Taiwan-China relations

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ilha formosa
Taiwan-China relations

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ilha formosa

Searching rabble.ca, there is plenty on China and a little on Taiwan, but I didn't find a thread specifically on relations between Taiwan and China. So let this be it.

I know babble readers are not representative of the general population, but I'd like to start with an informal poll. The question:

"Without looking anything up, what is your understanding of the relationship between Taiwan and China?"

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Complicated and steeped in competing historical narratives over who has ruled in the past.  

6079_Smith_W

Strained.

And yes... complicated by things (specifically money)  other than what the people in that country might want for themselves.

But whether or not I agree with you on any of this, I sense you are coming into this with some strong ideas WRT China.

 

 

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

 

It's an unfinished civil war that probably won't ever get finished (without starting WW3)...

ilha formosa

6079_Smith_W wrote:

But whether or not I agree with you on any of this, I sense you are coming into this with some strong ideas WRT China.

Maybe, but I actually think my views are quite balanced. I hope to see what ensues through discussion.

ilha formosa

Thanks very much for the responses. What I'm particularly curious about, is what the general public (again, I know that would mean far more than babblers) perceive to be the relationship between Taiwan and China.

On internet scroll-down menus to choose "country," it's not uncommon to see "Taiwan, Province of China." Also, friends have asked me something akin to: "So what's the relationship, is Taiwan a part of China *yet*?

Still polling here...In your opinions, do you think the general perception among the public is that:

a. Taiwan is already formally, or well on its way to formally becoming a part of China.

b. Taiwan is an independent country.

c. Something much murkier than the above.

d. other [write in answer]

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

You want people to speculate on what other people think and you don't want to discuss your own views.  Really bizarre way to have a dialogue, IMO.  Unless you get a pollster on here what use is anyones speculation about what the "general public" thinks.

By the way I think my views on most issues are quite balanced. Do you know many people who don't see themselves in that light?

ilha formosa

The google search term: "Canadian opinion polls on Taiwan" isn't turning back a lot of results for me. (Yes, I know, I can search more rigourously.) My personal anecdotal evidence, gathered from talking to people in Canada, is that the general perception of Canadians can be typified by the commonly asked question "Is Taiwan a part of China yet?" [emphasis added]

(Northern Shoveler, my dear nemesis, I have to respond to you in more detail later OK? I know you think you're trying to ferret out a troll, which is good, but with apologies, I'm more beholden to my schedule than yours. If there is a clause in the babble user agreement that says I have to respond to your every remark right away, please show it to me.)

Anyways, back to the substance...the relationship between China and Taiwan is far from settled (are most Canadians aware of this, I am wondering), and the Taiwan Strait is one of those uncomfortable trigger spots in the world. I am extremely biased in wishing it weren't so.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/05/25/taiwan-on-the-fence-as-south-chi...

An interesting article about the relationship.  I find it of note that ROC claims the same South China Sea borders as the dictator who occupied the island in 1949.  Seems that the Mainland Chinese agree since Chiang's arguments for owning the South China Sea was that he was the rightful ruler of all of China and had merely fled to a province.

ilha formosa

Thanks N. Shoveler, for the good article on the South China Sea, I just read it now. I found this part ironic:

Quote:
Taiwan's historical and continued military presence there is seen as strengthening China's claim, which after all claims Taiwan in its entirety. China has threatened Taiwan with war if it changes its official national borders.

One of the things that makes Taiwan so important is its unfortunate position as a pawn between larger powers.

ilha formosa

The legal arguments over Taiwan's identity get quite convoluted. In the 1951 San Fancisco treaty, the defeated Japanese empire relinquished claims on the territory, but they did not specify to whom, leaving that to someone else to argue over. So it came down to the PRC (the Communist government in Beijing), the ROC (the Nationalists, ie KMT, taking refuge on Taiwan, backed by western powers)...or someone else. Today's independence movement on Taiwan (at least one branch of it) says that local people did not have a chance to claim independence because they were being occupied by the KMT. They would prefer to be neither a part of the PRC nor ROC.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2011/09/05/2003512486

A note for those less well versed on this topic: PRC = People's Republic of China, established by Mao's Communist Party in 1949. ROC = Republic of China (not Rest of Canada in this context!), established by Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang, ie. the KMT/Nationalists, in 1911. The ROC continues to exist on the island of Taiwan and offshore islands, its centennial being celebrated with some muted fanfare in Taiwan this year. Recalling from the top of my head, it was not until 1991 that the ROC officially called an end to the "period of suppressing the communist bandits." Before this, the official stance was that the ROC government, as the only legitimate government of all China, was maintaining its capital on Taiwan only temporarily, until it succeeded in re-taking the mainland. I haven't seen one lately, but not long ago, official ROC maps, and official ROC logos, included images of a territory larger than even the PRC claims today, including Mongolia and extending into Kashmir. This could be the basis for the ROC claims on some of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. (Six countries claim at least part of the Spratlys, with an eye on the resources around and below them.)

ilha formosa

http://rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/democratic-taiwa...

