the survey to indicate that “opposing reunificatioon” is not a baseless “anti-china” wish

i reacted to martyn saying his quote of the survey fails to prove the “under any circumstance” point

ok, end of the story

May 29, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

Mark:

I apologise, I didn’t know you got here first!

I’ll call myself by my middle name “John” in future.

Thanks.

Mark—now “John”

bingfeng–If you are for real, and I still think you’re playing Devil’s Advocate here for sure, I get to you later.

May 29, 2005 @ 9:11 am | Comment

unlike what you believe, many of the progress mainland china made during 1980s and 1990s are impossible to accomplish without the goverments efforts

Bingfeng, you have swallowed the Party line – hook, line and sinker. I’ll say ity again: the Chinese people have achieved the same success wherever they go, all throughout history. It is when they are allowed to trade and conduct business that they thrive. Deng did next to nothing for them at first, just ghot out of their way a little bit and they did everything themselves. Yes, Deng later set up the special economic regions, but again, that mainly meant he was lifting the yoke of the CCP off the backs of people in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Please, read the book I recommended, China Dream. And also Becker’s The Chinese. This idea that the CCP had some grand design for economic success and ingeniously made it happen is a pure myth. And it’s a tragic myth, because it makes people believe they are indispensable, when they are so much at the heart of what’s wrong with China topday.

May 29, 2005 @ 9:28 am | Comment

What the survey said to me is that the topic is not nearly so black-and-white among the Chinese on the Mainland as some would have us believe. The technique you used to address it is what is now getting you criticized by other commenters (including me). You simply ignored it and took a swipe at Westerners in general and their self-serving use of statistics. Okay, let’s move on.

May 29, 2005 @ 10:41 am | Comment

Other Lisa wrote:
“Shanghai and I were joking (kind of) about being California splittists last night, so I hope he sees this….”

Saw it, loved it!

May 29, 2005 @ 10:50 am | Comment

Bingfeng, I want to respond to a number of your comments in this thread:

>”this has little to do with democracy as reunification won’t harm the democratic system in taiwan but only enhance the democratization in mainland china”

Personally I don’t know of much “enhancement of democratization” in the mainland since Hong Kong’s re-union. Why should we expect the case of Taiwan to be different? As for having “little to do with democracy,” I think maybe you need to talk to a few more Taiwanese, dude! :-)

>”love for peace, respect for human life, oh yeah, pls first convince GW (…) Americans (…) Iraq (…) Nazis (…) Britain (…) India (…)”

Bingfeng, I notice that you often use the common mainland debating tactic of “But someone else is worse!” If a man killed his wife, it would not be a very creditable defense for him to say “But Pol Pot killed many more!” It’s even worse when the historic comparison you make is fundamentally different from the one being discussed.

>”i find westerners here are shy of talking about national interest”

Shy westerners? Here? :-) Give us a try, I think most of us will discuss our home country’s “national interests”. However, if “shy about discussing” really means “unwilling to accept your bogus argument”, then you might be on to something. ;-)

>”which become a very useful “tool” to “restrain” mainland china. ”

Oh no, the old “holding China back” hobbyhorse, every nationalist’s favorite ride. Really, you are a smart guy, think about it – just what does the US have to gain from “restraining” China? Come on, the US has FAR more to gain from an open developed, bustling China than a “restrained” one. Seriously, Bingfeng, very few Americans beyond some right-wing crank-tanks are worried about China becoming “too strong”. Really! Even ignorant Bush changed his rhetoric on this one.

> “mike, sorry i lost the post to you, in short, exchanging of views is a way to let the other side know the parts s/he doesn’t know before, so just refusing to debate seems not a good way to change the situation you don’t like”

I think what Mike (and others in similar recent posts) was referring to was people who not only knew little about what they were arguing over, but were absolutely uninterested in hearing about anything beyond their own simple beliefs. Remember, Mike wrote that arguments contrary to their beliefs were met with “very, very childish abuse”. That kind of debater is not going to ever accept new information. They are not interested. And if your time and energy spent trying to open their mind is paid back with childish abuse, well, I think soon you stop wasting your time and look for someone more reasonable to discuss with.

