May 04, 2005

A Modest Proposal for China

The Chinese government in Beijing has evidently decided to try influencing domestic Taiwanese politics by openly showing its favor to Taiwan's opposition parties, the Kuomintang or Nationalist Party and the smaller People First Party. The apparent idea is to isolate Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and his governing Democratic Progressive Party until they amend its platform in accord with Beijing's wishes.

Whether this will work or not I don't know; it could conceivably spark a popular backlash against the Nationalists, but perhaps not. At any rate there is an easier way for Chinese President Hu Jintao to advance Beijing's "one China" policy, and advance the cause of an authentically Chinese democracy at the same time.

Hu could resign as President of China, in favor of the man who got the most votes in the last free and fair election in China, Chen Shui-bian. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party could give up its monopoly on power in China; members of the military could be required to renounce membership to any political party, and perhaps China could transfer some of its government ministries from Beijing to Taipei as a goodwill gesture.

Freed from his duties as President, Hu could spend his time attending to the long-overdue task of revising Chinese textbooks to reflect Communist support for aggression and terrorism in Korea and Indochina, for the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, for the sale of weapons to every tinhorn dictator and guerilla group who wanted them; and reflect as well Communist responsibility for the famine caused by the Great Leap Forward, the repression of the Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 massacre at Tien An Men Square. Just preparing a proper list of people to apologize to could provide gainful employment to Hu for the rest of his natural life.

Of course this course of action would involve some small sacrifices. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But surely restoring Taiwan to China, and vice versa is worth paying a small price, no?

Posted by at May 4, 2005 10:59 AM | TrackBack (11)


Awesome absolutely awesome. If Bolton doesn't get the UN post, maybe it should go to you. Do you have a bad temper? Or maybe a strained relationship with a present or ex-significant other? If not you might pass the test.

Posted by: PeterArgus at May 4, 2005 06:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Very nicely done.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at May 4, 2005 06:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Or perhaps a penchant for distorting intelligence and intimidating analysts that don't toe your party line - especially in this era of intelligence failures that have so damaged our credibility world wide which in turn impacts our foreign policy efficacy in many arenas. That or a bad temper I guess. Either one would be really bad, and of equal importance.

Posted by: Eric Martin at May 4, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree that the "one China" policy is not entirely without merit: Taiwan has historically always been part of China. But unification under a Communist government is unacceptable. China will be unified when the mainland renounces Communism and establishes multiparty government with popular elections and safeguards for human rights. Not a day before.

Posted by: Joel at May 4, 2005 07:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

ha ha.

actually, the upshot of this is probably that chen's party will lose the next election.

Posted by: praktike at May 4, 2005 08:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

well, I think that the US should lead by example, and turn over the nation to the native Americans who managed to survive the genocide inflicted upon them in the name of Manifest Destiny.

I'm sure you agree, because I know you aren't a hypocrite....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 4, 2005 08:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This may astonish you, p. l., but as I was writing this post the subject of native Americans didn't cross my mind once. And it still hasn't. Sorry.

Posted by: JEB at May 4, 2005 08:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yea! And what about the buffalo?!?

I am sorry but I've always wanted to use that line in a comment. Thanks p.l.

Posted by: PeterArgus at May 4, 2005 09:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Those inclined to romanticize the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas should take the time to read William Vollmann's Fathers and Crows. It is a revisionist-historical takedown of the French explorers and missionaries in Canada, but it will fill you with relief, not anger, at what 400 years have wrought.

Posted by: sammler at May 5, 2005 04:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

JEB, I had to re-read the title of this one before I posted a comment. Nice.

Posted by: Bruce at May 5, 2005 07:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

AND don't forget the prairie grass and other indigenous plants! Tear up that corn and wheat! Help save the "chien du prairie"!

Posted by: lirelou at May 6, 2005 09:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Some of the ignorance here is staggering.

With respect Joel, do you know anything re Chinese history? How on earth can you say that Taiwan has always been part of China? Please check your facts.

If you had lived and worked in Taiwan, you'd realise that the majority of Taiwanese do not consider themselves to be "Chinese" nor do they ever wish to be part of China because apart from a brief period towards the end of the Qing Dynasty, Taiwan has never been part of China.

