China may consider using nukes after Taiwan destroys Three Gorges Dam

Funny, how one idiotic suggestion from the US Defense Department can spark a frenzy of angst and debate.

China should withdraw its undertaking on no first-use of nuclear weapons should Taiwan try to blow up the Three Gorges Dam, according to some parliamentary delegates.

The call was made by them – as well as some who sit on the country’s top political advisory body – in the wake of a recent US Defence Department report which suggested that Taiwan could target the dam in a pre-emptive strike.

That study sparked off a public debate in Taiwan on developing a military offensive strategy. In response, delegates to China’s National People’s Congress, the de facto parliament, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference wrote to the central government in Beijing, calling for it to revise its no-first-use pledge on nuclear weapons.

Their argument is that the undertaking needs to be changed now that the country is facing hostile forces planning attacks against its densely populated regions and the dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric project.

They feel that such strikes should be viewed as terrorist attacks and that China should use nuclear weapons as a deterrence.

Talk about opening a can of worms. Next time I hope we can be a bit more discreet when we make recommendations that, if ever carried out, would result in the deaths of untold millions of civilians.

The Discussion: 11 Comments

The call of using Nuke is crazy. It should be denounced as we should denounce the call of bombing dam.

The suggestion by pentagon and the applaud of people like Wayne and Conrad suggest that there are a group of people would love to see that Taiwan and China destroy each other. Taiwan can not destroy china. US can, but not without tremendous casualty and devastation of its major cities.

US lack of a vision of US-China relationship, so that pentagon will give this kind of stupid idea. As China economy grows, its nationalism will grow. This nationalism is dangerous and needs to be carefully managed. Kissinger has a good thought on managing China, though I know some people regard his as a crook and call him a spy for China.

June 19, 2004 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

Responding in kind, mass death for mass death was one of the principles that made the cold war cold.

If China didn’t nuke Taiwan as revenge then I’m pretty sure that if they did send soldiers the island would become one gigantic Mei Lay.

It was pretty silly to suggest mass murder and then be upset if the suggestion of mass murder if handed back.

June 19, 2004 @ 7:29 pm | Comment


US nationalism is HUGE, maybe it should be managed in the same way as you see China’s being managed.

June 19, 2004 @ 7:31 pm | Comment


Please. Is your observation one made from with the US? I think you’ve got such a small comprehension of what is actually considered US nationalism.

On my site you left the accusation that the US is only united through the use of violence.

Which is wholly inaccurate.

June 19, 2004 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

“US nationalism is HUGE, maybe it should be managed in the same way as you see China’s being managed.”

I do not know enough about US. I would like to offer my understanding of this issue. Correct me if I am wrong.

US is essentially a religious country, though not theocratic. Its sense of nationalism, to some extend, is a sense of superority of its puritan religion.

I think many Americans do not think they have nationalism. Instead, they have patriotism because of the success of its system. This system is set up by a group of puritanists and is deeply rooted in puritan religion. It is not surprising that they want to add “my God” to differentiate themselves from atheists.

I guess in US, anti-terrorism is regarded as sort of religious war, though this is officially denied. It is not coincidence that the word “crusade” comes out repeatedly and naturally. Religious zeal can do some good, but have also done tremendous damage to humankind in history. But I do not see how others can manage US.

June 19, 2004 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

For realists bombing the Three Gorges Dam by Taiwan, if the PLA were to try to invade, is not a shocking thought. The dam is a major vulnerability of the mainland. Can it be done? Sure. Will it be done? That just depends.

With the PLA reacting so strongly, one has to wonder if they even thought about the possibility before. Now they are. It just might change the military balance between the two.

June 20, 2004 @ 1:18 am | Comment


I understand what you are saying, and here’s what I would say about the religious notion.

The US is entirely more religious than it is nationalistic. To some extent, mainstream and conservative Americans mix their religious beliefs with patriotism, making the nationalism the angry chinese blogger talks about seem so huge.

But, inside the country are entire sections, states and even regions that do not have this thinking on such a huge level.

I’m talking about the west , mainly and upstate new york, to some extent.

in california’s ninth circuit court they are heavily trhing to excise “god” from government stuff.

June 20, 2004 @ 2:56 am | Comment

HK is right — it’s tough making generalizations about the American publicm, since it is such a divided, often polarized society. An average American in San Francisco is not the same as an average American in a small town in Alabama. The Puritan influence is still enormous, at least for a large segment of society, and this is something all politicians have to take into account.

The most dangerous trend we are seeing now is the movement to tie religion and nationalism together, as HK describes. This should be a cause for true alarm in a country founded on the principle of church-state separation. Needless to say, it is the Bush administration that has ctnically encouraged this co-joining and that stands to benefit from it. If you believe in Jesus, you can’t vote for a Democrat. This is really scary.

Sorry for taking us away from the topic of Taiwan-China.

June 20, 2004 @ 11:43 am | Comment

What the hell are you smoking, Steve? I live two or three miles from an air force base in Taiwan, where I get to wake up daily to the sound of fighter jet drills. I’m also a dedicated teacher who cares a lot about my students. Hence, both for purely selfish reasons and for sentimental reasons, I wholeheartedly prefer the non-destruction of Taiwan.

