Current independence movement arguments

I’m leaning toward supporting Taiwanese independence and am wondering what current arguments there are supporting it. I’m mostly looking for what economic, political, cultural, sociological, etc. reasons exist for recognizing Taiwan’s independence.

I truly am just curious about this, and am not trying to stir up controversy or a heated argument. Just want to have in my mind solid reasons to support Taiwanese independence before I sway that way.

Peter

IMHO, the best argument is it has historically been politically independent. “Claimed” by Ch’ing Dynasty China for seven years and then given away to Japan. Occupied by Japan for 50 years and then put under joint Allied/ROC military administration after that. The future?

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quote[quote] I'm leaning toward supporting Taiwanese independence and am wondering what current arguments there are supporting it. [/quote]


Horse, then cart.
Horse, then cart.

It’s good that you’re being honest about your lack of reasons to support Taiwanese indedependence. It seems that most foreigners in Taiwan are pro Taiwan independence by default, and those that aren’t, like Juba, get attacked and stared at incredulously, hearing remarks like “I know that most Taiwanese are too ignorant to support independence, but you should know better!”

Nobody ever wonders why everyone, the dual-passport holders, the foreigners, etc. are so pro-TI while most Taiwanese themselves shun being actively pro-TI. Some theories put forth include being brainwashed, being ignorant, selling out to mainland Chinese interests, etc. Most of the fervent letters supporting TI printed by the Taipei Times are from Chinese living overseas.

Here’s my theory, though: Basically, all of you with foreign passports can get out, go back home, or you were never here to begin with. Also, there’s the romantic ideal of independence that comes from US history, the give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death background in the states. Some people feel the need for a cause to join when they get here, to feel more a part of the culture, to justify themselves. Perhaps some foreign men, those who have never bothered to learn Chinese and tired of having to be led around by their Taiwanese girlfriends, feel the need to somehow make a show for their significant others by being outraged at China’s hegemony. I’m sure everyone has a different reason.

In case you’re wondering if I support TI; I don’t (duh). One reason is because Taiwan is basically already independent, and if we play our cards right we may stay that way for all intents and purposes. I also don’t see the geopolitical situation here in an American context, which I believe is ill-suited to the situation. Taiwan and China share a basically common culture, and although this culture is mocked by most foreigners, it is still the current running through most people’s lives on both sides of the strait. (inevitable question: “Poagao, have you ever even been to mainland China?” Answer: “Yes, I lived there for about a year. I prefer Taiwan, thank you very much.”) China will never be able to move this island an inch closer to the mainland, and no other force will be able to take it somewhere else. We’re here for good, and some kind of understanding is going to have to be reached with mainland China. A formal declaration of independence will not do anyone any good, and while it may be good for your image to appear to support such a thing, I’m the one who will get his marching orders when the merde hits the ventilateur, while you wait in line at CKS airport.

Just something to think about as you wonder what the reason behind your attraction to independence is.

quote:
Originally posted by wwwright: IMHO, the best argument is it has historically been politically independent. "Claimed" by Ch'ing Dynasty China for seven years and then given away to Japan. Occupied by Japan for 50 years and then put under joint Allied/ROC military administration after that. The future?

Hmm… actually Qing China ruled Taiwan for more than seven years, they actually ruled it for over a century. Before Qing China, Taiwan was ruled by Zheng Chen Gong 鄭成功, a Chinese general of the Ming Dynasty. And Taiwan wasn’t given away as a gift or anything, Qing China lost it to Japan in a war like many other territories.

Joint Allied/ROC military administration? Actually Jiang Jie Shi 蔣介石 never liked the Americans that much so it wasn’t exactly a joint administration.

The future is very bleak for Taiwan in my opinion. It is impossible to achieve independence without the support of the international community, but the international community will not piss off China over Taiwan…

quote:
Originally posted by Poagao: It's good that you're being honest about your lack of reasons to support Taiwanese indedependence. It seems that most foreigners in Taiwan are pro Taiwan independence by default, and those that aren't, like Juba, get attacked and stared at incredulously, hearing remarks like "I know that most Taiwanese are too ignorant to support independence, but you should know better!"

Thank you. Your analysis shows real depth in your understanding of history and current politics. While I am not passionate about either positions, I do prefer status quo of quasi-indepence. A eventual re-unification

Do you all feel that Taiwan is moving (by their own will or others’) closer to being part of mainland China politically, farther away, or staying in about the same place?

