Sunday, May 01, 2005

New Left Review:

New Left Review has an article on Taiwan and China:


Highly slanted....
Since every time Beijing issued some threats, popular resentment mounted among Taiwanese voters, a fundamentalist wing in the Green camp started to argue that the Taiwanese were not really Han at all, but racially distinct descendants of a fusion between settlers from the mainland and the aboriginal Malay-Polynesian inhabitants of the island.
Whew! Like it's not fundamentalist to argue that the Taiwanese are Han? But some of it is quite sensible:
Therefore, the current situation is not one in which Taiwan is moving towards ‘secession’ from a ‘standard nation-state’. Rather, the reality is that the roc and the prc have lived in separation for many years and what Taiwan truly needs is a registration of this reality. Such a registration would not cancel the possibility of future reunification, any more than it has done in the case of the two Koreas: it would simply allow a more normal environment in which different possible scenarios for the island could be honestly discussed by the peoples of Taiwan and China, be it reunification or Taiwanese independence. Only such a formal registration of Taiwan’s de facto separation from the prc could form the basis for calm and rational negotiations over the future of its 23 million citizens, with respect to their democratic rights. Confusing such a prospect with the issue of Taiwanese independence has been a widespread error in recent years. It would not represent a covert form of it, but an acknowledgment that what is—or should be—really at stake in the new Taiwanese self-consciousness is the legitimate desire for equal standing in any political negotiations with the central government in Beijing, and for these to be handled in a democratic way, free of military threats, and without preconditions over definite reunification in the future. In other words, if Taiwanese voters so desire, they should be given the option of independence, just as they should that of reunifying with the mainland.


Jonathan Benda said...

Check out Melissa J. Brown's Is Taiwan Chinese? for an interesting alternative to the common arguments about whether the people of Taiwan are Han or not, and how this whole debate relates to China's fears about Taiwan becoming independent.

Seamus said...

Yeah, reading the book by Melissa Brown at the moment. Not even a quarter of the way in but it's really interesting stuff.

Seamus said...

I'm reading the Melissa J. Brown book now. Not even a quarter of the way in but it's very interesting so far.