>”threatening to use force to deter secessionists doing something stupid, i cant see any difference of that with threatening to use force to deter holligan regime or terrorists doing sthing stupid”

Using the threat of deadly force to stop someone from attacking you is quite different from using deadly force to stop someone from “doing something stupid”. “Deterrence” in this context refers to deterring an *attack*, not deterring some action you simply don’t like. In the PRC-Taiwan situation, only one side is threatening to attack – and that side is not Taiwan.

>”unfortunately nobody could convince taiwan secessionists and many westerners that china is not communist anymore and the communist-angst is not that reasonable.”

I don’t think they are worried about “communism” per se, that’s just a straw man argument. They are concerned over many things, especially giving up their participation in their own gov’t in exchange for accepting rule by a gov’t in which they cannot meaningfully participate.

Sorry for the marathon-length post.

May 29, 2005 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

Bing,

I’m going to try a different approach for a second.

What sorts of arguments do you consider valid? I’m not looking for past examples here, but just in general, what sorts of methods of argument do you consider to be valid and productive? When are you able to be convinced by an argument? I’ve read this entire thread, and have noticed that you don’t really discuss as much as defend and attack. I’m not sure everyone else isn’t the same, but I’ve had some good conversations with richard and gordon, where it felt more like dialogue than a battle.

just wondering.

May 29, 2005 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

Daily linklets 30th May

* 10,000 triads gathered in Taiwan on the weekend. * Is this the ‘emerging economic superpower?’ A look at China’s have-nots. * Examining the China myths. Exposing the conventional wisdom on China to reality. * A Japanese company that hires drop-outs t…

May 29, 2005 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

Jing: With that being said, A-bian=Hitler! :P

How enlightening. Not enlightening in the sense of learning about Chen Shui-bian, but more in the sense of learning about your twisted and childish mindset.
The current leaders of Taiwan went through quite a lot to get to where they are now, and to get Taiwan to where it is now. They were persecuted, jailed, really not fun stuff. I respect people with beliefs who go about things in a peaceful and democratic manner. I think that there is no way to even begin to compare such people with Hitler or with the average Chinese cadre, who gets driven around in his BMW, enjoys wild nights of baijiu and KTV, and is essentially above the law. I have had interactions with such people by right of my previous position as a “foreign friend,” and it is thoroughly disgusting.

This is the kind of bullshit I hear every day in China, and it is simply ridiculous. First, when talking about Taiwan, it is shit like “A-bian=Hitler!” and then of course when you talk about China it is “our country’s policy of opening and reform hit new highs today as our GDP reached (high number) and the people thanked the leadership and vowed to march forward on the road to national unification, the solemn duty of Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.”
Please, gag me with a chopstick.
Perhaps someday there will be room for open debate in China, and political and cultural life won’t be so… how shall i say it… stupid?

May 29, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Kevin, Laowai and Shanghai, thanks for some great comments. (Kevin, you are so right about the Hitler comparison, and that anyone would make such a comparison leaves me no choice but to question their critical thinking.)

Shanghai, no need to apologize for your “marathon-length” comment. I really like Bingfeng, I link to his blog and often enjoy his comments. But in this thread he’ s been lashing out and making unfounded charges, like the Taiwanese fear China because of its being Communist (which every educated Taiwanese knows is not at the case). Thanks for calling him on it. You too, Laowai. I get mighty tired of the dialogue disintegrating into mindless back-and-forth swipes…

May 29, 2005 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

Kevin,

it is obvious that Jing was only joking when he made that comment and its funny that you grabbed that 2 words and ran with it. It is the same technique Sean Hannity uses again and again in his talk shows. Gosh it even got Richard’s special mention and approval above. Good job.

May 29, 2005 @ 10:07 pm | Comment

Richard,

“making unfounded charges, like the Taiwanese fear China because of its being Communist (which every educated Taiwanese knows is not at the case).”

I am surprised, Richard why would you say it is unfounded charges?
You said every educated Taiwanese should not be afraid of China being communist? If the CCP is so corrupted and problematic as you have so well illustrated in so many posts in here, what make you think the informed and educated Taiwanese should not be scared of them? Isn’t that against the very thing you believe in?

May 29, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2005/03/16/13317.aspx

look at slogan in the pic

May 29, 2005 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

I sense some jealousy in your words, JR.
And so sorry to see that you could not provide a more substantive response to my argument. But I would expect nothing less.

