Taiwan Matters — A Guest Post

Below is a contributed post from my friend in Taiwan Bill Stimson. This post was printed yesterday in the Taipei Times.


Taiwan Matters

by William R. Stimson

For the U.S. to stop defending democratic Taiwan from China’s military in return for the $1.14 trillion of America’s debt that China holds? That so harebrained a scheme made it onto the op-ed page of the New York Times this past week shows that there are those who really believe the myth that with China looming ever bigger on the horizon, Taiwan assumes less and less strategic importance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

That China is on course to becoming tomorrow’s superpower is not the issue at all. The issue is that if this super-powerful China of tomorrow thinks and acts anywhere near the way it does today, it is on a collision course with the interests of the rest of the world – and, as we can already see beginning to happen today, the rest of the world can very easily come out the loser. China does not play by the same rules as everybody else. It cheats on everything, bullies everybody, and demands that far and wide the lies it defines as truth be seen as true. Its Nobel Peace Prize winner sits in jail – as do so many of its noblest spirits who have dared to fight illegally polluted lakes, censorship, official corruption, and the like. The line we hear from China’s leaders, not too different from what we hear from dictators everywhere, is that these reformers and protestors seek to impose on China alien outside ideas and norms that have no place in a Chinese society or a Chinese culture. Taiwan’s existence as a real free market Chinese economy, thriving Chinese democracy and two-party Chinese system – a sovereign and independent Chinese republic whose Chinese people enjoy all the basic human rights and freedoms as do those who live in America or Western Europe shows China’s party line to be a lie and by doing so lights the way for another path of development China might pursue. For this reason, Taiwan matters.

It is very much in the world’s and in America’s strategic interest to protect Taiwan’s right to determine its own destiny. Whether Taiwan becomes part of China or not is much less important than that the Taiwanese themselves, and only the Taiwanese, make that decision. This is what China actually fears more than Taiwan’s independence – that the example might be made, the idea might get out, to the far-flung corners of the People’s Republic that the power can come, should come, and deserves to come from the people themselves. This idea very badly needs to get out if the culture, economy, and political system of tomorrow’s super-powerful China is to more closely resemble a global leader that can be a co-operating partner and friend to the world and to America, not a more powerful, selfish, and conniving adversary than it is today. And so Taiwan’s strategic importance is out of all proportion to its small size and unfairly marginalized role in today’s world. Like a catalyst, it has the power to change everything all around it.

Trade this possibility in for a piddling $1.14 trillion? The idea of ditching Taiwan for money is absurd. By publishing the piece the New York Times did us all a wonderful service by showing the festering depths of the economic determinism that has crept into and corrupted America. Were America to ditch Taiwan, it would be ditching just about the only thing it has left – its core values. Because of a narrow-minded focus on material gain on the part of more than a few, it has already ditched its own economy and that of the free world, ditched the future of the promising young men and women pouring out of its universities and universities everywhere, ditched its worker’s jobs and with them its competitive edge in so many manufacturing technologies, and even ditched the pretense that it is a democracy as the very bankers it bailed out spend the billions given them to buy up its elected officials.

It’s time Americans as a whole stood back and took a look at their currency. The faces on it are those of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln. The vision of these men, not money, is what America primarily stands for, and what America has to give, not just to the disenfranchised and downtrodden in China and everywhere – but, as the Occupy movement demonstrates, to those at home as well.

In Asia, Taiwan stands in a unique way for everything America’s founding fathers believed in and it deserves America’s support, today and in the future.

* * *

William R. Stimson is an American writer who has lived in Taiwan for nine years now.

______________

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.

The Discussion: 63 Comments

Already a problem:

For the U.S. to stop defending democratic Taiwan from China’s military in return for the $1.14 trillion of America’s debt that China holds?

If memory serves, the US defended autocratic Taiwan just as much as if not more than democratic Taiwan.

So please, spare us the tired old rhetoric. America crushes and suppresses democracy as it sees fit. Certainly, propping up a brutal theocracy that doesn’t allow women to drive is acceptable as long as America sees strategic benefit.