Regarding the horse before the cart comment, I was actually being careful in how I chose my words before. I used the word “leaning toward.” I didn’t say I outright chose the Taiwan indepedence poltical view. And, I combined the “leaning toward” comment with the question about the arguments supporting Taiwan independence because my “learning toward” was based on feeling only (as an American whose country fought for freedom from a superpower…where’s the music??) and not rational or logic. That’s why I asked the question in the first place.

Peter

Most Taiwanese are worried that those Communist devils will take their money and they will be subjected to another 40 years of supression as that given by the KMT.

That is their reason for it. They are not patriots.
If China was wealthy and more free, alot of people would be on the band wagon to join them

Who advocates the Independant Taiwan and the One China principle, business people mostly, to the ordinary Taiwanese does it matter who rules you as long as you keep your money

Most people want to keep the staus quo, why try to fix something that isn’t broken, and cause more trouble in the process. The Chinese believe that China over history has split and regrouped again, so it is inevitable.

The PRC is both pissed off at Taiwan and the US. The US is interfering in an internal matter. For the PRC it is like them advocating “The South will rise again” to any confederates left in the US and supplying them with money and weapons.
It is also a matter of face. As long as Taiwan remains free, it is an embarrassment and a thorn in the side of the PRC. The PRC all mighty and powerful can’t even control a little province off the south east coast. Any change in the status could destablize the PRC, think if all those states in the west of China that could claim independance.
So the PRC have to play the heavy hand with Taiwan, but not to the point where it pisses off the Taiwanese with what they see as coercion and threats

On the other hand side of the strait, the Taiwanese deep down don’t want independance, while they can have the best of both worlds. Being Chinese and being free.
Think about it, if the PRC left Taiwan become independant in the morning, Taiwan would become an insignifcant island in the South China Sea. It would not enjoy American supprt and there is no way then Ma Eng Jiuo could ever run for the Mayorship of Beijing. So the politicans also want to keep the door open slightly.

Think about the average day of Lien Tzang( the paedophile looking KMT leader). He definitly has it some where in his mind that he wants to and may rule China(maybe not the ROC), in some time in the future, if they play their cards right about this whole One China thing.
I am thinking also that the US has thought about this and Lien Tzan jumped into power, would he not be an ally for the US. Therefore the US has removed a potential enemy and conflict, well for a short time at least

If the Tianamemen Square protest had over thrown the PRC government, the KMT would have swopped in there to fill the vaccuum

Also Communism is on its last legs in China, a good distraction and to rise the blood and the patriotism is to focus on the outside world intefering in the internal affairs of China. Also work on the angle, that some provincal leader in Taiwan is trying to serperate and destroy the country of China

I agree with most of Poagao’s feelings, esp re the way foreigenr’s usually support independence and why. BUT I differ int hat I do support independence. I truly think that it would be great if Taiwan is independent. Even independent form a possible future free and democratic China.

On the other hand I wouldn’t be advocating immediate independence. That’s just stupidly asking for a fight that could destory this country and count costless lives. Sure China would be the one’s starting it, but Taiwan would be like the little kid going up tot he big body builder and saying “hey fatso fuck your mumma” and then crying “hey he hit me”.

My ideal world would be a future where the communist party has peacefulyl collapsed or evolved into a free democratic country and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and maybe Macau and Xinjiang are all independent but enjoy a close relationship, maybe EU style or even almost as close as say Scotland and England. I doubt it’ll happen though.

Finally I must admit that sometimes I wonder if any Taiwanese independence people who truly believe that we should stand up for what we believe in and jsut bring it on are perhaps in the right, but I don’t think as foreigners we can ask for that fight.

bri

Is independence/freedom worth dying for? Many nations feel that it is, hence the existence of armies. We do not live in a warm and fuzzy world yet. There are a small number of people and governments who want what others have, and are willing to kill them for it. I believe it is the responsibility of every government and every citizen to make sure that they are not given the opportunity to do so. Personally, I find the average Taiwanese person’s lukewarm commitment to this island apalling.

quote:
Originally posted by Poagao: In case you're wondering if I support TI; I don't (duh). One reason is because Taiwan is basically already independent, and if we play our cards right we may stay that way for all intents and purposes.

