Sunday, June 03, 2007

US-Taiwan-China relations and the Taiwan Issue

A reader sent me this link to a long, pro-Taiwan review of US-Taiwan-China relations and the Taiwan issue by Michael Falick, who sometimes has letters in the Taipei Times. Falick observes:

At the heart of America's policy toward Taiwan lies a fable as entrenched as any folklore since George Washington's cherry tree.

Once upon a time, there was a country called China, consisting since ancient times of thirty-five provinces. Like America and many other countries, it ousted its monarchy and created a republic, under the idealistic leadership of its founder, Dr. Sun Yet-Sen. But Dr. Sun's Republic of China was soon cleft in two by a damaging Civil War which raged back and forth for decades. The Communist Party, led by Mao Tse-tung, eventually established the People's Republic of China on 34 of China's 35 provinces. The Nationalist Party (aka Kuomintang or KMT), led by Chiang Kai-Shek, held out on the remaining province, Taiwan. While these two were regrouping to continue the fight, the U.S., busy with the Cold War around the world and the Korean War in Asia, sailed the Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait. Thus the temporary truce between Mao and Chiang in 1949 keeps China split in two up through this very day.

How true is this fairy-tale? Well, certainly no more than thirty-four/thirty-fifths. But even without challenging the deeply held beliefs of those who insist on the truth of this fable, Taiwan is an independent country. It has been governed separately from China for more than 50 years. It has never, even for a day, been governed by the People's Republic. All their talk of "re"-unification is a lot like all that talk about Britney Spears and I getting back together. As Ms. Spears sentimentally puts it, "Who the hell are you?"

Lotsa history there. Happy reading!


Patrick Cowsill said...

Taiwan was only a province of China (not the PRC) for ten years, from 1885 to 1895 when the Ching Dynasty abandoned it. For about 200 years, it was a prefecture of Fuchien Province. Before that, it was as the Emperor Kangshi put it "a blob of mud floating in the ocean." It wasn't a province dating back to "ancient times" or anywhere close. It wasn't even on China's radar until around 400 years ago.

Anonymous said...

i've always considered it overly generous of pro-taiwan types to say that taiwan has been governed separately from china for 50 years. china gave taiwan away by the treaty of shimonoseki in 1895. i'm assuming the 50 years number comes from 1949, when the KMT showed up in taiwan, but by then they had already lost china. so i've always thought that taiwan has been governed separately from china for 110 years. am i wrong here?

Michael Falick said...

Both of the prior comments are absolutely correct. Taiwan and China both suffered through the same incompetent and corrupt governance of Chiang Kai-Shek and the KMT for all of FOUR years (1945-1949).

That brief experience is the ONLY basis for the ridiculous claim of "reunification"!

- Mike Falick