If China were stupid enough to make the trade, America certainly would sell Taiwan for half that amount. It takes a great deal of faux bravado and no regard for the interest of the average Taiwanese to pretend otherwise.

November 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Whereas the Chovanec piece beautifully outlines why the deal CAN NEVER be made, Stimson makes the case that such a deal SHOULD NEVER be made. Not that Kane requires further rebuttal, but this and Chovanec form a nice matching set.

” This is what China actually fears more than Taiwan’s independence – that the example might be made, the idea might get out, to the far-flung corners of the People’s Republic that the power can come, should come, and deserves to come from the people themselves. ”
—the above notwithstanding, I do think Stimson over-reaches here. I don’t think prc citizens need to look to the Taiwanese to realize that power can and should come from the people.

November 21, 2011 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

The alleged debt of a trillion dollars isn’t a really a debt, any more than my savings at my bank is a debt. Essentially when China buys US treasuries they are opening a savings account with the US rather than spending the money the US has given them. If China decides to withdraw the money they still have a trillion dollars. They then have 2 choices (i) buy US goods and services or (ii) sell the USD to someone else who wants it. The first would have a positive impact on the US has the demand for US goods and services would create employment and the second option would have no effect on the US unless the buyer of the USD exchanges the money for US goods and services which again would have a positive effect on the country.

The idea that the US national “debt” is a problem is laughable or the notion that China is the US’s banker simply reveals the ignorance of the person who utters it. Actually it is the other way round, the US is China’s banker. The money is a red herring, what is important are the goods and services each country can produce. US technology, productivity far outweigh that of China and will continue to do so for the foreseeable. China seems determined to continue trying to supply demand that doesn’t exist – this is not a sustainable economic policy and will lead to pain.

November 21, 2011 @ 4:20 pm | Comment

Taiwan stands in a unique way for everything America’s founding fathers believed in and it deserves America’s support, today and in the future.

Absolute tosh. America’s founding fathers believed in an isolationist America not to become embroiled in foreign conflicts.

As for what they believed in, I do believe that Washington traded a slave for a barrel of molasses.

November 21, 2011 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

and, as we can already see beginning to happen today, the rest of the world can very easily come out the loser.

By the way who is the rest of the ‘world’. China’s standing around the world is pretty good.

In fact China is extraordinarily popular in Africa.

So Mr Stimson. What do you mean when you say ‘world’?

November 21, 2011 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Whether Taiwan becomes part of China or not is much less important than that the Taiwanese themselves, and only the Taiwanese, make that decision

Again absolute rubbish. Taiwan is part of China, they call themselves ‘Republic of China’ and Taiwan is recognised as Chinese by almost every nation in the world including the US.

Because Taiwan is part of China, what happens to Taiwan is the business of ALL Chinese, not just those Chinese who live in Taiwan.

China does not play by the same rules as everybody else. It cheats on everything, bullies everybody, and demands that far and wide the lies it defines as truth be seen as true.

One thing that China has not done is invade half a dozen countries over the past several decades causing upwards several million ‘excess’ deaths.

One thing that China has not done is cause the death of a million Iraqi children for its own perceived national interests, and its leaders come out and say it was ‘worth it’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4

November 21, 2011 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

Stimsom is an out and out racist. Who nowadays would describe a Chinese man as a ‘Chinaman’?

http://www.billstimson.com/writing/china%27s_leader_is_not_the_man.htm

November 21, 2011 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

Taiwan is part of China, they call themselves ‘Republic of China’

The title “Republic of China” was imposed on Taiwan by the KMT. Taiwanese would change that name if they could, but they’re pressured to not do so by the US (their most substantial ally) and threatened with war by China if they do. So, unsurprisingly, they’re willing to wait on the issue.

What you’re ignoring is that Taiwanese do NOT see themselves as being part of China, nor do they want unification with China. I can’t recall the last time I saw a poll of Taiwanese people that said they wanted unification and agreed Taiwan was part of China.

Taiwan is recognised as Chinese by almost every nation in the world including the US

Wrong, most countries have formal embassies with China because it’s more profitable. They normally don’t pass comment on the issue of Taiwan’s identity. And the fact they have unofficial embassies (that strangely do the work of actual embassies) suggests their official stance is more to let China save face than indicate soldiarity on the matter of Taiwan.

