China and Taiwan, inseparable as flesh is to blood

A photo album proves this to be so, China Daily insists. And if China Daily prints it, that’s good enough for me.

A photo album was published in Beijing Monday to mark the 60th anniversary of Taiwan’s return to China from Japanese occupation at the end of World War II….

The photo collection serves as convincing proof to the fact that as a inseparable part of China, Taiwan has, since the ancient times, been related to the Chinese nation as closely as flesh to blood, and that a kinship has always bound the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, said Tian, also the chairman of the Taiwan Guild Hall.

I’m glad that’s finally settled. All we needed as incontrovertible proof was this photo album!

In a related article, Xinhua further bangs the reunification drum:

The heroic Taiwanese did not yield to the atrocious rule of the Japanese aggressors in half a century, and they contributed to the final victory over the Japanese aggression, said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at the ceremony.

“Their deeds will be recorded in Chinese history forever,” he said.

He also called on Taiwan compatriots to remember the history and carry forward the patriotism to oppose Taiwan independence and build peaceful and stable relations across the Taiwan Straits. “Let’s strive for the peaceful reunification and rejuvenation of China,” he said.

“…the atrocious rule of the Japanese aggressors.” That raises a serious question: Was the rule of the Japanese aggressors over the Taiwanese more or less “atrocious” than the rule of the CCP over the Chinese? Would those Taiwanese under the Japanese have given it up for the privilige of living under the magnanimous leadership of Mao? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Discussion: 63 Comments

Chen Yunlin made no mention of how the Taiwanese declared independence from China in order to continue the fight against the Japanese, after sovereignty of their island had been officially handed over to Japan. Perhaps some day a Taiwanese reporter can ask him whether their actions were patriotic or not. I’d love to see him answer that one.

October 24, 2005 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

Hmm … atrocious rule by Japanese vs atrocious rule by KMT vs atrocious rule by CCP, a hard one to decide. If Taiwan’s *really* lucky it’ll get all three!

Funny how things change though isn’t it? In the 1930s Mao was supporting Taiwan’s fight for independence. Nowadays it seems they weren’t fighting for independence at all, but to be ruled by China. Oh well, just another thing that Mao got wrong i guess …

October 24, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

I wonder how all those thousands of Taiwanese who went into the imperial army to fight for the emperor managed to fight those dastardly Japanese?

October 24, 2005 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

So even before the first Han Chinese settled here 300-400 years ago, the aborigines of Taiwan were ‘related to the Chinese nation as closely as flesh and blood’? I wonder who else is destined to be unilaterally assimilated before they even know about it?

October 24, 2005 @ 8:49 pm | Comment

“More than 160 photos and 28 articles are on show…, including a sword, a party flag and a Chinese brush pen which were used in the war against Japanese aggression.”

Does someone at Xinhua have a sense of humour?

October 24, 2005 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

“Xinhua and reality, as inseperable as oil and water.” ๐Ÿ˜€

Reading that stuff is kind of like reading the Bible. If you beleive it, no amount of facts, reasoning, or logic is going to tell you otherwise. The issue has become religion.

October 24, 2005 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

“So even before the first Han Chinese settled here 300-400 years ago, the aborigines of Taiwan were ‘related to the Chinese nation as closely as flesh and blood’? I wonder who else is destined to be unilaterally assimilated before they even know about it?”

yes, they are.

1. aboriginal Taiwanese are ancestors of philippino/malay/pacific islanders. but it is widely believed that they migrated from southern china 10-20k years ago.

2. everybody in this world is sort of related by blood and flesh, if dated back long enough

3. i think the first Han settlement dated back to 300-400AD, but only about 400+ years ago there was settlement in larger scale. Most of those who wants independence belong to this group

October 24, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Man. That’s just sick. I think I’ll pass on blogging on this.

October 24, 2005 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

1. aboriginal Taiwanese are ancestors of philippino/malay/pacific islanders. but it is widely believed that they migrated from southern china 10-20k years ago.

Actually, as this article notes, the Chinese and Taiwan aborigine populations have been separated for at least 10K years, and no one is clear where on the mainland the Taiwanese aborigines originated from.

“Taken together, these results suggest that Taiwanese aboriginal populations have genetically been isolated from mainland Chinese for 10 000 to 20 000 years, though the whereabouts of their origin in the Asian region is still unclear. These results also show that Polynesian migration most likely originated from people identical to the aboriginal Taiwanese.”

Of course, they are probably from the place where the Han expanded into and annihilated or absorbed the local tribes. It’s a case of assimilating A so you can then claim you are assimilated to B and absorb them too.

Michael

October 24, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

On the bit about the brutal Japanese rule, remember that in at least one Taiwanese saying, the Japanese are tied to dogs…who are brutal, but respect property and the law. The Chinese are tied to pigs who respect neither law, nor property and consume everything in their path. The point: sure, a lot of Taiwanese welcomed the return of Chinese rule in 1945. But they soon began to regret it.

October 24, 2005 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

If China has a 5,000 year history then how were people from southern China doing anything 10- 20K years ago?

October 25, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

The argument that shared genetic heritage has anything to do with sovereignty is a false one from the start. So who cares how many years ago they parted ways?

October 25, 2005 @ 12:07 am | Comment

“i think the first Han settlement dated back to 300-400AD”

Care to substantiate this?

