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« Following "The Blueprint" In Taiwan. | WILLisms.com | Manufactured Polling Outcomes. »

China Responds To Green People Power.

The Chinese view of today's events in Taiwan is humorous.


The Chinese have determined that the demonstrations are the work of a handful of extremists, not the will of the majority of Taiwanese. They have also tried to give the Taiwanese leadership, which took an active part in the demonstrations, a way out:

We noticed some political figures of Taiwan authorities openly instigated and directly participated in the so-called 'March 26 march'. We have a question to ask: in this crucial junction of cross-Strait relations, what will they do with the fundamental well-being of Taiwan compatriots and to where willlead the cross-Strait relations? Not long ago, they solemnly made 'pledges' and 'statements' on developing cross-Strait relations. Are these only empty words again?"


We are confident the Taiwan compatriots will ultimately see clearly the right and the wrong and refuse to be cheated and misguided by 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces.We are confident they will objectively and rationally take the principle of the Anti-Secession Law and work with compatriots on the motherland to oppose and check 'Taiwan independence' secessionist activities and push cross-Strait relations towards peace and stability.

And they may be correct, but that is extremely unlikely. While marginal majorities of Taiwanese do prefer outright independence, the Taiwanese also consider themselves part of the race and culture as those on the mainland. They are blood brothers and sisters, divided by ideology.

Also, while most Taiwanese would prefer independence to the extent that it would mean a formal recognition of the prosperity and freedom they have enjoyed over the past half-century plus, all Taiwanese would prefer to live. No Taiwanese citizen wants to see the island destroyed by Chinese military strikes.

Thus, public opinion in Taiwan is somewhat mixed.

But the rallies today were not about separation. They were not about formal independence. They were about sending a signal to China that Taiwan is unified behind maintaining their freedoms.

And they were most definitely not the work of "secessionist forces" or other fringe groups; they represent the mainstream of political thought in Taiwan. The leadership of Taiwan, including President Chen himself, joined the protest. Indeed, he promoted it in advance.


Let's look at the Freedom House ratings (.pdf format):

The scale runs from one to seven, with one being the most free and seven being not free.

Taiwan is rated "free," with a score of 2 for political rights, and a score of 1 for civil liberties.

China, meanwhile, is rated "not free," with a score of 7 for political rights, and a score of 6 for civil liberties.

How about Hong Kong and Tibet (also a .pdf)?

Hong Kong, under Chinese rule, has a score of 5 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties, giving it a classification of "partly free."

Tibet is rated 7 and 7, entirely not free (although it was not exactly a bastion of liberty before Chinese domination).

Taiwan doesn't want to become Hong Kong, or Tibet. It wants China to become Taiwan at best, or keep the status quo (two separate nations) at worst. Taiwan wants the free-enterprise system to flourish on the mainland. It wants political and civil rights to be respected. It wants freedom of expression, of religion, of transit. One thing Taiwan definitely does not want: to go from free to not free.

An important angle to remember here, as well:

Taiwanese capital has been funding much of China's recent economic explosion. The two countries have profound mutual interests; neither truly wants a war over this. Taiwan's "326" rally was in response to Chinese provokation, not the other way around.


The Chinese are pretending (or perhaps they actually believe) that the will of the international community is behind them:

The law has won widespread acknowledgment of the international community and sons and daughters of the Chinese nation both at home and abroad, it says.

Well, that's one way of looking at it. But it's also absurd and divorced from reality. To the extent that China's anti-secession law was acknowledged by the international community, it was scolded as unnecessarily bellicose:

...the United States and others have expressed concerns that Beijing may use the law to justify an attack on the island.

European Union officials have cited the law as the reason the European Union backed away from a pledge to lift an arms embargo against Beijing, which was first imposed after the bloody crushing of the pro-democracy movement in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The bottom line is that Taiwan must remain free. China and Taiwan may or may not become a single, unified nation at some point in the future, but unification must not mean unwanted Chinese subjugation of Taiwan, militarily, or otherwise. The international community must not allow the Chinese to bully the Taiwanese into submission.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 March 2005 03:33 PM


re: anti-secession law being widely approved

this is predominantly for domestic consumption. chinese media has an unhealthy obsession for what nations like togo and palau think about chinese foreign policy. every meeting a chinese leader has with any tiny little nation is blown up in the chinese press as a major state event. invariably, the leader of the tiny island nation in question will endorse china's policy toward taiwan (which surely has nothing to do with the $20 mil construction project agreed upon earlier in the meeting). since the passage of the anti-secession law there's been a steady stream of stories in the chinese media saying "the nation of ____ supports the law!"

Posted by: Hunter at March 26, 2005 06:25 PM

Very similar to the North Korean way of doing business. But North Korea doesn't have much to offer anyone.

Posted by: Will Franklin at March 26, 2005 06:32 PM

Next stop on the Freedom Tour: Zimbabwe?

Posted by: GaijinBiker at March 27, 2005 10:07 PM