Because Taiwan is part of China, what happens to Taiwan is the business of ALL Chinese, not just those Chinese who live in Taiwan.

Sounds like an imperialist pretext to annex an independent country to me.

November 21, 2011 @ 9:31 pm | Comment

“Because Taiwan is part of China”
—if that was actually the case, there would be no discussion. And yet there is…

November 22, 2011 @ 2:02 am | Comment

Si, I’ve never heard it put that way. The US pays interest on its bills, not China. China is inviting the US to open a bank account denominated in currency it has control over.

So if you want to feel contempt for someone, reserve it for anyone who uses the banking analogy period. The reason why China’s treasuries give it so much leverage is because they have enough to create a currency panic but not enough for said run to hurt them.

A better analogy would be China having an iron fist around America’s balls.

November 22, 2011 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Raj
The title “Republic of China” was imposed on Taiwan by the KMT. Taiwanese would change that name if they could

Kinda like how Texans prefer the Republic of Texas? You don’t speak for the Taiwanese, don’t pretend you do. And please stop acting like the benshenren are native, they’re not. Taiwan was founded by Ming Loyalists, not small-minded pan green peasants.

Sounds like an imperialist pretext to annex an independent country to me.

Not really because it could work either way, the ROC has as much of a moral right to annex the rest of China. And Mongolia and Outer/Northern Manchuria, given as this is the ‘rightful’ status quo as should be perceived by the West’s world order.

SK Cheung
if that was actually the case, there would be no discussion. And yet there is…

I can tell you’re not Taiwanese.

November 22, 2011 @ 2:26 am | Comment

You don’t speak for the Taiwanese, don’t pretend you do.

I don’t claim to speak for Taiwanese people. But I do read polls. And whilst I’m not sure when I last read polling on the best name for Taiwan, I certainly have read plenty on identity and sovereignty.

And please stop acting like the benshenren are native, they’re not.

No one’s native to anywhere, except maybe Africa. We’re all immigrants.

Taiwan was founded by Ming Loyalists, not small-minded pan green peasants.

Peasants, eh? Yes, those annoying blue collar Taiwanese who dare to believe in formal independence. They should go back to the fields and let their Chinese Nationalist masters decide what’s best for them.

November 22, 2011 @ 4:58 am | Comment

@Richard – Man, this blog is getting trolled to death.

November 22, 2011 @ 5:26 am | Comment

FOARP, what else is new?

Keep your eye on Wayne. I’ll let him post for a while until he breaks the rules, but I am almost sure I know who he is.

November 22, 2011 @ 6:19 am | Comment

Raj
Yes, those annoying blue collar Taiwanese who dare to believe in formal independence.

“Blue collar” is one way of putting it. They’re peasants. The real blue collar workers tend to vote KMT if I’m not mistaken, along with soldiers, teachers, women, gays and lesbians, Southeast Asians and Aborigines.

Pretty much leaves the DPP with Japanophiles, peasants and chauvinists.

November 22, 2011 @ 8:16 am | Comment

“You don’t speak for the Taiwanese, don’t pretend you do.”
—the same should be said for you, mansbestfriend.

“I can tell you’re not Taiwanese.”
—never said I was. You’re most certainly not either, cuz you’re American.

November 22, 2011 @ 9:24 am | Comment

@Cookie Monster

If you have never heard it put that way, then you should probably do some reading. I’d recommend Michael Pettis in the first instance, and then Bill Mitchell and William Mosler for a broad framework.

The US does not pay any interest. When the money is demanded they type some numbers into a computer. If the amount of the money the US “prints” (I think it is an unhelpful term, but there you have it) is in excess of the productive capacity of the US people, you’ll have inflation. If not, it is no biggie. For the last 20 years China has been sending goods to the US. In return they are receiving shiny coloured bits of paper whose value can be changed on a whim. Apparently this makes them wealthy. Personally I believe having a house, car, non-polluted air, good quality food, healthcare, pension and education for my kids is wealth, but there you have it. For some bizarre reason, it is widely believed that the people with the shiny bits of paper are in a strong position, rather than the people with the goods and the productive capacity. But then the world is an absurd place.