October 25, 2005 @ 12:18 am | Comment

” the aborigines of Taiwan were ‘related to the Chinese nation as closely as flesh and blood’?”

Sun Bin:

“yes, they are

1. aboriginal Taiwanese are ancestors of philippino/malay/pacific islanders. but it is widely believed that they migrated from southern china 10-20k years ago.

2. everybody in this world is sort of related by blood and flesh, if dated back long enough”

I hope you are writing tongue in cheek!

October 25, 2005 @ 12:27 am | Comment

Filthy said: The argument that shared genetic heritage has anything to do with sovereignty is a false one from the start. So who cares how many years ago they parted ways?

A-f**king-men.

October 25, 2005 @ 1:05 am | Comment

read my point 2.

we are all the same people!
‘period’

October 25, 2005 @ 2:22 am | Comment

Like it or not, Japanese rule of Taiwan brought good as well as harm. Japan built railroads, factories and modernized Taiwan’s farming systems. Japan also invested heavily in providing Taiwanese with a basic education far suprior to that on the mainland.

Japan wanted the island to be ‘the model colony’ and to use it as a showcase to the rest of the world to weaken resistance to the idea of a Japanese empire.

The people of Taiwan may have suffered (and they most certainly did), but the island gained more from 50 years of Japanese occupation than it ever did from X centurie or Chinese rule.

Had Japan not invaded Taiwan, it would not have been able to stand on its own after the war like it did.

October 25, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment

Sadly, I have to say I agree with ACB on the merits of Japanese rule in Taiwan. Ironic, isn’t it, how actions so condemnable by nature (illegal occupation/military invasion) could sometimes lead to good outcomes?

The “Chinese by blood” argument is laughably ridiculous when you’re talking 10K + years. No way was there even a fleshed-out concept of “China” or “Chinese” identity during the -what, last ice age? sorry my history is crap – so it’s pretty much a moot point.

And I cringe at the “every one on earth is related” argument. It’s totally irrelevant, unless some extremist cosmopolitanist wants to use that rationale to justify a Pangeaic, “stateless” nation-state then.

I would argue more on the grounds of continuity of existing culture and language (among the Taiwanese majority at least) that (re)unification between PRC and ROC is a valid and desireable option. Culture and language, I believe, go much deeper than differences of political system (which are after all arbitrary and mutable.) If China makes efforts to democratize politically, I believe that would go quite some ways towards lessening the enimity, fear and distrust from Taiwanese separatists.

October 25, 2005 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Nausicaa, are you sure you live on the other side of the Strait, and not in Berkeley?
China making efforts to democratize would go a long way to easing enmities, distrust etc.
But by democratizing it means going after the whole nine yards, including transparency, rule by law, freedom of press, religion etc. etc.

Taiwanese (not necessarily the waishengren) don’t see themselves as separatists; they achieved what Sun Yat-sen was seeking over 100 years ago; government of the people, by the people and for the people. (Though I do have my doubts if Sun exactly understood all that meant or if he really wanted all of it)

As Dave had said, “atrocious rule by the Japanese vs. atrocious rule by the KMT vs. atrocious rule by the CCP” vs. democracy with its own problems; I feel pretty sure where the Taiwanese will come down.

I think form of government especially a democracy you struggled for will go deeper than language and culture and those who won the democracy will not be that eager to trade it.

Language and culture are not lost in the process; besides as many feel, Taiwan is a better preserver of that language and culture anyway.

October 25, 2005 @ 9:09 am | Comment

ACB, that is exactly how the Japanese are teaching the war to their young, and you, apparently, have been brainwashed too. What is with you, quit defending the Japanese. Its as offensive as defending hitlet in front of a Jew.

You may as well use the “lofty” hopes Hitler had for the Aryan race to justify the mass killing of Jews.

Bayonetting babies and bursting people’s bellies after filling them up with water, which are just some of the torture techniques consciously and systematically administered employed by the Japs, DOES NOT justify any amount of economic progress the Japanese could have achieved.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Ok, I have to jump in.

The argument that Japan “built a lot of infrastructure, built the farming system, improved Taiwanese lives”, and therefore Japanese is “not all that bad for Taiwan” is what I call a “sophistry” argument. And one which we’ve heard many many many many times. When Japan invaded China, they also helped build infrastruture in China’s Northeast, and a lot of those Japanese soldiers were actually very friend to locals, and even gave candies to local kids, and all the local kids liked them.

If Nazi Germany occupied Poland today, and built a lot of infrastruture, built the farming system, and improved Polish’s lives, should Poland then welcome the occupation and forget about their sovereignty?

A lot of you always say “I’m not saying that Japanese rule for Taiwan was totally justified, but you have to admit they treated the Taiwanese better than the Chinese did!” YES! I totally admit that! The Japanese indeed treated Taiwanese a lot better than Chinese did, and modernized Taiwan more than KMT/CCP combined. But, my question is, “WHAT IS YOUR POINT?”

If I go to your house, drive out your family, beat your husband, and then force myself to be your spouse and live in your house, and if I treat you better than your own husband, buy you all sorts of things, renovate your house, send your kids to the best school, make love to you every night, etc etc. Does that make my occupation of your house “Not all that bad?”