It is for that reason that I support that the ROC army develop a set of contingency responses to any sort of mainland aggression. Having the ability to strike back at China in order to slow down any sort of invasion would do more to deter a military invasion than to not have the ability.

China is not going to pre-emptively nuke Taiwan if Taiwan were to develop long range missiles that could take out the Three Gorges Dam. Chinese military generals tend to make Baghdad Bob (remember that guy?) look like sane.

That being said, the ultimate deterrant would be for Chen Shuibian to stop pushing a new constitution on the Taiwanese people, but that’s another topic.

June 21, 2004 @ 2:12 am | Comment


I’m not one of those people who reads the tabloids and think that they know a country, I’m not writting from the US right now, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not tuned in to what’s happening.

In my comment I didn’t mean that the US is united by committing acts of violence, I meant that in order for the politicians to draw support from both main parties they have to find a common issue that is supported by all parties, and currently this issue is “them and us”.

American politicians are using the less honorable side of patriotism to unite the people by providing them with a shared enemy.

June 21, 2004 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

The Malay-Polynesian Aboriginals have lived in Taiwan for millennia.

The first Han “Chinese”, primarily Fujianese along with some Hakka, were settled in Taiwan by Dutch Colonialists. More settled over the next three centuries, and they took all the best land and forced the Aboriginals into the less fertile mountains.

These Hans and their descendants, along with the descandants of Han-Aboriginal mixed-marriages, are generally known as Taiwanese, and their native languages are a Min language closely related to Fujianese known as either “Hoklo” or “Taiwanese” and Hakka.

Of these three groups, the Fujianese were politically and numerically the strongest, and were sometimes less than kind to both Hakka and Aboriginals.

After the Chinese Civil War, a new wave of Han Chinese (mostly Beijingese and almost entirely Mandarin-speaking) fled to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek, and establised Taipei as the temporary capital of the Republic of China.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, this government was generally recognised by the world as being the legitimate Chinese government.

These new “Mainlander” Hans used the wealth and military strength they brought over from China to set-up a one-party (Kuomintang) dictatorship that was repressive to the Taiwanese and the Aboriginals, frequently slaughtering thousands of rebels at a time (including the 2/28 Massacre, which made Tiananmen Square look like a run-of-the-mill domestic abuse case) in an era known as the White Terror.

Through the wealth and strength they possess, along with their knack for exploiting tensions between the Hoklo and the other groups already living on Taiwan, they were able to rule Taiwan through the late-80s, until Chiang II died and Lee Teng-hui, a Hakka who would later turn out to be a radical Taiwanese nationalist (unbeknownst to KMT hardliners at the time), lifted most of the restrictions on other political parties in response to a radical democratic and Taiwanese nationalist movement led primarily by Hoklo intellectuals that had been creting political tension in Taiwan throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This culminated in the dismissal of all lifetime members of the legislative Yuan (which became a democratic institution analogous to a western Parliament) and, in 1996, the first direct Presidential election, which Lee won easily.

Lee’s term was marked by a fairly anti-China policy and rhetoric about Taiwan being a separate country.

This angered KMT hardliners who identified themselves primarily as Chinese and still had plans to “reconquer” the “mainland”, leading to the formation of the People First Party, a hardline KMT off-shoot.

In the 2000 Presidential Election, Lee Teng-hui and the KMT backed Lien Chan, an inept political scientist with no sense of ethics or loyalty to Taiwan, while the PFP backed James Soong, the repressive ultra-right wing governor of Taiwan Province (the parts of Taiwan outside of the Metropolitan areas). Combined with allegations that Lee was secretly lending support to Democratic Progressive Party (a Hoklo-dominated left-liberal party of Taiwanese nationalism that is the descendant of the radical movement of the 70s and 80s) candidate Chen Shui-bian (Which I believe to be true), KMT-PFP vote splitting allowed Chen to become President with 38% of the popular vote.

Shortly after the election, Lee was stripped of the KMT chairmanship and ostracised from the party, leading (in combination with discontent about the DPP’s moderating stance on Taiwanese national and independence) to the formation of the radical centrist and ultra-nationalist Taiwan Solidarity Union, of which Lee is the spiritual leader and which has drawn support from the small Taiwan-centred faction of the KMT and more radically nationalist members of the DPP.

In 2004, the Pan-Green camp (DPP, TSU, plus the moribund Taiwan Independence Party) ran the Chen-Annette Lu ticket for re-election, while the Pan-Blue Camp (KMT, PFP, New Party (to a lesser extent)) ran a Lien-Soong ticket. As you all should known, Chen-Lu won the extremely controversial election by a few thousand votes.

The Pan-Blue camp generally supports very right-wing policies and now calls for “reunification” wih China (even under the CCP’s terms, as the Mainlanders would have far more power in a China-run Taiwan than in a non-Mainlander-run Taiwan) and closer economic ties, while the Pan-Green camp is more centre-left and ranges between support for the status quo and support for Taiwanese Independence and a renouncement of all territorial claims to China and to the “Republican of China” name.

As for why elections are so close, many Hakka and Aboriginals still back Pan-Blue candidates, although that’s gradually changing.

September 16, 2004 @ 7:22 am | Comment

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