I didn’t understand your point about “China is inviting the US to open a bank account denominated in currency it has control over.” at all. It is China that has the US treasuries (ie has a savings account with the US). I am unaware of the US having substantial amounts of Chinese bonds, perhaps you can correct me with a link. China has no control whatsoever over the US currency. Only the US can print US dollars. As I said before, if China wishes to sell their treasuries then they will need to do one of two things (i) buy US goods and services with the cash or (ii) find a buyer willing to take them. I fail to see how this gives China any meaningful control over the currency or puts them in a strong position. In a sense it does put them in a strong position as they could use their bits of paper to receive high quality goods and services from the US and hence raise their standard of living, but for some reason the CCP doesn’t like this idea very much. I think you, like most people on this planet, confuse money (numbers in a computer) with wealth (productive capacity).

November 22, 2011 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

Because the US is issuing the treasuries, they are the ones in debt and paying interest – the thing is, as you mention, they have (limited) control over the value of the paper. The thing is that almost all of the currency is owned by American citizens, so the US government is limited in how it can manipulate its currency.

China may hold around a trillion USD, but its total net worth is roughly $18 trillion now. It’s really not that dramatic, considering conservative estimates project that this figure will rise to around $30 trillion in 2015. USD as a % of China’s total wealth is falling.

If I were in China’s position I’d invest far more money in the typical Chinese citizen, but perhaps they know something I don’t.

November 22, 2011 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

Just as a note GDP (very roughly) measures productive capacity, but wealth is accumulated assets – China is far richer than its GDP says it is, which still isn’t very rich. But compared to India and Africa most of Latin America and even Eastern Europe their wealth/GDP ratio is very high.

November 22, 2011 @ 3:03 pm | Comment

They’re peasants.

So? Do you have some irrational hatred of people who grow food? Are you some sort of super vegan who only believes in eating tree bark?

The real blue collar workers tend to vote KMT

What’s a “real” blue collar worker – someone who lives in a KMT Taipei stronghold?

Pretty much leaves the DPP with Japanophiles, peasants and chauvinists

1. Since when was liking Japan a crime?

2. How exactly do you measure chauvinists as a voting group? Is this based on objective data or a subjective hatred of the DPP?

3. Given the vote shares the DPP gets in national elections (and indeed got in the last local elections), there’s an awful lot of other people that vote for it – including women, teachers, gays, soldiers, white/blue collar workers, etc.

November 22, 2011 @ 9:33 pm | Comment

Since when was liking Japan a crime?

No one said it was a crime, but when one worships a certain race of people, any race, that is rather sick.

Just like there are unfortunately a lot of Asians who worship white people, esp Asian women worshipping white men simply because they are white, some Taiwanese worship their former Japanese colonial overlords. That is rather sick.

November 22, 2011 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

No one said it was a crime, but when one worships a certain race of people, any race, that is rather sick.

Being a Japanophile does not indicate worship of anything. Learn Greek.

November 23, 2011 @ 3:13 am | Comment

Anyway, back on topic.

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/201102a.brief.htm#002

Q11. What is your attitude towards unification versus independence?
61%: Maintain the status quo
21%: Lean towards independence
9%: Lean towards unification

Q12. If the choice exists, would you want Taiwan to become an independent nation or to be unified with China?
68%: Taiwan independence
18%: Unification with mainland China
14%: No opinion

Q13. In our society, some people think that they are Chinese while others think that they are Taiwanese. What do you think you are?
72%: Taiwanese
17%: Chinese
11%: Don’t know/refused to answer

Q14. What would you say that you are? Taiwanese? Chinese? Both?
50%: Taiwanese
43%: Both Taiwanese and Chinese
3%: Chinese
5%: Don’t know

November 23, 2011 @ 3:15 am | Comment

To Raj,
interesting. Is TVBS a reputable polling agency in Taiwan? Do they have political leanings?

Apart from the answers themselves, interesting to note that the key trends haven’t changed dramatically since 1989.

I wonder why 17% “think” they’re Chinese but only 3% “say” they are.