Well, maybe your 5-year-old child may think it’s not all that bad, cause their original father was a total asshole, and may grow to like the “new father”. But what about yourself, as an adult? Are you on the same level as your 5-year-old child?

October 25, 2005 @ 10:22 am | Comment

correction: “hitler” not hitlet

October 25, 2005 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Zhang Qiang, I find your analogy too difficult to work with, since I can’t really picture you making love to me every night. Nor do I want to.

A lot of you always say “I’m not saying that Japanese rule for Taiwan was totally justified, but you have to admit they treated the Taiwanese better than the Chinese did!” YES! I totally admit that! The Japanese indeed treated Taiwanese a lot better than Chinese did, and modernized Taiwan more than KMT/CCP combined. But, my question is, “WHAT IS YOUR POINT?”

That would be my point exactly, Zhang: that you have to admit they did some good things. Not that it justifies invasion or imperialism, but that good things came from bad things. That is exactly the point for me.

The other point I’d mention is that if not for Japanese invasion, Taiwan may have spent all this time under the CPC, in which case it wouldn’t have preserved traditional culture (the Cultural Revolution would’ve destroyed it there too), wouldn’t have experienced alternative systems of government and wouldn’t be the trade middleman neccessary for the Mainland’s economic boom (never would have all those international trade ties).

That doesn’t mean that therefore I approve of Japan occupying Taiwan. If you say anyone who sees accidental benefits to occupation as an “apologist”, as “me” does, then you’re the one using specious reasoning, since these are not one and the same.

A better analogy might be you were on the way to the airport, but the taxi driver kidnapped you. When you finally escaped your kidnapper, you found out your flight had crashed into the ocean. You don’t thank your kidnapper (who had no knowledge or concern about your flight), but you did escape a worse fate.

October 25, 2005 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

You see, that’s the problem. You say “That would be my point exactly, Zhang: that you have to admit they did some good things. Not that it justifies invasion or imperialism, but that good things came from bad things. That is exactly the point for me.”

But what is your MOTIVATION in saying that? I find it hard to believe that you are just saying “the Japanese did some good things, I’m not saying that justifies imperialism, but YOU DO HAVE TO ADMIT they did some good things.” I mean, what is your implicit message? You claim you have no implicit message, and that you are simply making an observation. Well, I find that hard to believe. I claim that you are hinting that the Japanese occupation, after all, MAY NOT BE ALL THAT BAD. Even though you deny it, but you are still subtly hinting at it. Or at least subconsciously, you think “you know, if you think about it, what’s so bad about Japan occupying Taiwan?”

If someone says, “You know, a lot of Jews who were put in concentration camps were able to live longer, since they would’ve died as civilian casualties much more quickly and earlier if they were not isolated. Of course that does not justify the Nazi’s atrocious crimes, but hey you have to admit some jews lived longer in concetration camp.. That’s all I’m saying… Now bye…”

What would you think about that perosn? See, my point exactly.

October 25, 2005 @ 3:57 pm | Comment

ZQ, your argument is logically inconsistent. You analogize Taiwanโ€™s colonial treatment with the extermination of Jews. The Jews did not possess a state that was colonized. The Jews were exterminated, along with many of their communities. There were no tangential benefits that accrued. You also make an outstanding assertion that those who mention the benefits of Imperial Japanโ€™s, in the same vein, imply that therefore colonial rule was โ€œnot that bad.โ€ This statement however requires comparative analysis to what could have been CCP rule, and what was Chiang-KMT rule. Yet you fail to contextualize it, and view it in a vacuum. Your implication is not found in any of the previous posts. You are simply inserting your mindset into the views of other posters.

I think that the โ€œpointโ€ about mentioning Japan is to highlight the many ironies of Chinaโ€™s views of the island. First, despite all the self-congratulatory talk China engages in about Taiwanโ€™s โ€œretrocession,โ€ what the communists/nationalists supposedly did for Taiwan, how Taiwan and the Mainland are โ€œflesh and blood,โ€ etc., the reality is that the CCP, Chiang-KMT, and Imperial Japan were all undemocratic dictatorships vying to rule the island. Another irony is that the mainland constantly speaks of Japanโ€™s imperialism, without acknowledging that Chiang-KMT rule was far worse, and CCP rule would have been an unmitigated disaster for Taiwan. It is further ironic that the CCP prevents and suppresses native Taiwanese expressions of sovereignty, while bemoaning how Imperial Japan oppressed the Taiwanese.

Husband 1 gave me nothing to work with, and was not only abusive but neglectful. Husband 2 was less abusive, but let me develop to a point where I was better-off after having escaped the relationship. Both treated me like property. To answer your hypothetical, Iโ€™d prefer the one who treated me better, but would nonetheless wish to escape from any abusive relationship.

October 25, 2005 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

All these arguments about Japan in Taiwan could be applied to China in Tibet.

October 25, 2005 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

“Bayonetting babies … just some of the torture techniques consciously and systematically administered by the Japanese”

Did the Japanese systematically bayonet babies in Taiwan? Anyone know anything about this?

Or is somewhat (presumably) Chinese conflating Japanese colonialism with the Rape of Nanking in order to bolster their argument?

October 25, 2005 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

To Jerome: I am a self-identified mainlander (Beijinger)who’s lived most of my life there and who is currently study in the States, actually in D.C. Berkeley? Non non. Anyway Berkeley is hardly the bastion of outre blueness it was in the 70s.