Exactly. It has a constitution. Laws. Military. Separate system of government. Police (sort of). President. Elected president. What else does a country need before its independent? I’m against outright declaration of independence because it will most likely result in the deaths or at least loss of freedom for many of my loved ones. And for what? So you can say out loud that ‘we’re independent’? I know this is a very valid face/self-respect issue for many Taiwanese, but its just not worth risking everything they’ve built so far (of course, I’m just a Dumas foreigner).

This is also a good way to get out of arguments of independence with taxi drivers and the like…“Do I support Taiwan independence? No, it’s already independent!” No matter what their political ideologies, they tend to like/agree with this statement, thus avoiding fisticuffs or bing-lang-in-the-face.

TI is very much a horse before the cart issue. As much as TAIWANESE overseas people can lobby their perspective overseas governments, the stumbling block has always been the ROC government. Seven years ago, I worked in Washington DC with Taiwanese American grassroots groups and our biggest road block before was the ROC government, then the PRC government. Any resolution before the US Congress always included the long argument with the ROC govenment about which name to use. ROC, Chinese Taipei, ROC on Taiwan, etc. As much as overseas Taiwanese can accomplish to get Taiwan international recognition, it has always been hindered by the fact that Taiwan is not de jure independent. De facto independence makes it easier for the international community to put China’s interest in ahead of Taiwan’s.
Why the need for de jure independence? International support is an important reason. The lack of international help for Taiwan in the time of crisis has been proven many times. 1998, outbreak of FMD(foot-mouth disease) killed over 50 infants and children. Taiwan did not have access to the medical help that would have been available from the WHO (World Health Organization). During the 9/21/1999 earthquake, the IRC (International Red Cross) refused to sent aid to Taiwan after the Taiwanese govenment offically asked for help. The IRC response is that since in their official view, Taiwan is a province of China, the official request must come from China and not Taiwan. Taiwan’s membership to the WTO (World Trade Organization) was delayed until the day after China was admintted. Taiwan would have been able to enter the WTO earlier if it was a de jure independent country.
China and Taiwan are linked historically in terms of language, history, culture, and traditions. There are differences in current language and culture. What most people see of China is what China want them to see. Most people do not see the harsh conditons of rural China, they only see the modern Beijing or Shanghai. There are differences in language and culture dues to the fact that both sides have developed differently since the Ming dynasty. Decades ago, one of the reason some Chinese people left China to settle in Taiwan was to get away from Chinese rule. In Chinese history, Taiwan was more of a problem for the Ming and Qing dynasties. The dynasties didn’t care too much for Taiwan and would deny controlling the area when other coutries brought complaints about it. Taiwan was turned over to Japan in 1895 for a war over Korea, not Taiwan. The turnover was unlike HK and Macao. HK and Macao was a lease while Taiwan’s turnover was perpetual. The poeple of TAiwan did declare independence for a few months before the Japanese arrived and crushed it. During the period of Japanese rule of Taiwan, Deng Xiaoping openly supported Taiwanese Independence. Ironically, the SFPT (San Francisco Peace Treay) which officially ended WWII and established the UN states that the people of Taiwan should have a vote to decide their own fate. That never happened and due to the delusions/arrogance of the KMT, Taiwan is not part of the UN and does not have full access to the benefits of the UN.
As to why China is so intent on taking over Taiwan, that would be all speculation. I believe that the people who believe in a “reunified” China want to believe in something greater than what they live in now. They want to believe in the power and majesty that they learned in Chinese history. They are trying to capture that illusion that does not exist anymore. Why do the Chinese people in Taiwan want the ROC bak in China? Because they were in power there and have access to a lot more power in China. Now that the KMT have been taken out of the power roles in Taiwan, the Chinese in Taiwan complain about how bad it is in Taiwan. They think about how good it was for them in China and they long for those days. If they love China that much, why don’t they go back? Taiwan is a bargain chip for them to go back to China with some power. The one country two system just means that they will retain some power under the Chinese monlith.
The complaint that a western education is giving people the romantic feeling towards independence, that’s a load of crap. It is the fact that the freedoms of a non-Chinese society that allows information to be freely available. In my 8 years of education in Taiwan, I never learned anything about Taiwan. It was always about China. I was given an assignment in first grade to color in the area of China where my family came from. Of couse I couldn’t find Taichung on the map beause it was a map of China. I learned Taiwanese history in the US. It’s sad that Taiwanese kids were denied their history and identity.
I was born in Taiwan but I do not hold a ROC passport. I have stated to people that I would only get a Taiwan passport when it says Taiwan and not ROC. Since I was born on Taiwan, I am automatically a citizen of the ROC and would renounce my ROC citizenship if I can. As for the ROC military, its an ineffective legacy of the Chinese delusion. It is an overly ground based military that is only useful for a futile invasion of China or a bloody attempt at repeling a PRC invasion of Taiwan. Either way, the people of Taiwan are not protected. Most overseas TI people are not pushing the people of Taiwan into independence. They are working to give the people of Taiwan a choice without the fear from the Chinese. The legistlative push in the US Congress is more about improving the international situation for Taiwan so they can avoid the problems with the IRC, WHO, etc. There are attempts to get the US to clearly state their defense of Taiwan if China attacks. Without the Taiwanese Americans using the benfits of their US citizenships, Taiwan would have been served on a platter to the Chinese by the international community. It is the same Taiwanese Americans/Canadians who have been black listed by the KMT government and fought for the rights of the people in Taiwan that gave up their foreign citizenships to serve in the Taiwanese governemnt.
It has always been up to the people of Taiwan to decide what they want to do. The longer they wait, the situation becomes more uncertain and the risk can become even more. In my view, there is very little that I can do until the people of Taiwan makes a decision about their future or China attacks.

