Commentary from Taichung, Taiwan.
...Apart from the apathy over the story -- which may decrease, if the rhetoric gets louder -- there's a lot of "teaching" to be done over there.Thanks Michael, for helping me out!(and Sagesource, too -- if your out there)...
... BTW, it looks like Chen has already caused Ma to say something really stupid (or his spokeswoman, anyway)."(Ma thinks) this seriously damages the status quo and is a threat to the national interest," she [KMT spokeswoman, Cheng Li-wen] said.So...Effectively abolishing a committee that has been dormant for 5 years damages the status quo, but actually legislating a law that pressures the Chinese military to take action against Taiwan in certain conditions is not, according to Ma.This double-standard is so "anti-Taiwanese" that I would be dumbfounded if the majority of the populace doesn't turn against Ma on this one.Ma has taken the bait. He's even calling for a recall!!...
...One question I have for Ma:Will he bring back the NUC if elected in 2008?My guess is that he will be avoiding this topic like the plague when the election campaign begins....
Somewhat Off Topic -Hi Michael, I've been reading stuff off your blog for about a month now and I justed wanted to say that I really do enjoy all the posts. I grew up in Taiwan, but moved to the US when I was a kid. I haven't been back in a while, so some of your pictures totally bring me back. Anyways, the NUC issue, like every issue that arises between China and Taiwan, has been blown out of proportion. The rapid economic changes in the region will inevitably alter the political discourse. I don't believe most younger Chinese politicians want to use this issue as a pretext for escalating the conflict; simply to appease the old guards. I suspect that issues concerning Taiwan reflect, in general, larger generational divides within the Chinese government that are probably endemic of their political structure. Hu finally wrestled the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission away from Jiang Zhemin on September 19th 2004. Within six months, on March 14th, 2005, the Chinese National People's Congress passed the anti-secession law against Taiwan. This legislation may have been Hu's attempt to appease the old guards as he further consolidated his political base. This body meets for two weeks annually, and is filled with aged party loyalist from the yester years. (I presume) I am not 100% sure of this, but i also assume that they will probably meet around the same time again this year, which is in about 2-3 weeks. What happens there could help us better understand which direction China will take with Taiwan regarding their view of the NUC issue. In the meantime, it doesn't really matter whether abolishing the NUC, as a semantic exercise, constitutes changing the status quo, or whether it was a reaction to China altering the status quo. Even if it was agreed that the status quo was already altered, China's behavior regarding the abolition of the NUC would probably not. I suspect Taiwan was never really about external politics for China.The following weeks will bring us the usual saber rattling. (I wonder if this will become a seasonally predictable cycle). BTW (once again off topic)- The random picture of spiders are way cool!
stop_georgeyou are wrong about your rebutal to one of the poster's comments where he said Taiwan is part of China.You rebutted by saying Taiwan is not part of the PRC.That's not the right rebuttal and it scored no points. It is true nevertheless, Taiwan is not part of PRC. But, Taiwan is part of China. If you were to visit the President of ROC's website http://www.president.gov.tw/en/, you will see that his postal address is:Office of the President,Republic of China(Taiwan). All rights reserved.122, Chungking S. Rd., Sec.1, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. Note that the last line in the address says - Taiwan, Republic of China. That means that: Taiwan belongs to the Republic of China. It is normal postal convention to write the city(Taipei), State(Taiwan), Country(ROC).Note the first line. It says that it is the President of the Republic of China and in brackets Taiwan. This means that Mr. Chen Siu Bian is the President of China. The bracket means that it is temporarily Headquartered in Taiwan.So even Chen Siu Bian acknowledges that Taiwan is part of the Republic of China.Also, the PRC is not greedy. In fact, it recognizes Mongolia to be not part of China. The ROC government in Taiwan, when it was under General Chiang Kai Shek, refused to recognize Mongolia and considered Mongolia to be part of China.I oppose Taiwan independene because I believe "evil" must be rooted out and it is a coward's choice. If we go independent, then we'll never be able to reclaim Mainland China. How I wished that General Chiang can be alive again. The Republic of China must boost its military and launch an all out war against the PRC to reclaim Mainland China. We must root out all evils and spread freedom and democracy. Young Taiwanese must wake up and be selfless and join the army to help our nation reclaim Mainland.If we vote for Taiwan independence, we would lose any legitimate reason to go to war with PRC.--mahathir_fan
Btw, if anyone wishes to rebut me on my comments, please email me at email@example.comAgain, I wish you all the best. Please go to the gym and start exercising, lose your weight(I'll seen your photos) and join the ROC military. We must reclaim Mainland China and spread freedom and democracy along the way. To go independent is a coward's choice. There is only 1 China and ROC is the legitimate government of THAT China and Chen Siu Bian is THAT president and PRC is illegitimate, and we'll show that my flexing our military muscles with a future NAVAL amphibious landing on Shanghai.