Democratization is a long, difficult process; it is NOT by nature absolutist, nor is the wholesale “whole nine yards” approach necessarily the best (see democratization failures in Africa.)

And face it, China at this point in time can’t just go: authoritarian government -> BAM! -> yay, democracy. Well, not if you want the transformation to be anything but cosmetic, at least. And there HAS been democratization in China, even if you haven’t noticed it. You mentioned rule of law, for example; well, taken into account that rule of law is a relatively new concept to Chinese governance (well, except for that one time, way back…when Qin flirted with legalism…and we all know how that turned out), there has been the gradual entrenchment of civil law and commercial law, thanks to the establishment of legal institutions in the private sectors. And surely, surely one of the fundamental tenets of democracy – along with transparency and freedom of speech and all that good shit you mentioned – is assurance of property rights? In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most important.

And decentralization reforms…that a step in the right direction, as well. Now I know there’s posters out there who are gonna go, “Aha! Like any good CCP drone she’s just arguing for ‘democracy, with Chinese characteristics!'”, no I’m not. I just think complete democratization will -and ideally should – take time. So for Westerners to always bash the “you’re not democratizing!” (by which they mean swallow the whole hog) in any argument concerning China-Taiwan (re)unification is pretty darn unrealistic. China IS democratizing, will hopefully democratize further (esp. in the political realm), so there’s no reason for the pro-Taiwan factions like Lee Teng hui’s to be hostile to the possibility for reunification some time in the future.

As for language and culture, no, I do believe they are stronger ties than democracy alone. Otherwise, the separatist movement in Taiwan would have gained dominance by now. And no, I wasn’t arguing that if Taiwan doesn’t (re)join China, it will somehow lose its cultural heritage. I was pointing to cultural heritage as the foundation of commonality between the PRC and the ROC. Take away difference in political systems, and they’re not as distinct of societies as the Taiwanese separatists would believe.

Oh, and “separatist” is a CCP term, I admit it. But you know what I meant, don’t quibble over semantics. Writing “activists for formal independence and sovereignty and international recognition of a Republic of Taiwan” is just too unwieldy. ๐Ÿ˜›

October 25, 2005 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

To bathrobe: eh, double standards. Not that the similarities make either the Taiwanese or Tibetan occupation any more legitimate. Good may (and I would say, did) come out of both of them, but in neither case does the good justify the illegitimacy of rule.

October 25, 2005 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

Zhang, I’m not subtly hinting at anything. You’re reading your own interpretation into what I’m saying. The holocaust comparison is almost as difficult to see as a reasonable analogy as your wife beating one; for my sake, please stop trying to argue by analogy. As others pointed out, Taiwan was hardly a concentration camp. The Japanese weren’t trying to exterminate the Taiwanese, it wasn’t another Nanjing – they wanted it to look good. Colonialism is not the same animal as genocide – they sometimes go hand in hand, but are not equivalent – so I find your comparison inappropriate.

You seem to think that to say some thing good came of some thing bad is the same as to say that the people who did the bad thing were good people. Because of the Nazis atrocities, laws, international bodies and concepts such as genocide now exist to try to deal with and prevent such disasters. Does that make the Nazis atrocities good or necessary? No. But can we draw value and benefit from terrible experiences? Yes. Unfortunately alot of people draw only hate from those experiences.

October 25, 2005 @ 6:43 pm | Comment

To try to summarize the Taiwan reaction (they don’t see themselves as all that distinct societies but that is in reaction to PRC strongarm tactics)

Taiwan would say, When you get to where we are in democratization, let’s talk about a relationship. Till then get off our backs with all this brotherhood/sisterhood etc crap!
(To paraphrase an above analogy) We have had enough abusive relationships in the past to even consider you.

October 25, 2005 @ 7:00 pm | Comment

To add to DavesgoneChina comment above, anyone want to discuss the pros and cons of British colonialization of Hong Kong?

October 25, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

Dave, you’re barking up the wrong tree. What Zhang is talking about is SOVEREIGNTY, nothing else. His/her point is, NOTHING can excuse another country’s depriving China of SOVEREIGNTY over a part of its claimed territory.

I cited Tibet because people like Zhang are (I’m sorry, Zhang) hypocrites. Of course, this can only degenerate into a long argument over whether China’s claims of sovereignty over Tibet are justified. ๐Ÿ™

Mongolia might be more interesting. Mongolia is historically claimed by China. Using Zhang’s logic, it is simply unacceptable that “the local bully (Russia) came and kicked the husband out of his concubine’s house and let her go and do what she wanted (independence), while actually keeping her as a mistress (independent under Russian protection). She might be happy as she is, especially as the bully is now too weak to push her around, but no matter what, she rightfully belongs to her original husband (China)”.

Even though Mongolia is economically poor I am sure it is happier being master in its own house than being part of China. But that should cut no ice with the Zhangs of this world. Come on, Zhang, follow your logic through. It’s time to reassert Chinese SOVEREIGNTY over Mongolia. It’s still not too late! Wasn’t it 1924 that Mongolia got independence? A couple of hundred years never stood in the way of Chinese claims of sovereignty!

(Or is Zhang just being selective in his application of logical analogies?)

