Saturday, September 27, 2008

China Consul's Letter to Canadian Paper

My thanks to the reader who left this link to Willy Lam's fascinating piece in the Asia Times on the financial problems of China, and its regional-center tensions. I've heard it said that if China "lets Taiwan go" then other regions will want to go their merry way as well. Managing an empire from Beijing is no easy task.

Taiwan Journal has academic David Lorenzo's call for China to reciprocate Ma Ying-jeou's gestures of goodwill with a few concessions. He writes:

In these statements, as in the past, the position of the mainland government is that it looks after Taiwan's affairs. This of course is absurd, for as a government it does not represent people on Taiwan, is unable to provide them with services, nor has it in any way gauging their interests and concerns. This has been amply demonstrated, most notably with regard to the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in 2004 wherein the mainland government not only
did nothing tangible to help people on Taiwan deal with the sickness, but it also blocked Taiwan's access to critical help and supplies that otherwise would have been available to it through the WHO and other international organizations.

It is therefore crucial to recognize that in its overriding desire to portray cross-strait relations only in the context of "internal Chinese affairs," the mainland has painted itself into an ideological and conceptual corner. If it continues to insist that Taiwan unquestionably must be considered part of the mainland, administered and represented by the mainland government, then the concept of Taiwan participating separately from the mainland in specialized international agencies makes no sense, no matter how many negotiations and mutual agreements take place. In other words, so long as it continues to follow this formal policy, it cannot deliver on its promises to reconsider and facilitate Taiwan's participation in the international community.

The question then becomes Hu's seriousness in making that promise and his stated concern for the feelings and well-being of the people of Taiwan. The ROC government has moved in its position on these and other matters. It has shown itself to be flexible, pragmatic and willing to negotiate. Hu's statements in May indicated a willingness to follow suit. It is now time for him and his government to make good his promises.
China should make nice? Don't think so. The depth of China's stupidity and obtuseness is shown by the China Consul in Canada's response to a Canadian paper's call for Taiwan to join the UN. The Consul wrote in response:

Taiwan has been an integral part of China's territory since antiquity. Around 1,000 years ago, the then central government established administration on the island. Ever since, dynasties and governments of China have maintained effective control of Taiwan until the late 19th century, when the Qing government was overpowered by Japan and was forced to cede Taiwan as reparation of war. In 1943, the state heads of China, the USA and the UK held a summit in Cairo, Egypt to discuss the war against Japan and postwar policies to Japan, and the Cairo Declaration jointly signed stated that all the Chinese territories seized by Japan, including Taiwan, shall be restored to China. Later on, in 1945, the Potsdam Proclamation jointly signed by China, the USA, UK and Soviet Union, reaffirmed that "the terms of the Cairo declaration shall be carried out." In this way, China's sovereignty over Taiwan was confirmed in the form of international law. As Japan was defeated and surrendered unconditionally in August, 1945, Taiwan was brought back to China. After three years of civil war, the Kuomintang Regime fled to Taiwan and the People's Republic of China was established on mainland China in 1949. At present, more than 160 countries in the world recognize the one-China principle and that Taiwan is a part of China.
The historical claims here are completely laughable, but the consul writes them in all seriousness, to a major Canadian newspaper, the Calgary Herald. MOFA people say that Chinese overseas representatives score points with the home office if they take a hard line on Taiwan or perform some obnoxious act such as ripping down a Taiwan flag at a sports event. Articles like this are written to show the boss back home, not impress the local Canadians.


STOP Ma said...

The Chinese officials in Canada are always very vocal with their stance on Taiwan. Obnoxiously so.

marc said...

The fact that China has to resort to fabrication to jusitfy its desire to take Taiwan reveals its desperation.

I wonder if it told the truth: that it wants a strategic military buffer that not only protects China from attacks on its Pacific flank, but gives the growing Chinese navy control over the narrow straits, so that its subs can reach deep water safely (and effectively repel any attacks by an enemy navy).

Then again, I suppose if China told the truth, few nations would support its intent...

Ben said...

Hi Michael,

Although I've left Taiwan now, I still read your blog to keep up with things there.

I was having a drunken, heated discussion with a Chinese person about Taiwan yesterday (the latest of quite a few that I've had since returning to Britain) and again wished that I could point him to an online page that could (more authoritatively than me) cogently correct his historical inaccuracies and moral shortcomings. You seem to have addressed every aspect of this many times on your blog but I just wanted to make a suggestion to you that it might be useful to a lot of people who don't know very much about the subject - or whose "knowledge" is mostly wrong - if you made (or had a link to) a page that briefly explained all the main points and debunked all the main myths. What would be even better is if it were also in traditional and simplified Chinese.

It would be great to point Chinese people (outside the firewall) to easily digestible refutations of their opinions (I could even print it off and go through it with them next time I'm in such a discussion) and have a guide for people who may need a couple of minutes to find Taiwan on a world map. Otherwise they'll just look at that dreadful bbc summary or, even worse, a chinese version.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

If you read further the article states:

Everybody knows, the glorious Chinese fatherland was formed, part and parcel, under the immense gravitational pressures from within the heart of a dying star, billions and billions and billions of years ago.

Only by the supreme intellect and will of our nations people, were the Chinese able to gather and cool the remaining matter and craft it into a perfect sphere with a molten interior in the benevolent wish that we could demonstrate to the heavens our mastery of predicting earthquakes.

Our nation's people invented the United States of America in 1492 and China has maintained effective administrative control over the United States from that time to the present. The policy record proves the divine correctness of this, and only serves to support the supremacy of the Chinese as a pure race of supreme beings descended from the dragon.

channing said...

I find it interesting that the guy mentioned the Chinese Civil War and how the KMT fled after losing. The thing is, he made no subsequent connection to China's claimed sovereignty over Taiwan in the wake of the war.

Although, if he tried to do such a thing, it would either make Taiwan look more self-administered or it would be laughably incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Kinmen, Fujian Province, Republic of China.

Matsu, Fujian Province, Republic of China.

Taipei, Taiwan Province, Republic of China.

Why are some people so bad in geography?