May 29, 2005 @ 11:40 pm | Comment

Dear Kevin,

Hmm, Is there anything out there I should be jealous of?
And thank you for expecting nothing less from me. I take it as a compliment.

=P (For the symbol on the left. This is meant to be a humor, please don’t take it too seriously, Kevin my friend.)

May 29, 2005 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

Damn, a shame I missed this thread. I’ve been too damn busy lately. Sounds like there have been some pretty interesting arguments going on … and I didn’t get a chance to stir the pot. Oh well.

Oh, and I think Richard’s point is not that the Taiwanese shouldn’t fear China, but that they shouldn’t fear China because she is communist. There are plenty other reasons to be nervous!

May 30, 2005 @ 4:30 am | Comment

Shanghai Slim>

I, for one, appreciate you taking the time to respond to bingfeng’s points above in your marathon post. I know it’s very late in the thread (Is this thread a Peking Duck record Richard?) but I enjoyed reading it.

Kevin

Also, nice summation of China/Hitler=A-Bian.

As you both say, there’s no point in arguing or explaining things to those who aren’t willing, for whatever reason, to listen.

In my view, at least the mainlanders have an excuse as htey were subject to the old ‘patriotic education’ but the number of others who fall for the CCP propaganda, as Richard said in an earlier post ‘hook, line and sinker’ never fails to amaze me.

Thanks.

May 30, 2005 @ 6:43 am | Comment

JR, read FSN9′s comment. He understood what I meant. And Martyn, yes, I think the thread has set a record. It certainly was the fastest thread to ever accumulate more than 100 comments.

May 30, 2005 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Bingfeng wrote:
> “look at slogan in the pic”

(note: the slogan carried by marchers reads “No to Communist China”)

Bingfeng, I think maybe you mis-interpreted the slogan. I don’t think it means “No to Communism”. I believe they are using “Communist” to identify which “China” they are talking about (after all, they call their island “China”, too).

Also, the term “communist” has negative connotations outside China, and this probably suits the marcher’s intentions. I can’t say I read their minds, but I strongly suspect this is why they chose that wording.

If you disagree, then I would ask, when Chinese recently carried and chanted slogans about the “Little Japanese” did that mean Chinese protestors actually hate Japanese because they are short?

May 30, 2005 @ 9:47 am | Comment

Go get ‘em, Shanghai. I thought the same thing as I looked at the banner — obviously it’s not “Communism” the Taiwanese are fearful of (they all know China is not Communist in any real sense) but the government of “Communist China” or “Mainland China” or whatever it is you want to call them.

The tired arguments that follow as to why China and Taiwan are one country have been addressed so many times on this and a trillion other blogs and forums that I won’t get into them again. I’m glad that Bingfeng does this, never listening to the other side, because I believe it is completely consistent with the mindset of just about every native mainlander I know and it gives us insight into how they think: it is non-negotiable, incontestable, undebatable and undiscussable. Taiwan IS China, China IS Taiwan, and if we need to go to war and throw away all the progress of the past quarter-century, so be it. As Kevin said above, this mentality has been fostered by the CCP, and now they’ve dug themselves into a very ugly, very dangerous hole. 1.2 billion Bingfengs will see it as treason if the PRC ever decides it needs to modify its stance.

May 30, 2005 @ 10:04 am | Comment

Richard,

Do you still support democracy in China if 1200 million Bingfengs wanting the same thing?

May 30, 2005 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

JR: Yes. I like Bingfeng.

May 30, 2005 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

Richard,

I think you are missing a small small population of well educated Chinese who basically believe that Taiwan has, theoreticallly, the right to self-rule, and to split with the mainland, but can never be afforded this right due to politics. See my post

http://publicenemy1.blog-city.com/read/1302170.htm

and

http://publicenemy1.blog-city.com/read/1311601.htm

I think it demonstrates a decent flexibility in theory, even if not in end result.

cheers

May 30, 2005 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

Good posts, Laowai. I know they are out there. But my three or four best friends who are Chinese — liberal on most topics and not overly in love with Hu Jintao — were all rigid on the topic of Taiwan and, even more so, on Tibet. No sense even arguing; their facial experssions actually changed when I brought these issues up, like thy were bristling a little, like you’re bringing up a sacred topic….

May 30, 2005 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

If China loves Taiwan so much, why did she agree to give it to Japan instead of Guangdong, Shandong, or another province?