October 25, 2005 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

Why stop there…
Vladivostok and 350,000 square miles of territory in Siberia were once administered by the Qing. The Russian Tsar took that territory in an “unequal treaty”.
The Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) were Ming vassals and China and Japan went to war over their status in the 1870s. After China’s defeat Japan annexed the islands.
Since Han Wu-ti’s conquest of Korea in the second century BC, Korea has been subject of various Chinese sovereignty claims. To this day the land border between PRC and North Korea remains disputed. The PRC conveniently ignores the circumstances in Korea that led to China’s loss of Taiwan as a spoil of the war that resulted from the Qing determination to retain its overlord status in Korea.

October 25, 2005 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

“Taiwan would say, When you get to where we are in democratization, let’s talk about a relationship. Till then get off our backs with all this brotherhood/sisterhood etc crap!”

Fair enough. I don’t approve of the PRC aggressively banging the reunification drum using the “long lost brother/son” tactic, neither. Things should proceed on their own accord without coercion. All I’m saying is for the Taiwanese to “give reunification a chance” (as some of them have), instead of treating it as a “ne’er the twain shall meet” situation (as the separatists are.)

“(To paraphrase an above analogy) We have had enough abusive relationships in the past to even consider you.”

Fair enough again. I dont’ blame ’em, given Taiwan’s history. But rejection of China does mean accepting the fact that Taiwan cannot be counted as a sovereign nation by 95% of the international community. I wish it weren’t so, but them’s the breaks.

October 25, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

One point that noone else has mentioned: if Taiwan really is inseparable from China, then why did China give it away to Japan in the first place?

My history is a bit hazy, but it was either because China lost it in a po ker game with Japan, or because they were worried about losing a bit of their empire that they actually cared about. It certainly had nothing to do with Japan invading Taiwan.

Shouldn’t China be apologising to Taiwan for imposing 50 years of atrocious Japanese rule on the poor island?

October 25, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

First, shouldn’t Japan apologize to Taiwan “for imposing 50 years of atrocious Japanese rule on the poor island”?

And shouldn’t Japan apologize to China for starting the First Sino-Japanese War with unjust cause (through military coercion of the Korean government), leading ultimately to its cessation of Taiwan?

I hope you’re being glib. Let’s not do the blame game.

And I think China pretty much agreed to all of Japan’s terms in the very much unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki – including ceding Taiwan and the pescadores, Port Arthur and Liaodong peninsula (though these were later rescinded); there was no successful tradeoff by which they managed to keep “another part of their empire” through giving up Taiwan. I mean, China was freakin’ PWNed by Japan. I doubt they had much (or, any) leverage in the treaty negotiations.

October 25, 2005 @ 9:40 pm | Comment

Well, whatever the circumstances in which Taiwan was ceded, I don’t think the Chinese would regard the cession as “legitimate” (and in that they may have a point). But talking about how “legitimately” countries come into possession of territories isn’t always very productive.

If the way Taiwan was brought under Japanese control (no one says ‘sovereignty’ here ๐Ÿ™‚ ) is not ‘legitimate’, then what about the way countries under Qing ‘suzerainty’ were forcibly and violently brought under the ‘sovereignty’ of the PRC? Nor do many other forcible conquests or annexations by other countries seem very legitimate, either. So the righteous indignation of the Chinese over Taiwan rings rather hollow.

October 25, 2005 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

Nope, the way by which countries were brought under Qing rule were probably not legitimate, neither. Assimilation through military conquest is almost never legitimate. But those countries no longer exist, so it’s a moot point. They’re ghosts of history.

I was indignant only because David suggested that China is the one that should be held responsible for and apologize for Japan’s colonialization and treatment of Taiwan. heLLO?! We couldn’t help it. We were the vanquished in a war that the Japanese by all means started. My rebuttals to him were obviously meant to be taken as sarcastic.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

There was a saying in Taiwan, blood is thicker than water, except for(5%) like Lee Teng Hui who are proud that his mother was tainted by the Japanese. Who firmly believes that the Japanese race is superior to the aiwanese-Chinese race.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

Vivien, I hope you’re not for real, or China has one more problem to deal with, namely you.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

huh?

October 25, 2005 @ 10:31 pm | Comment

How can taiwan be happy under the rule of the japanese when these same people are murdering chinese people in other parts of the world just because of their race?

Take singapore for instance, the bayonetting and water torture happened here, and many singaporeans have relatives in taiwan.

Would you want to be colonised by a country whose soldiers are murdering your own kind in another country?

What is ridiculous is that people will readily side with Tibet and Mongolia against China, but people will try to defend Japan for what can only be described as a rape of many countries.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

nausicaa: Actually, my post was in reply to David. Although it looks like a neat counterpost to you :), in fact I didn’t see your response till after I posted.

“Nope, the way by which countries were brought under Qing rule were probably not legitimate, neither”

I was actually talking about the way the ‘suzerainty’ of the Qing was transformed into the ‘sovereignty’ of the PRC. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there is a difference. I doubt the Qing could have played around with Tibet’s borders without consulting them, or at least sending in an army in to force them to give up territory in the same way as they would a sovereign state. But under the ‘sovereignty’ of the PRC, the central government has the ‘sovereign right’ to do with Tibet’s borders what it wants, giving big sections to one province or another. I don’t think that was the original deal ๐Ÿ™‚ But I may be wrong.