Know a guy called Mao? He's on record as placing Taiwan in the same group as Vietnam and Japan at the time of the communist victory in 1949, i.e. foreign (this fact has been conveniently deleted from Chinese "history" books).

When 23 million people have to live with 600 missiles in the "smotherland" pointing straight at them it doesn't help when people in other parts of the world uncritically embrace blatant Chinese propaganda and lies.

Having lived in Taiwan for 3 years and China for 12, I can honestly say that the Taiwanese are a wonderfully modern and tolerant people. I could actually count Taiwanese among my real friends, could go down the pub and have a drink and a normal chat with Taiwanese blokes.

Chinese on the other hand are offensively nationalistic, racist, xenophobic, ignorant, arrogant and are utterly incapable of accepting any other view apart from the party line. It's incredibly sad what the CCP have done to these people here.

Again, I mean no disrespect but it makes me furious when I hear people who, unlike the Chinese live in a free country, and make sweeping statements like 'the One-China policy has some merit.'

The One-China policy is a myth and has no historical basis. Please don't be fooled.

Posted by: Joe-Guangzhou at May 6, 2005 12:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Originally, Taiwan was populated by people of Malay-Polynesian descent. They called Taiwan 'Pakan". "Aborigines" as they are called today still live in Taiwan.

1590--The Portugese landed on Taiwan and called the island "Ilha Formosa" ("Beautiful island"), which became its name for the next four centuries.

1624-1662--Dutch occupation. Only aborigine population lived on Taiwan. There were no signs of any administrative structure of the Chinese Imperial Government. Thus, at that time Taiwan was not "part of China".

The Dutch also established a fortress on a peninsula on the Southwestern coast of Taiwan. The peninsula was called "Tayouan" (terrace bay). This later evolved into Taiwan, and came to be the name for the whole island.

The Dutch also brought in Chinese laborers as migrant workers for the sugar plantations and rice fields. Taiwan was also popular for Chinese people fleeing the wars and famines in China. Eventually, more settled, and married aborigine wives. Thus a new race was born: the Taiwanese.

1662--Dutch were defeated by a Chinese pirate--Koxinga, a loyalist of the old defeated Ming dynasty on the run from the Qing Dynasty.

1683--Ming Dynasty loyalists were defeated by Qing troops.

1680s to the 1880s--Chinese fleeing Chinese poverty continued to flee to Taiwan because Taiwan was not China. Qing troops tried and failed many times to extend Chinese rule over Taiwan.

1887--Qing Dynasty (without actually doing anything) declared Taiwan to be a "province" of China in order to thwart growing Japanese influence in the region.

1895--Sino-Japanese War. Japan defeated the Qing Dynasty. Even though China did not "rule" Taiwan, China ceded Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity.

1895--Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

1945--Japanese defeat WW2.

1948/9--Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT, clearly losing the Chinese civil war, flee to Taiwan. Martial Law in Taiwan.

1949-1987--The 15% KMT population brutally ruled over the majority 85% Taiwanese forcing them to speak Chinese and call themselves "Chinese".

1987--End of Martial Law. Ethnic Taiwanese, after years of rebellion, finally suceed in their fight for freedom and democracy.

2000--Chen Shui Bian, despite being imprisoned by the KMT and his wife being wheelchair-bound by a suspicious hit-and-run incident, wins the first election in Taiwan's history.

Please note: Taiwan was an occupied part of Imperial China for only eight years. Not "always" as the CCP claim.

Posted by: Joe-Guangzhou at May 6, 2005 12:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Please, if you want to talk about Taiwan not historically being part of China, at least get your dates correct. The Qing dynasty annexed Taiwan in 1683 after Koxinga's grandson was defeated, not in 1887 as you claim.

Posted by: sahaliyan at May 6, 2005 06:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For the record, I favor continuing the geopolitical status quo with respect to Taiwan into the indefinite future. Taiwan would retain its de facto independence but not seek de jure independence.

Meeting with President Nixon in November 1973, Mao Tse-tung said of solving the Taiwan problem, "why this great haste? Let it be solved in a hundred years. The small issue is Taiwan, the big issue is the world." Americans, with our well-known deep regard for Mao Tse-tung thought, can cheerfully rally around that standard and hope that others do as well.

Posted by: JEB at May 6, 2005 08:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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