What was the justification for getting rid of the NUC, anyway? How has this benefited Taiwan?
One thing that's really not being covered about this whole incident is that the NUC does have symbolic significance. It is the same as a KMT apology for 228. Does that bring anyone back? It's not reparations, but I'd take it over nothing. It's also not a good idea to be in the habit of having lots of non-function laws--this is encouraging of arbitrary execution of laws and decreases the effectiveness of anything that's passed.
...You know, I don't know if this point has been raised in the whole "status quo" issue, but please consider it and let me know what you think...It is an idea that contrasts the anti-secession law with the "ceasing the functions" of the NUC.The anti-secession law legally eliminates the "possibility" that China may, one day, give up on unifying with Taiwan. Before the anti-secession law, there was still that element of a "possibility" for TIers to take comfort in.And notice how this contrasts with Chen's move -- which DOES NOT legally eliminate the possibility that Taiwan may, one day, unify with China. I think this is an important distinction to make. When you lay it out like this, it seems fairly clear to me WHO is changing the "status quo"....
Hell yes, STOP_george. It means we have to wait until the government of China collapses, essentially. And even then....it's a bigger change in the status quo than in the missiles. I loved the way Ma tried to spin that one in the BBC interview -- it doesn't mean anything because the Chinese don't obey their laws anyway. Give him more rope!Michael
It's so disheartening to see the DailyKos crowd so down on Taiwan--Gabby1984's comment was especially depressing. Much of the American left, it seems, equates being pro-Taiwan with the bad old days of pro-KMT American policies that were aimed at containing Communism. Then as now, Taiwan in and of itself never entered into the question. The DailyKos crowd are so dead set against American hegemony that they are blind to Chinese hegemony.And "Read Sun-Tzu"? What the hell are these people thinking?Give em hell, stop_george!
"It's so disheartening to see the DailyKos crowd so down on Taiwan--Gabby1984's comment was especially depressing. "Well, he's got a point. Because of US embargo, an estimated 30 million people die in PRC under Mao. --mahathir_fan (firstname.lastname@example.org)See:http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/FD01Ad04.html"In 1963, the Chinese press called the famine of 1961-62 the most severe since 1879. In 1961, a food-storage program obliged China to import 6.2 million tons of grain from Canada and Australia. In 1962, import decreased to 5.32 million tons. Between 1961 and 1965, China imported a total of 30 million tons of grain at a cost of US$2 billion (Robert Price, International Trade of Communist China Vol II, pp 600-601). More would have been imported except that US pressure on Canada and Australia to limit sales to China and US interference with shipping prevented China from importing more. Canada and Australia were both anxious to provide unlimited credit to China for grain purchase, but alas, US policy prevailed and millions starved in China. "
Mahathir, we know Mao was a shit on a historical scale. What does that have to do with the US Left's contempt for Taiwan?
Mahathir_fan has just made my point-- what he's talking about has nothing to do with Taiwan. The KMT, which the US supported, was the ROC government. Emphasize the "C"--a Chinese import. Where is Taiwan in this equation? The fact that the KMT was on Taiwan was incidental.
"Emphasize the "C"--a Chinese import. Where is Taiwan in this equation? "Taiwan is inside the C. In my opinion, there is more justification for Hawaii Independencesee: http://www.hawaii-nation.org/than Taiwan independence. Hawaii had a well established and recognized government prior to US colonization.Taiwan however did not have this. It was colonized by the Portuguese, then the Qing dynasty, and finally the ROC.The Chinese people regards "China" as meaning BOTH the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China in Taiwan. Both governments had to sought out at some point which government is really the government of China. In the mean time, both decided that others should recognize that there is only 1 China, and recognize the government of People's Republic in Beijing or the Republic of China in Taipei as legitimate government of China, but only pick 1 government to represent China.This is different from the Western perception. In their perception, China really means People's Republic of China, and Republic of China really means Taiwan. And if you buy this perception, then Taiwan independence is nothing more than just a name change and PRC's insistence of Taiwan being part of China sounds like a bully.The majority of Chinese people of course disagree with this interpretation. At some point, we will have to decide how to integrate both governments into one. That is how to merge both the governments of PRC and ROC together. This is of course called the reunification process. The PRC and ROC are the final 2 governments that needs reunification. ROC(Taipei) did a good job at reunifying a large portion of China in the early part of the 20th century that were at that time, controlled by local warlords. China's history has shown that at many times, there has been more than 1 governments but reunification has always been possible. The romance of the 3 kingdoms begins with the lines, "An empire long divided must unite, long united must divide."How can Taiwan gain independence? I see several steps. First, the ROC and PRC government must reunite. The ROC will have to return to Nanjing. Only after that, a referendum involving all Chinese people on the Taiwan succession can be discussed.Without a reunification of PRC and ROC, any attempts by individuals to abolish the ROC government will be perceived by many ROC supporters in the mainland as undemocratic. Another option is of course the Germany model. Germany was split into West Germany and East Germany and dual recognition is possible. China following this model would mean an East China (controling the mainland) and a West China (controlling mainly Taiwan). However this violates 1 China policy but a political and economic union like the EU is possible and can be a compromise. --mahathir_fan
The ROC is a relic of the Chinese civil war, which happened while Taiwan was a colony of Japan. When the PRC was formed in 1949, the problem was dragged over onto Taiwan. Again, the Taiwanese had no say in it.The entire world, China included, knows that the ROC is a joke. There may be some old codger die-hards who are faithful to the dream of reclaiming the "Mainland," but they are delusional. The choice for Taiwan is between insisting on reality and dignity at the risk of provoking China, or submitting once again to a foreign power--adding the PRC on top of the ROC, the Japanese, the Qing, the Dutch, etc.A referendum involving all Chinese people? Since when did Chinese have referendums? That is one of the many rights Taiwanese enjoy that Chinese don't.