November 23, 2011 @ 3:33 am | Comment

SKC, TVBS is certainly Pan Blue leaning.

November 23, 2011 @ 4:19 am | Comment

Raj
So? Do you have some irrational hatred of people who grow food? Are you some sort of super vegan who only believes in eating tree bark?

I said peasants, not all farmers. Learn English. Pan-greens are peasants regardless of occupation.

1. Since when was liking Japan a crime?

Since when did I say it was?

2. How exactly do you measure chauvinists as a voting group? Is this based on objective data or a subjective hatred of the DPP?

Based on personal experience with DPP voters I know. And by chauvinists, I don’t mean the feminist boogeyman.

November 23, 2011 @ 4:29 am | Comment

Q11. What is your attitude towards unification versus independence

The status quo is not formal independence.

If the choice exists, would you want Taiwan to become an independent nation or to be unified with China?

Agree – immediate reunification would be stupid, if there was only a choice between that and “independence” independence is the better option.

November 23, 2011 @ 4:31 am | Comment

@SKC – Taiwan’s odd like that. A lot of people will deny seeing themselves as 中国人 but admit that they are 华人. Taiwan is not as simple as “everyone wants independence so they think of themselves as Taiwanese”. In truth, there’s not much of a clear idea of what being Taiwanese actually means, or why you cannot be both Chinese and Taiwanese. Were democracy suddenly to dawn on the mainland, there might still be a unification, but the chances of this occurring, even assuming an unlikely rapid liberalisation on the mainland, have definitely receded in Taiwan.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:18 am | Comment

FOARP, I don’t think you’re analysing the results closely enough.

Q13 asks whether people are Chinese or Taiwanese, whereas Q14 gives a third option of “both”.

So there are only 3% of Taiwanese surveyed who would see themselves as being entirely Chinese. Whereas 17% of those surveyed see themselves as mostly Chinese (but doubtlessly a bit Taiwanese too).

November 23, 2011 @ 6:58 am | Comment

To Raj,
I would interpret it differently. If more people “think” they belong to a certain group (ie the 17%) than are willing to expressly “say” so (ie the 3%), I would wonder if there might be a perceived stigma to saying what they actually think (in this case, about being “Chinese”). The perceived stigma might be present in the 14% who “think” they’re Chinese but aren’t prepared to “say” so. Of course, the choices Q13 and Q14 are sufficiently different to allow multiple interpretations.

November 23, 2011 @ 8:04 am | Comment

@S.K. Cheung — I have to say that that strikes me as a slightly odd interpretation — Raj’s seems preferable to me. The onus would be on someone taking such a counter-intuitive interpretation to motivate it, I would suggest, but my own personal, anecdotal experience seems to coincide with a more natural interpretation: 43 out of 100 consider themselves both “Chinese” and “Taiwanese”, but if pressed to choose, 14 out of 100 will choose “Chinese”, 22 out of 100 will choose “Taiwanese”, and the remainder join the “don’t know/refuse to answer” camp.

November 23, 2011 @ 1:09 pm | Comment

To Wilo,
I don’t know the answer, so I’m just guessing. The only way to know if there is a difference between what people “say” and what they “think” is if the choices were identical for both questions. Since they weren’t, this is entirely speculative.

I would agree with your interpretation if both questions asked what they “say”. I agree with how you divided up the “both” group in Q14 to make the numbers fit with Q13 (ignoring the fact that Q14 actually adds up to 101%). People might say they’re both Taiwanese and Chinese if given that choice, then have to choose one or the other if “both” is not an option. But my point is that what they say and what they think could very well represent different things, and I’m interested in why there would be such a difference.

November 23, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

On these questions, was “Chinese” as a nationality or an ethnicity? There’s a whole heap of Chinese here in New Zealand that are Kiwis but are Chinese, as it were. Us seems to be the same – are there any Americans – as just that? (Also like to know if there are any English-Americans. No one seems to be one…Scottish, Irish, German, Scandinavian, African, Chinese, Japanese, Korean….you name it, but not English. Guess being English just ain’t sexy… ;-) )

November 23, 2011 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

@Raj – My comment was a general one and does not specifically address the questionnaire. The fact is that only a very small percentage of Taiwanese want unification with PRC now, and that should be the bottom line as far as whether or not unification is desirable or not. All I was trying to do is add a bit of nuance – but this nuance does not change the big picture.