I started the above thread thinking Taiwan would bring about democratization in China. It could certainly help, but it's not a necessary condition. China has its own grassroots too.

ilha formosa

continued from http://rabble.ca/comment/1540267#comment-1540267 and

http://rabble.ca/comment/1540387#comment-1540387 :

swallow wrote:

Might a DPP government move towards a truth commission?

There's no intent discussion of it. Maybe the emotions are too raw still, and digging this up could cause some instability. What to do with the considerable ill-gotten, blood soaked assets the KMT controls would be a central point of contention. Unpleasant things can happen to people when real wealth and power are threatened. But I feel Taiwan is sorely in need of a TRC, if it is to cauterize and move past this particular set of festering feelings under the surface of society.

 

Malcontent

The sooner Taiwan accepts they are a part of China the better off they will be.

swallow

Congratulations to her and to the new social-movement-linked people who were elected! 

ilha formosa

Malcontent wrote:

The sooner Taiwan accepts they are a part of China the better off they will be.

Exactly the same way Canada will be better off, the sooner everyone there accepts they live in the 51st state of the USA.

ilha formosa

Separate from the cross-strait relationship, the election result should also lead to a very important process of internal healing.

Quote:
...the [DPP] is expected to pursue an investigation into abuses during the Kuomintang’s years of rule, as well as the Kuomintang’s acquisition of state and private property while it was in power. “We will definitely investigate,” said Fred Hung, an adviser to Ms. Tsai. “If we don’t do anything on transitional justice, the voters will be very unhappy.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/world/asia/taiwan-elections.html

ilha formosa

From a leading science magazine - Taiwan’s SARS hero poised to be vice-president: Epidemiologist who spearheaded response to outbreak is a popular choice.

Quote:
...it is hoped that Chen — an epidemiologist looked upon as a hero for his role in subduing Taiwan’s outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 — will help to infuse the new government with an air of integrity and collaboration, maintain good relations with China and stimulate ideas for revitalizing the economy. “He can negotiate with anyone, and is always trying to help,” says the National Taiwan University’s president...Chen is also popular in scientific circles, where he is known for other groundbreaking work.

voice of the damned

ilha formosa wrote:

Malcontent wrote:

The sooner Taiwan accepts they are a part of China the better off they will be.

Exactly the same way Canada will be better off, the sooner everyone there accepts they live in the 51st state of the USA.

Well. not exactly the most precise comparison, since very little(if any) of Canadian territory was ever part of the USA.

A better send-up of the Taiwan-is-China position would be someone in 1815 saying that the people of the USA need to accept that they are really part of Britain. Obviously, anyone thinking that would be living in a realpolitik fantasyland.

ilha formosa

I used the word "exactly" rhetorically. While there are many factual differences between the compared countries, I was trying to give an idea of the sentiments. Taiwan society is very different from that on the mainland.

In Taiwan the desire not to be a part of China - at least the current China, with the way it is governed - is very visceral.

 

voice of the damned

For the record, I didn't use the word "exactly" in response to your use of the word "exactly". I just have a habit of tossing around adverbs.

I don't doubt that your description of public opinion in Taiwan is correct, and that it would closely(there I go again) match sentiment in Canada about merging with the USA.

voice of the damned

Beijing will be happy to know that Tzuyu's Korean talent agency supports the One China policy.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160118000974

ilha formosa

With the DPP in control of both the presidency and the legislature for the first time in history, the people of Taiwan look forward to laying the final remnants of the murderous KMT dictatorship to rest. They do not want to turn around to find the authoritarian CCP lording over them instead.

Quote:
‘Progressive, tolerant and diverse’: How Taiwan is moving ever farther from China

...Female candidates won 43 out of 113 seats in Taiwan’s parliament...

...With 7 percent of seats for a group that makes up 1.5 percent of the population, Taiwan has chosen to over-represent its aboriginal community.

“This effort to give voice to women and minorities speaks to the pride that Taiwanese have in their diverse and pluralistic society,”...With public opinion already onside, there is a decent chance that after this election it could become the first country [in the region] to legalize same-sex marriage.

...as China moves in a more repressive direction, harassing and arresting not only dissidents, lawyers and journalists but also feminists and LGBT-rights activists, the island at its side is moving ever more confidently on the opposite path. In her victory speech, Tsai made much of the need for new kind of politics, where democracy is not just about one election but an entire way of life, where officials learn to be humble and the government listens to the people.

At her rallies, her supporters said democracy was now a fundamental part of Taiwan’s national identity. For this election, activists and dissidents from Hong Kong and Vietnam were among those who came to Taiwan to learn and to be inspired.

ilha formosa

A few articles posted on this thread give a glimpse of why Taiwan does not want to tie itself too closely to China.

swallow

What happened to the seats reserved for overseas Taiwanese? 

ilha formosa

voice of the damned wrote:
Beijing will be happy to know that Tzuyu's Korean talent agency supports the One China policy.

That's something Beijing probably knew before the talent agency did.

On Taiwan and the "One China" policy...

Tsai has plenty of experience in cross-strait relations. She cut her teeth there, working in the Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan, and prior to that helped draft the “special state to state” position of former president Lee Teng-hui, to define cross-strait relations during his tenure. This differed from the so-called “1992 Consensus” fabled to have been hammered out in Singapore (there is some controversy as to whether its principles were really mutually agreed upon there), in which negotiators from both sides of the strait supposedly agreed that there was “One China,” but that the definition of it and the timeline for making it a reality were not specified.