“But those countries no longer exist, so it’s a moot point. They’re ghosts of history.”

Well, some of these ghosts keep refusing to lie down and die! You might question how much chance they have of breaking off from China, but unfortunately Tibet is not completely dead yet, nor is “East Turkestan”.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

“me”: What is ridiculous is that people will readily side with Tibet and Mongolia against China, but people will try to defend Japan for what can only be described as a rape of many countries.

Who on earth is defending Japan for their rape of other countries? No one.

The issue is, did the people of Taiwan suffer more under the Japanese than the people of the mainland did under the CCP? I think the answer is no, they did not. We are only talking about the degree of their suffering – we are not defending japan or saying they had a right to be there. Just that for the Taiwanese, life under the CCP would have been a 9.5 on the suffering scale, while under the Japanese it was probably more like a 6.

October 25, 2005 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

me, we know you hate the Japs. But Taiwan was a colony from 1896 and was under Japanese civilian occupation for a long time. The situation was slightly different from areas that were invaded during WWII by the Imperial Japanese Army. There are also places in China where anti-Japanese sentiment is not so strong, e.g. Dalian, which had a long period of contact with Japanese civilians, not vicious Imperial Army soldiers. OK, it was the same country (Japan) with the same imperialist expansion policiies, admitted. But there is a difference.

Your argument seems to be “We’re all Chinese and if we hate the Japs in Singapore then you in Taiwan should hate them, too”. Very nice!

October 25, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

VIVI: “except for(5%) like Lee Teng Hui who are proud that his mother was tainted by the Japanese”

The word “tainted” is a giveaway. This is a racist post, in case you didn’t notice.

October 25, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

Bathrobe: ah, sorry, in my hasty reading of your post, I’d gotten your point confused. My bad. Yes, there is a difference between suzerainty and sovereignty, though sometimes the difference is more nominal and symbolic than anything else. I should have picked up once you got into “Qing suzerainty” that you were obviously talking about Tibet (and by extension other historically tributary states later converted in “Chinese” territory based on claims of historical sovereignty.)

I’ve stated elsewhere and I’ll state it again, but I don’t believe in the Chinese occupation of Tibet for reasons not only including Tibet’s historical suzerainty status, but also military coercion from the CCP, cultural schism, etc, so you’re pretty much preachin’ to the choir, here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

That said, I also recognize that the issue’s quite complex. For instance, one could make the case for Tibet and Uyguristan’s present status as autonomous regions/titular nations as being parallel to their historical status as suzerainties/vassal states. Also, after years under (legitimate or not) Chinese rule, which ethnic minorities qualify for independence, and which do not? If all 56 of them want independence from China, should they be allowed to? And what about the Chechens in Russia? The Basques in Spain? Don’t they have a legitimate argument for sovereignty? But has that sovereignty been granted? (rhetorical question)

All in all, it’s more ambiguous politics than I can handle.

October 26, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

And no, even under present-day Chinese sovereignty, the government can’t just redraw Tibet’s borders and give chunks of Tibet to other provinces.

October 26, 2005 @ 12:26 am | Comment

nausicaa: I agree the issue’s quite complex and I don’t have any real issue with what you say. Just one thing in the last paragraph:

“If all 56 of them want independence from China, should they be allowed to?”

Well, yes, it’s a tricky one. I don’t swallow the line that if you give the Tibetans independence you’ve got to give independence to everyone down to the tiny Russian (Eluosi) minority, the Gin (ethnic Vietnamese), etc. I doubt that many of these nationalities will ever agitate for independence or even have a viable basis for forming a state. But I do agree that it could be messy. For instance, what to do with the Chaoxian and Mongolian minorities, which have their own ethnic states next door. It could be a Pandora’s box.

October 26, 2005 @ 12:36 am | Comment

“even under present-day Chinese sovereignty, the government can’t just redraw Tibet’s borders and give chunks of Tibet to other provinces”

I was just wondering how those big chunks of Tibet were handed over to Qinghai and Sichuan. Perhaps I am labouring under a misapprehension.

October 26, 2005 @ 12:38 am | Comment

I had a look. It appears that the current Tibetan Autonomous Region coincides with the area of effective control of the pre-“Liberation” Tibetan government. Tibet didn’t control Amdo.

October 26, 2005 @ 12:56 am | Comment

Yeah…I was puzzling over that. I thought there were some startling new developments in China in terms of redrawing provincial boundaries. And I was like, GEEZ, I really, really need to read the news more. :O

You *were* talking about how China incorporated Amdo and Kham into the neighboring provinces during PLA occupation in the early 50s, right?

Anyway, sorry, To clarify I was only taking about TAR “Tibet”, to use the good ol’ CCP’s definition of “Tibet”. The boundaries of historic/pre-occupation Tibet really varies depending on if we’re defining Tibet as a cultural or political entity.

October 26, 2005 @ 2:00 am | Comment

nausicaa – yes i was being facetious with my suggestion that China should apologise to Taiwan. However, there was a point hidden in there (somewhere).

If you were a Taiwanese in 1895, what do you think your feelings to China would be when you find you have been given to Japan – due to a conflict you have no interest or involvement in several hundred miles away? Bravely sacrificing yourself for the greater good of China, or a feeling of betrayal?