Visit the old fort in Tainan and see plaque after plaque of revolts in Taiwan put down…I think Taiwan has always been an outlier.

May 31, 2005 @ 4:02 am | Comment

The only thing that brought mainland Chinese rule to Taiwan was the fact that a Ming Dynasty remaint had fled there … I doubt the Qing would have shown much interest in the island otherwise.

May 31, 2005 @ 7:45 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No.9,

“I doubt the Qing would have shown much interest in the island otherwise.”

The truth being that the Qing didn’t show much interest in Taiwan,until after the “Peony Tribe Incident” in 1871.
When the Japanese wanted reparations ,the Qing were very quick to point out that their sovereignty over the island did not extend into the aboriginal areas.So much for the Taiwan has always been part of China story.

May 31, 2005 @ 8:15 am | Comment

My 2cents,
I totally support the independency of Taiwan, and I think it is for the own good of Mailand.
An independent Taiwan, especially a western-looking Taiwan, would become a great source of informations and ideas for Mailand. It could also become a political and idealogical equivalent of special econimical zone, and offer experiences for the development of Mailand.
I think the tensions now between mailand and taiwan are uneccesary. But , in the learders’s minds, they might serve a purpose, a bargain chip that could be cashed in later.
BTW, Niubi4, what you said is very true! What a shame that so much of creativity is wasted

May 31, 2005 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

Yang, great comment. Please comment more often!!

May 31, 2005 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

Mark – I take your point, but you’re actually putting forward the Japanese interpretation of what the Chinese said. They Chinese never explicitly denied soverignty in this case … they just said that they weren’t responsible for the actions of the local aboriginals. The Japanese replied that if you were able to control them, and denied responsibility for them, then that was a in effect, an acknowledgement that you didn’t have sovereignty there. While this may (or may not) be a valid argument, the Qing government did not explicit deny sovereignty at this point. On the other hand, Chinese actions did show that they recognised the Japanese right to speak for the Liuqui islanders, and this really was taken as a cession of sovereignty, because even after the Japanese empire was confiscated in 1945, they were allowed to retain Okinawa etc.

May 31, 2005 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Filthy Stinging No.9,

What exactly the Qing said I can’t say,so I’ll take you at your word.But what is clear is that the Qing tried to avoid international responsibility,which lead to the Japanese recognising two separate authorities on Taiwan before Soejima Taneomi’s trip to Beijing to negotiate.

May 31, 2005 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Yang, I would like to add my welcome to you.

Please make more comments in the future!

May 31, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Mark … just a few more details about that case. After international mediation, the Chinese agreed to pay an indemnity and to “purchase” the barracks that Japanese troops had built on Taiwan … and following that the Japanese troops withdrew. While I’m not a supporter of the Chinese position on Taiwan, in the interests of historical accuracy, I think that particular incident slightly favours the PRC case, if anything.

June 1, 2005 @ 4:27 am | Comment

Yang … interesting comment. Personally, I look forward to hearing you voice ideas that I disagree with … it’s always good to hear another perspective, if it’s reasoned well. Of course, I’ll feel at liberty to attack them, but I do hope you’ll contribute more, and not take it personally if I happen to disagree with you. Please comment more.

June 1, 2005 @ 4:29 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No.9,

Think we’re not connecting here.Wasn’t the reason for the “international”mediation as I stated?”that the Qing tried to avoid international responsibility,which lead to the Japanese recognising two separate authorities on Taiwan(1872)before Soejima Taneomi’s trip(March 1873) to Beijing to negotiate.”What you refer to took place 1873-74.The Japanese only landed their troops on May 22,74.Then Shen arrived,tensions grew,trade threatened,enter the Brits and the Americans,Qing and Japanese negotiate,Qing pay up,end of the Qing’s passive Taiwan Policy,Shen’s “reforms”.

Think we are getting a little off track here,though.

June 1, 2005 @ 8:09 am | Comment

Yeah, no disagreement from me.

June 1, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

The June 4th roundup

The approach of June 4 means it’s that time of year: arrest time. First it was Ching Cheong. Now Reuters is reporting the arrest of members of the Chinese Acadamey of Social Sciences, one of the country’s top think-tanks. As usual, no one is quite sure…

June 2, 2005 @ 2:14 am | Comment

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