November 23, 2011 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

The fact is that only a very small percentage of Taiwanese want unification with PRC now, and that should be the bottom line as far as whether or not unification is desirable or not.

Absolute rubbish. The issue of Taiwan is something that concerns all Chinese, not just those Chinese who happen to live on Taiwan.

Just as I’m sure a lot of Americans would be unhappy about California and Texas one day leaving the US to join Mexico – even though eventually with demographic shifts in those states there may one day be a majority Hispanic population in both – indeed I think that is the case for California now.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:06 pm | Comment

@Mike – Like a friend of mine said: “no-one says they are ‘American-English’ because being American is being ‘American-English’”.

The questionnaire says “中国人” (or trad. characters to that effect) – so it refers to nationality, not the ethnicity/culture, which would normally be the meaning of “华人”. Although some people do try to argue that “中国人” and “华人” are the same thing, the people who will admit to being one and not the other seem to disagree.

But then I’m a ‘foreigner’ and don’t understand such things. La.

November 23, 2011 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

To Wayne:
there is no debate that only a distinct minority of Taiwanese want reunification with PRC now. So from a Taiwanese standpoint, there is no question that reunification is not desirable now or in the foreseeable future.

What you’re talking about is wanting to include the opinion of PRC citizens…which is ironic because the CCP doesn’t much care about the opinion of PRC citizens, so why make an exception here?

A majority Hispanic population in California etc doesn’t mean those people will want to join Mexico.

To FOARP:
yes, I certainly appreciated the traditional characters in that survey. I agree the three-word phrase is unclear as to whether it refers to ethnicity or nationality. The two-word phrase is technically more appropriate for reflecting ethnicity (although HKers often refer to themselves as Tang-ren). In fact, HKers would refer to their local Chinatown as “Tang-ren street”. The two-word phrase isn’t often used in colloquial speech.

November 24, 2011 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Dearest Wayne

Just as I’m sure a lot of Americans would be unhappy about California and Texas one day leaving the US to join Mexico

But Taiwan wouldn’t be joining anyone. It would be simply recognising what is already the case – that it is independent from the PRC (aka China) in every way. Whereas California and Texas are subordinate to Washington on a whole host of issues, both legally and effectively. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over those states and they have no independent military. Voters in those states elect representatives to Washington and play an equal part in presidential elections.

Now how does that compared to Taiwan?

November 24, 2011 @ 2:35 am | Comment

Raj
It would be simply recognising what is already the case – that it is independent from the PRC (aka China) in every way

Except not. Both the ROC and PRC recognize that Taiwan is part of a single nation divided. The peasant secessionists are no different from Texans and Californians who want independence.

November 24, 2011 @ 3:12 am | Comment

FYI, Richard, if you want to have a balanced dialogue on this website you can’t put menacing comments like “keep your eye on Wayne” in the comment threads.

November 24, 2011 @ 3:12 am | Comment

In short Raj, you will have to grasp at straws to deny the legitimacy of the ROC in order for your trolling to even resemble logic; in that case, the entire United States (as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are illegitimate states.

November 24, 2011 @ 3:13 am | Comment

Legitimacy is recognition by other states, not personal opinion. Should Taiwan declare independence and all other states accept it as independent, then it will be so. Should China invade and annex Taiwan nad other states accept that situation a la Tibet, then Taiwan will be a part of China.

God-given rights to bits of land aren’t a reason for ownership – no gods in existance hence the emptiness of that line of ownership.

November 24, 2011 @ 5:03 am | Comment

@SKC – Mainlanders have adopted the same phrase for Chinatowns, probably because most Chinatown residents are Cantonese speakers.

@Cookie – Does the PRC recognise the legitimacy of the ROC? Survey says: No. Hence CCP/KMT meet n’ greets being on a strictly party-to-party basis – because the PRC does not recognise the ROC.

