In a world rife with deadly terrorist strikes in India, anti-government riots in Thailand and civil wars in the Middle East, it may be hard for the rest of the world (even in Asia) to see Taiwan's struggle for democracy as anything more than a tempest in a China teapot. And certainly a worldwide economic crisis has eclipsed concerns for Taiwan's future possibility as a separate state with de facto independence from China.The whole piece is excellent and even cites me at one point. Nelson's previous piece, originally for the CBC, is hosted in the Taipei Times here.
For many "China experts", last year's return to power of the old Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) in Taiwan was seen as a return to peace, order and good government by Taiwan's natural governing party. The restoration of the ancient regime was largely hailed as a good thing in Beijing, Washington and the international community.
To them, KMT President Ma Ying-jeou has "the right stuff". And the new trade and transportation agreements with China are viewed as "one small step" for Taiwan but "a giant leap" for regional peace and prosperity - despite consternation from Japan.
Even the KMT government's raft of arrests, detentions and imprisonments of senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials - especially former president Chen Shui-bian - is seen as a campaign designed to root out corruption and bring evil-doers to justice.
But other Taiwanese and critics say that Ma and his inner circle of senior KMT officials - most of whom have close ties to China - have made too many concessions and have already surrendered Taiwan's sovereignty to Beijing.