Michael-- maybe to sell the Taiwan cause to progressives in the US, it should be emphasized that the current government is not the old puppet KMT gov't, and in fact is trying to dismantle the old regime. THe hypocrisy of damning them for doing so could be pointed out.Maybe Taiwan blew it back in 2000. It could have made more out of the "former political prisoners now in government" "bloodless revolution" angle. Now it seems Taiwan is just stuck in a hopeless deadlock.(Yes, Mahathir_fan, there is life outside the "liang an wenti" in Taiwan.)
" The ROC is a relic of the Chinese civil war, which happened while Taiwan was a colony of Japan. "Are you sure? Because I have seen the photos of Lian Chan visiting China last year and saw many of his supporters at Nanjing. "Welcome home" they say. The CPC should be careful themselves for after reunification, the ROC could really come back strong."Michael-- maybe to sell the Taiwan cause to progressives in the US, it should be emphasized that the current government is not the old puppet KMT gov't, and in fact is trying to dismantle the old regime."In that case, would you not agree that if Taiwan independence supporters have the honour and integrity, then President Chen should first resign from his post as President of ROC? As President of ROC he has taken an oath to protect the constitution. If he now decides to abolish it and the government, he should have the integrity to resign first.In almost any other countries, any attempt to overthrow the government would almost always result in treason. --mahathir_fan
Lien Chan--another Chinese import. My point exactly. ("Lien yeye, nin huilaile!")Do I think Chen should resign? No, I think peaceful reform of an outdated and outmoded form of government (the "ROC" and its constitution which was written for China) is a good idea.
The "question" of Taiwan is of course a much bigger geopolitical issue. McArthur called Taiwan the "unsinkable aircraft carrier" against mainland China. It's position is completely strategic. Japan did not annex Okinawa and Taiwan for their sugar crop. If it were to become an independant nation in the sphere of US-Japanese influence, it would be politically and militarily devastating for China. Most of China's shipping routes will be cut off completely if Taiwan turns hostile, just look at Taiwan's location. This is a game of geopolitical encirclement, has always been. Just like all those "colour revolutions" of the former USSR republics. There is simply no way for Taiwan to ever exist as an independant entity, it will fall into either camps (China vs. US-Japan) and be manipulated by bigger powers. Right now, it is check-mating time against China. The "pro-Taiwan Independance" camp is really the US-Japanese camp. The only thing holding back the secession of Taiwan is the threat of all-out war, which believe me, is a credible threat, and the US-Japnese side understands it and fortunately, are reality-based enough to forsee the ensuing consequences and thus detente is preferred. It is a matter of how much provocation can be tolerated, and how far to push the envelope.
If it were to become an independant nation in the sphere of US-Japanese influence, it would be politically and militarily devastating for China.This sort of "real-men-do-realpolitik" analysis is more comical than insightful. To wit: for the last 100 years Taiwan has not been part of China. Where is the political and military devastation that resulted from that? Zip, nil, nada, none.For all of Chinese history, Taiwan has never been part of China. Nobody missed it.This analysis assumes that the current political situation that aligns China on one side and the US and Japan on the other is a fact of nature rather than a transient artifact of human arrangement. Essentially, it functions as an apologetic for Chinese expansionism. The terrifying thing about the "real men do realpolitik" way of thinking is that it builds nothing for the future, imagines that the present is the only possible world, and conceives of human relations as a zero-sum game.What a sadness it is. I gave it up when I shed my zits and my voice stabilized. Real men build the future, they don't smugly imagine that they have a handle on it by reifying the present set of relations as an eternity and contemplating with satisfaction the people who are screwed by it.Michael
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