China, or more accurately, the CCP, favours the “1992 Consensus”-One China position because it knows it can creepingly gain an upper hand by repeating its perspective on it over and over again in the international arena.

Outgoing President Ma subscribed to a doctrine that did not contravene the “92 Consensus” and then he built up cross-strait links. One reason it may appear in the future that the new Taiwan government does not continue to build up such links, is because the “low-hanging fruit,” ie, the easy, less controversial objectives, such as increased cross-strait tourism, direct flights and educational exchanges, have already been plucked by Ma.

The fruit higher in the tree would be deeper trade/investment ties (which encompasses the crucial media/publishing industry), and things that fundamentally define Taiwan and the cross-strait relationship. An example of this would be changing the archaic Taiwan constitution, which has its origins back on the mainland at the founding of the Republic of China, the entity that took over a tumultuous China from the last emperor in 1911. The CCP is edgy about a new Taiwan constitution that could pave the way towards "One Taiwan" and "One China", or anything else that could serve as an important symbolic change such as a new official state name or flag.

The CCP has already begun pressuring prez-elect Tsai to renounce any position that strays from its definition of “One China.” Tsai, with her experience playing this game, has been saying long before the election that the question of Taiwan independence is up to the people of Taiwan to decide. This assertion has democratic legitimacy, and moreover it puts the onus on the leadership of China to win the hearts of the Taiwan people if it even hopes to achieve its cross-strait goals peacefully. Most Taiwanese do not find the CCP's current trajectory to be endearing.

Note: Contrary to what some reflexively aver, this widespread negative view of the CCP is due in negligible part to the machinations of American imperialist organizations. Taiwanese know China and form their own opinions about it.

ilha formosa

Looks like those votes go toward the 34 "national" legislator seats: All 34 are in one national multi-member district, closed list, proportional for those parties/coalitions surpassing a threshold of 5% of votes cast.

73 seats are single-member geographical constituency seats, FPTP; the remaining 6 of the total 113 seats are reserved for aboriginal voters, who don't vote for regular constituencies.

So every voter casts 3 ballots, one each for: president, national legislator list, and constituency (or aboriginal constituency). I'm guessing overseas voters would cast only the first two, and would have to travel back to cast the constituency ballot in person.

More detailed results here.

At a glance, it seems vote-splitting as in Canada is less of a problem, thus far. Voters still fall into two main camps.

"The Central Election Commission reported that turnout for the presidential election was 66.27% of voters, the lowest turnout since the office was first directly elected in 1996."

ilha formosa

[original post on Jan 16] Firecrackers go off as the DPP's presidential candidate holds a large lead early in the evening. Tsai Ing-wen is on track to become the first democratically elected female head of a significant Chinese-speaking polity.

[Apologies to Taiwan supporters for not putting this comment in a Taiwan-only thread; to cut down on thread proliferation on this board, I'm putting it in the Taiwan-China relations thread.]

More ground broken: For the first time since the start of direct elections for Taiwan's legislative body, the KMT and its allies will not hold a majority in the legislature. The DPP will now control both the presidency and the legislature. Members of a party that sprouted from the Sunflower Movement also were elected. A generational change is gaining momentum, dinosaurs are dropping. This does not lead directly to independence -- but Taiwanese people do not want to live under quasi-, never mind outright, dictatorship.

On Taiwan's hybrid majoritarian/proportional electoral system:
http://www.ketagalanmedia.com/2015/12/26/how-does-taiwans-parliamentary-...

https://taiwanlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/legal-consequences-of-vot...

This will be Taiwan's third democratic handover of power.

Quote:
“There is much more of a feeling of anticipation that this is a watershed election, that you are on the verge of something very different for Taiwan; not only a possible alternation of political parties, but a possible realignment of the political system and also much more of a mood of ‘we can change things."      - University of Miami professor of political science June Teufel Dreyer
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/01/16/2003637342

 

ilha formosa

Democracy triumphs in Taiwan. So why is Canada's government looking the other way?

Quote:
But the Canada-China free trade deal that is now all the rage in Liberal circles must undo Harper’s minor restraints and allow China’s state-owned enterprises free reign in Canada, Beijing insists. Trudeau has already made plain that he’s just fine with that.

Where things get very odd in making sense of Taiwan’s politics is that the Chinese Communist Party and the KMT were arch-enemies from the days of China’s war of liberation from Japan and the subsequent communist revolution (or counter-revolution, if you prefer) in the late 1940s. But when the Communists mutated into princeling billionaires, it was all kissy-kissy with the KMT.

Once arch-rivals, following the global trend of the latter 20th and early 21st century, the CCP and KMT morphed into fellow internal colonizers; the 1%, if that. As the article author notes, the DPP and Canada's Liberals are about the same on the political spectrum. How will they bend to various pressures? Stay tuned, this will be fodder for Trudeau's international trade minister to write Plutocrats II. Maybe with more in the first person.

ilha formosa