Perhaps, that is one of the reasons that the anti-Japanese movements in Taiwan were nearly all looking towards independence rather than reunification. Also one of the reasons for Taiwanese distrust of external control (whether from imperial China, Japan, KMT or CCP).

October 26, 2005 @ 6:58 am | Comment

nausicaa: yes, I was talking historically. Sorry for misleading you there.

October 26, 2005 @ 7:25 am | Comment

bathrobe, I’m not suggesting racism by hating the Japanese. my argument is not as you nicely put it “”We’re all Chinese and if we hate the Japs in Singapore then you in Taiwan should hate them, too”.

It’s that the Japanese are torturing your relatives in SEA, and had you not been born in the strategically- located Taiwan, but if your ancestors had decided to head down the straits, you would be minced meat too!

There would have been perfectly good reason to be wary of the Japanese, when the same taiwanese guy would be bayoneted had he been in singapore.

And who is any bystander to speculate on a scale that being under the Japanese rule is a 6, while under the CCP it’s higher? Were you there? Since I’ve only heard anecdotes of the Japanese occupation from my grandma, and have no idea about what it was like under the CCP, so I would shy from trying to draw comparisons.

If you think it’s perfectly alright to start this debate for discussion purposes, then why begrudge the guy who made that ridiculous post about the Iraq war? Afterall, it seems you feel that the internet is about objectively discussing statistics, objectives and end results, not about actual individual human accounts of what really happened.

My post was aimed at ACB who makes stupid comments like, the economic gains in some way mitigate the horror of the Japanese Occupation. It is just downright offensive to hear, when my grand-uncles were taken away mysteriously forever by the Japs.

My indignance at having someone even suggest that the Japanese should be credited for any economic progress they may have achieved is not unlike your indignance at losing 2000 from the Iraqi war and having people make light of the whole thing.

Please note that I am not a Chinese from the PRC, and my sources of information are from the internet, and anecdotal stories.

October 26, 2005 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Me, your comments are well taken, but by the same logic, what I and many fail to grasp are why that is not applied to Mao etc. i.e. Mao is not hated or even drastically criticized by some for what he did.

i.e. it sounds like, Mao was great, sure he killed or was responsible for what he did, but as long as it was not my family or relatives, then I am all for what he did for China’s economic greatness and her rising to be a super power. Mao and others seem to be given the privilege of ends justify means where others are not.

30% wrong, 70% right (and those % could be disputed) does not quite cut it.

October 26, 2005 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

me, I’m sorry to hear about your great-uncles and I certainly didn’t intend to insult their memory. Many Australians suffered or died in Changi in WWII and there was good reason for them to hate Japan, as many survivors still do.

I don’t have time to sit down and pound out my thoughts on the matter, partly because I haven’t even arrived at a synthesis of my own views yet.

My main points are as I have made them above.

I think that it’s possible to discuss on its own merits what someone said facetiously earlier on: “Hmm … atrocious rule by Japanese vs atrocious rule by KMT vs atrocious rule by CCP, a hard one to decide.”

There are, however, many issues tied up in this thread:

* The original issue that started the thread: The hypocrisy of Mainland propaganda regarding Taiwan which twists history to justify its position. (I think that this has probably made many people more sympathetic to Japan.) This is merely part of the broader twisting of the facts to justify the CCP’s legitimacy.
* Chinese sovereignty ueber alles (a la Zhang — who hasn’t replied yet, I notice).
* The question that you raise, which involves arriving at a balanced account of what Japan did, both the good and the bad. Was the good inherently good or a mere byproduct of the bad? Was Japan like Hitler, who intended to do evil from the start? Or was it a flawed ideology that simply went to its logical extreme after being taken over by the militarists and their false Bushido? Where does the blame lie – the country, the Emperor, the government, the Army, every single Japanese? What about the Koreans and Taiwanese serving in the Japanese Imperial Army – do they have any culpability? Etc., etc.

But this is rather too much for me to chew on at the moment so I will leave it to another time.

October 26, 2005 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

“Would those Taiwanese under the Japanese have given it up for the privilige of living under the magnanimous leadership of Mao?”
I actually asked my girlfriend this question in regards to Hong Kong. I have a huge official colonial HK flag which angers her because it represents shame. I told her she should consider the HK people themselves instead on this stupid and selfish ‘national’ shame. Would they think it a shame they were shielded from Mao and his 35 year terror campaigns? Or is it a shame they didn’t suffer like all the rest?

October 26, 2005 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

Good question. In retrospect, I highly, highly doubt it. Back then, though, armed with little knowledge of what Mao was or what China would become under his leadership? Perhaps they would have chosen the devil they didn’t know.

“I have a huge official colonial HK flag which angers her because it represents shame. I told her she should consider the HK people themselves instead on this stupid and selfish ‘national’ shame.”

Personally, I think if your girlfriend chooses to believe in a national Chinese identity, then that is her right, and her belief shouldn’t be denigrated as “stupid and selfish” just because it is incompatible with yours.

And I’m sorry, but the flag thing does seem a little gauche. Colonial rulers, no matter how generous, how wise, no matter how much good they did, were still colonial rulers. You can’t expect people not to have ambivalent or downright hostile feelings about that. What if a British expat goes to South Africa and proudly displays the Union Jack? Are you by any chance British, Keir? The sun never sets on the Empire, indeed.