Things would be much, much better if the PRC and ROC agreed to mutual recognition, however the CCP is so wedded to the “One China Principle” (for some reason China deserves special treatment that Germany, Korea, and Yemen never received) that it will never allow this. By de-legitimising the ROC through non-recognition, the PRC has made formal independence the only viable alternative. This is the exact opposite of the strategies by which Germany and Yemen successfully achieved unification.

November 24, 2011 @ 5:17 am | Comment

YI, Richard, if you want to have a balanced dialogue on this website you can’t put menacing comments like “keep your eye on Wayne” in the comment threads.

Sure I can. You don’t know his history. A balanced dialogue is exactly what he doesn’t want. I encourage any and all opinions. But not incredibly hateful abuse, which is Wayne’s signature trait.

I let Cookie Monster post, in the name of balance even if he often behaves as a borderline troll. I’m even letting Wayne post for now, until he shows his colors. Keep your eye on him.

November 24, 2011 @ 6:02 am | Comment

the entire United States (as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand)\

If one looks at the plight of the indigenous peoples in those countries they are about 1 or 2# of the population, New Zealand maoris are more.

Compare with Tibet – where Tibetans are about 80% of the population and who still use their own language on a daily basis, and whose culture receives huge governmental support.

Yes, if we wish to speak of legitimacy, the presence of white people in the aforementioned countries is completely illegitimate, if one were to say Han don’t belong in Tibet or Inner Mongolia or Xinjiang.

November 24, 2011 @ 6:17 am | Comment

Maybe, but it is as it is. All these countries are internationally recognised as they are. An Australian, New Zealander Canadian, American, etc are seen, internationally, as they are now. That is the way it is and it is acknowledged as being a result of imperialism and colonisation. So what. It is legitimate now. As is Han colonisation of the outlying provinces of the PRC. If the former is illegitimate, then so is the latter. If the latter is legitimate, then so is the former. No one has a right to a piece of land – if you own it, you own it until you don’t. T’was ever thus and will always be thus.
Han don’t have any right to any land due to some mystical god-given reason, they only have the right by conquest and colonisation. When they get kicked out, they lose that right, same as every other displaced and colonised population.

November 24, 2011 @ 6:40 am | Comment

Both the ROC and PRC recognize that Taiwan is part of a single nation divided.

Wrong. Whilst the CCP and KMT have a view that Taiwan is part of a China, their views on what China that is and how Taiwan should be treated are vastly different. The KMT believe the ROC is a legitimate state, whereas the PRC believes it to be illegal and running a rogue PRC province.

Then there’s the DPP and the majority of Taiwanese, who do not regard Taiwan as being part of China at all.

November 24, 2011 @ 6:59 am | Comment

FOARP
Things would be much, much better if the PRC and ROC agreed to mutual recognition, however the CCP is so wedded to the “One China Principle” (for some reason China deserves special treatment that Germany, Korea, and Yemen never received) that it will never allow this. By de-legitimising the ROC through non-recognition, the PRC has made formal independence the only viable alternative. This is the exact opposite of the strategies by which Germany and Yemen successfully achieved unification.

How is formal independence the only option as opposed to the status quo? To declare independence is a meaningless provocation. Anything in between is just whining. Taiwan needs a strong economy and strong military in order to maintain its relative independence until peace negotiations can be made.

November 24, 2011 @ 7:00 am | Comment

Raj
Wrong. Whilst the CCP and KMT have a view that Taiwan is part of a China, their views on what China that is and how Taiwan should be treated are vastly different. The KMT believe the ROC is a legitimate state, whereas the PRC believes it to be illegal and running a rogue PRC province.

You said I’m wrong and then you agreed with me. Both believe that China is one country, I said nothing about the definition. This is especially relevant when you have greedy opportunists and pissants trying to steal Chinese islands in the South China Sea. Shockingly, (really) this angle is rarely explored by the West’s press.

Then there’s the DPP and the majority of Taiwanese, who do not regard Taiwan as being part of China at all.