Mark

I once had an argument with my roommate who said that Taiwan should not be independent because that would be just another victory for the US. Um, does that scoreboard even count anymore? And I hate that BS about being American and bringing the spirit of independence with us to Taiwan. Americans today do not understand what it is to be the underdog. We have more in common with China than Taiwan, though most Americans would not detect the similarities right away. What Taiwan has is a completely autonomous government that is being threatened and harrassed by a neighboring country. That is now. Whatever happened in the past is ridiculously irrelevant. Now there is hope that high-tech development will solve this problem, by quietly fusing Taiwan into China’s massive production grid.
Why don’t other countries leave their identities up for grabs as well? It certainly would make it a lot easier for the US and China to tighten their grip. In the end they too might fight it out to see which name sticks longer, but by that time it may not matter so much anymore.

Poagao, you bring up a good point and maybe that is why a lot of Waishengren and you would not want to fight and therefore would never support TI, i.e., you are not prepared to fight and die for a country that you do not identify with, you being originally from American and Waishengren coming from the China of the long gone past.

Your point about a lot of people pining for TI are overseas Chinese or dual passport holders goes both ways. I have seen many people pining for unification as well that are dual passport holders, ex-PRC citizens living abroad or Hong Kong people. What I ask them is why would they wish (unification) upon others if they themselves do not want to live under the rule of Chinese Communist Party.

It seems that by not supporting TI, you personally are also not advocating unification. This I can respect. However, if you support the “Pan Blue” or KMT/PFP alliance aren’t you by default supporting unification.

I think no one wants war whether they are TI advocates or unificationists. I loved President Chen’s campaign ad, where he showed his family growing up and noted that the last thing he would want for Taiwan is war. Chen has been in power for over two years now and no war yet. You can support Taiwan Independence and not want war. It is more like an ultimate goal or dream, but not something that needs to happen overnight.

Do you think hypothetically that perhaps you would be proud to live in the “Republic of Taiwan” if there was no threat of war for whatever reason from the PRC to achieve this?

quote:
Originally posted by Hobart: Paogoa, you bring up a good point and maybe that is why a lot of Waishengren and you would not want to fight and therefore would never support TI, i.e., you are not prepared to fight and die for a country that you do not identify with, you being originally from American and Waishengren coming from the China of the long gone past.

Do you think hypothetically that perhaps you would be proud to live in the “Republic of Taiwan” if there was no threat of war for whatever reason from the PRC to achieve this?


I never said I wasn’t willing to fight. I would just find it extremely irritating if I were required to do so as a result of things people who didn’t have to fight were doing.

I’d rather deal with reality than hypothetical situations, however. I’ve heard so many people say “In an ideal world, this is what it should be like.” Yeah, so? Maybe on your planet, but it ain’t that way here yet. Yeah, it would be great if China were peaceful and democratic. I suspect that in such a case far more people in Taiwan would be fervently pro-unification than there are now.