October 26, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

Is your girlfriend is from the Mainland or HK?

If it was a ‘national shame’ for Hong Kong to be governed by the British, why did so many people flee there to escape from the rule of their own people?

I often get the impression it is very difficult to be Chinese and discuss issues like this logically.

On the one hand there are grand (but often contradictory) notions of race, nation, and ethnicity, tied up with concepts of face and identity.

On the other hand there is the way they actually live their lives, which is often quite at odds with these notions.

Take Hong Kong. Chinese people are willing to live the benefits brought by the existence of Hong Kong as a separate entity (watching HK movies, listening to Cantopop, perhaps working in HK companies with higher salaries and corporate practices that may be better than on the Mainland) on the one hand but on the other they will turn around roundly condemn the ‘national shame’, or tell you that Hong Kong was just an ‘accident of history’ that has now been righted.

I personally tend to feel that the problem lies with the ‘grand concepts’, but in argument, at least, no Chinese would ever admit that. Perhaps we should be thankful that they are so seldom willing to put those grand national concepts into practice in their lives ๐Ÿ™‚

October 26, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

I don’t know about Chinese in China, but Chinese in Singapore, like my grandma, acknowledge that while Mao did a lot of good that was necessary for China, in his later years his bad deeds cannot be ignored. His wife and the gang of four wreaked havoc on the Chinese people. It makes sense to discuss Mao in terms of his contributions and the downsides of his ruling.

You may find it puzzling that we are unable to objectively discuss the “merits” of Japanese rule, just as I think it would be hard for you, if you were american, to discuss the “merits” of the Twin tower bombings, or the “merits” of the Holocaust. Not that I think there are any. It’s just very insensitive to even suggest that there were any noble intentions involved in the Japanese Occupation.

Just to put things into perspective, the Japanese were doing so much harm that the US thought it appropriate to drop two devastating atomic bombs on the country. If there was any possibility that the Japanese had noble intentions, I think the US wouldn’t have done so.

“I often get the impression it is very difficult to be Chinese and discuss issues like this logically.”

Well, I think it’s great if after being brutally slapped in the face, the slapped person is able to discuss the issue logically with the slapper. Unfortunately I don’t think humans are able to do that. Afterall, after Osama bombed the twin towers, didn’t the US swiftly declare a war that it shows no sign of withdrawing from? The number of innocent Iraqis dead far outweighs the 2000 americans dead. Now, is that being logical or analytical?

October 27, 2005 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

“Afterall, after Osama bombed the twin towers, didn’t the US swiftly declare a war that it shows no sign of withdrawing from? The number of innocent Iraqis dead far outweighs the 2000 americans dead. Now, is that being logical or analytical?”

Even more illogical and stupid since Iraq had NOTHING to do with the 9/11 attacks and NOTHING to do with Osama. It was a total diversion and in some ways, even worse than the mess arising from the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and the 3-way bloodbath among the CCP, KMT and Imperial Japan– at least in the latter case, the different sides vaguely had the sense to hit those who had hit them before. In Iraq, the US hit somebody who had nothing to do with the aggression against us at all.

As for the Hong Kong issue– Keir, dude, you need to learn some history. The British Empire in the late 1700’s and 1800’s was one of the most brutal institutions of the millennium, worse even than imperial Japan at its most murderous. Close to 38 million Indians were killed by artificial famines in India in the late 1800’s– a direct result of British policies of seizing farmland and converting it to plantations for cash crops, taxing the Indians to death and prohibiting sale of their own food in open markets, *and* the Brits exporting food from India when the famines commenced. It was worse even than British brutality in Ireland. Plus, there’s the Boer Wars in South Africa, the British participation in Caribbean slavery, British extermination of much of the native population in Oz and NZ, and frankly, the treachery of the Opium Wars– the Brits fighting a war to basically hook the Chinese on opium, yeah that’s a noble cause.

It’s not just that the Brits were brutal, they were also frequently incompetent and losers. The Brits were defeated in 3 different wars in Afghanistan, and in the first Anglo-Afghan War in 1842, an entire British army was slaughtered, basically annihiliated by the Afghan Ghilzai warriors. So what did the Brits do? They sacked an ancient, beautiful market in Kabul– that also happened to be one of the headquarters of the Brits’ only *allies* in Afghanistan, thereby inciting the rage even of the few members of the Afghan community who had been supporting them. Needless to say, British aspirations for Afghanistan were a complete and utter failure. Ditto for South America– Brits invaded Buenos Aries in 1806, tried two times to conquer it, defeated both times. So what do they do? The idiots back in London basically court-martial the lower-level generals who save the asses of the higher-ups, while letting the higher-ups retire to nice villas in Cornwall in “honor.”

IOW, there was good reason to be wary of the “generosity” of the Poms, they showed a collection of brutality, incompetence, failure and corruption that’s hard to match, in the 19th century. That being said, to be fair, for whatever reason Hong Kong may well be the one colony (aside from Singapore) where the Brits can claim some measure of success and at least decent governance, with a relatively flourishing community. But considering Asia’s experience in general with the blundering murderousness of Britain, one can understand HKers’ reluctance to identify with it.

September 23, 2006 @ 6:17 am | Comment

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