That’s not what the results of the poll you sourced say. They don’t consider themselves Chinese when forced to choose but it says nothing on whether or not Taiwan is part of China, and it is. It may not be part of the People’s Republic, but it’s part of China as of the 1600s. Even 47% of Taiwanese said they were both Chinese and Taiwanese. Not much of a majority when you include the Aborigines and common sense which are both on the “Chinese and Taiwanese” side.

November 24, 2011 @ 7:08 am | Comment

Perhaps Wayne has yet another moniker…

“When the Global Times English language editor, Richard Burger, runs an unmoderated cesspool of a website called “Peking Duck”, (www.pekingduck.org) and is itself banned in China, with editorial standards like that, what do you expect?”

Posted by: Wombadan | November 23, 2011 at 03:58 AM

Read more: http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/china/2011/11/pranking-the-global-times-ai-weiwei-and-a-lesson-in-propaganda.html#ixzz1eZkShLFq

November 24, 2011 @ 7:50 am | Comment

If China were stupid enough to make the trade

It’s nice to see that both American and Chinese patriots are in agreement on the disgraceful nature of Mr. Kane’s proposal. You are all to be congratulated on your clarity of thought. In the meantime, as an ex Marine Kane may be called on to explain the meaning of Semper Fi. Perhaps we could all chip in to buy him a Latin dictionary.

November 24, 2011 @ 9:26 am | Comment

America reserves such oaths for only a segment of its own population, not to its lapdogs of convenience.

You and I both know America would never shed a single drop of blood for an island whose people and culture they hold in utter contempt.

November 24, 2011 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Thanks for that link, canrun. At the moment these comments ARE a cesspool. I’m just too busy with other things to deal with it.

November 24, 2011 @ 11:12 am | Comment

The U.S. complained mightily about the British involvement in arming the Confederates during the U.S. civil war. See the Alabama Arbitration. oddly the U.S. thought it was a violation of international law for a foreign state to arm one side of a civil war. What’s the difference here. The U.S. is arming one side of an unresolved civil war? The U.S. has enough problems of its own. The U.S. is responsible for hundreds of thousands of dead in the Philippines between 1898 and 1906; hundreds of thousands of dead in China; hundreds of thousands of dead in Vietnam; Cambodia and Laos. The Americans should go home and stay home. The hypocritical Americans would bitch mightily if China started arming Hawaii [oh, another foreign country invaded and occupied by the Americans].

November 24, 2011 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

That’s EVIL and RACIST Steve. Hawaii is, was, and always will be a part of the United States of America!

November 24, 2011 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

“The U.S. is arming one side of an unresolved civil war?”
—unresolved civil war in name, yes. Though there’s talk of a peace treaty. That should remove the technicality, if it ever comes to pass.

November 24, 2011 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

Do Hawaiians actually want to leave the union? Do only 17% of Hawaiians think of themselves as Americans, and would only 3% of Hawaiians say they’re American? Cuz man, if that was the case, you’d have yourself a fantastic parallel. But if that’s not the case, then what you’ve got going on is more obtuse than parallel.

November 24, 2011 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

Both believe that China is one country

You were talking about nations – I’m talking about political parties. Just because you see the KMT as the only legitimate party in Taiwan doesn’t mean it has the God-given right to decide everything, especially if the public disagrees with it.

November 24, 2011 @ 3:54 pm | Comment

In fact China is extraordinarily popular in Africa.

Popular enough to win a presidential election there, by “whipping up not-so-subtle anti-Chinese sentiment”.

November 24, 2011 @ 4:27 pm | Comment

Link here: Opposition Leader Is Handed Reins in Zambia.

November 24, 2011 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

Good one, JR. The shotgun approach to industrial relations. You could see this coming if you read the Lusaka Times. Similar problems in Mozanbique, plus serious illegal migration and issues with Chinese shopkeepers.

Beside minerals/oil, outposts for excessive population, Beijing is also trying to establish food security sources in Africa.

November 24, 2011 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

Prospects in Africa get even dimmer when Mugabe falls off the perch. PRC provided the special blue tiles for the Mugabe residence, plus a fleet of buses which are rusting away in a warehouse.

November 24, 2011 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

Thread closed. Please use the open thread above to say anything left unsaid.

November 25, 2011 @ 12:32 am | Comment

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