But China’s not democratic and has its share of problems their leaders would like to cover up by pressing the Taiwan issue. This is what we have to deal with, and shouting “Hey! We’re independent, don’t ya know?” at Beijing just isn’t going to help things.

it all depends on what you mean by “ti”.

does wanting “taiwan” written on the passports count as “ti”?

does seeking a seat in the un count as “ti”? gaining a seat in the who?

how about supporting an amendment to the constitution(or rewriting the constitution altogether) that no change in national status can occur except from an island-wide plebiscite? can that be counted as a “ti” argument just because the “ti” crowd is the only crowd that supports self-determination at this point?

as most people have already stated, taiwan is for all intents and purposes already independent. therefore, there really aren’t any arguments FOR independence, just arguments about how to handle de facto independence and how to move towards de jure independence.

As for reasons that China would have for obtaining Taiwan – other than “face” and “revenge” – remember that geographically, Taiwan is located in a quite strategically important position close to the heart of the southeast Pacific. That was the original justification for American intervention to send in the fleet to save Taiwan in the '50s – it is, just as Britain was in relation to continental Europe during WWII, a giant aircraft carrier to support any possible American-backed invasion of China. China would like to get their hands on Taiwan for security reasons, as a defense against such a possibility – which in the PRC’s eyes is a very real threat, considering the fuss that was made over the U.S. spy plane downed in Hainan a couple of years ago. And if China does take over Taiwan, they have the entire South China Sea – which China claims all of as in its territorial jurisdiction – as their private lake.

The thing is, considering that Taiwan and China have so much in common culturally, it would make much more sense for the PRC to bury the hatchet and begin actively courting Taiwan to their side. Taiwan would be much more useful to China as an ally than as an enemy, and with the “why don’t they just get off our backs so we can be friends and do business and get rich together?” attitude that most Taiwanese seem to have, it shouldn’t be that difficult for the PRC to make an about face. Taiwan and the PRC would have a ‘special relationship’ akin to the one that the U.K.-U.S.A. enjoy (and yes, implied in that is my opinion that just because two nations share the same language and history and culture, doesn’t mean that they necessarily belong together as the same country – just as there are many different Anglophone and Hispanaphone nations, there can and should be many different Sinophone nations).

Well, I am glad to see this discussion and exchange of opinions.

Taiwan did try to be independent after 1945 and CKS and his appointed governor Chen Yi systematically killed the opposition. This was the 228 massacre. Then there was the White Terror of Chang Jingguo. A generation of leaders and bystanders were killed or fled or jailed and the people suppressed.

Mark: My Taiwanese companion is waiting for the Taiwan passport as well. KMT is from China and used Formosa as an escape from complete defeat. Waishengren and Taiwanlang are clear differences in Taiwan culture.

Mod lang: Good points. Who wants China to drive a military wedge between Japan and the Philippines?

What if you declare independence, but no one recognizes you? The UN Security Council vote to allow Taiwan in is blocked by China.

So maybe the status quo and de facto independence is all right and why fight if you can still do business with the enemy?

Business ties and economic trade win out over official political recognition.

Well, I agree that China would be better served if they changed their stance and tried to become allies with Taiwan. First of all, if they did, they could invest in Taiwan and vice-versa. Second, they would probably gain much more international support and cooperation. Third, people could move easily back and forth between Taiwan and China. Fourth, if Taiwan was an allie, they could make it a strategic partner such that it could be helpful in a war. It does seem to me that this problem isn’t going to end without a major fight, and at least under the current U.S. administration, that would mean fighting the U.S. This all said, I personally don’t see China doing an about-face. It would come down to them losing face, and with that such a big issue in the Chinese culture, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

Peter

I’m sure the PLA and its business interests would love to open a branch office in Taiwan.

For some Taiwanese, the KMT coming over in 1945 was enough immigration from China. They are reluctant to open the gates to political refugees again.

I think you need to better understand the Taiwanese viewpoint before you suggest:
“Fourth, if Taiwan was an allie, they could make it a strategic partner such that it could be helpful in a war.” I think you mean strategic military area, but Taiwanese youth fighting for China? CKS tried it already and it wasn’t very popular with the locals. Think of Tibetans being recruited to fight for China. Were occupied French willing to fight for Germany?

I’m not familiar with other historical parallels concerning the situation of Formosa and China, but as for the Chinese who came with CKS, imagine if the French lost the land to the Germans and fled to England, occupied it and kept the name Republic of France and called the locals French by long association and proximity to the continent.