If China collapses, what should Taiwan do?

If Red China collapses soon a la the USSR, would you want to see Taiwan become a part of the new free China? Or would you, either as a foreigner or a native here, prefer to see Taiwan remain an independent country, as it is now?

My own feeling is this: if Red China was to collapse, and it will soon, the USSR is a good model, I would hope that there would then be two countries, recognized by the world, and the UN – China and Taiwan. Although with a free China over there, there could be a lot more cooperation between the two countries and lots of fun and games.

It will happen. Soon.

If it does, what would you like to see happen then?

I dunno…it depends. Will “Red China” be like the former Soviet Union is now or more Mad Maxish? Also, given that “it will happen” and the choices are one or two countries, can you peer in your crystal ball and tell me the name of the despot that will be able to keep Tibet, Xinjiang, and other minority regions from breaking off and forming their own countries after the communist government collapses.

chainsmoker asks: “…can you peer in your crystal ball and tell me the name of the despot that will be able to keep Tibet, Xinjiang, and other minority regions from breaking off and forming their own countries after the communist government collapses.”

Good point. Dunno. I got no crystal ball. Not that smart. My guess is that those places will break away and form their own countries, just as happened in Ye Olde Soviet Unioniskies…

I am all for that too. Let everyone go their own way… FREEDOM!

Okay, but then what are you basing this statement about the collapse of China on?

But if it did happen, Taiwan should still stay"independent." Taiwan has had very little interaction with China in the past 100 years. That’s a fair chunk of time. Increased cultural, economic and sporting links would be great but there’s no need for a political union.
A major problem with comparing China and the Soviet Union is that the ethnic make up of the provinces is vastly different. Take Inner Mongolia: it is overwhelmingly populated by Han Chinese. Even if such provinces were given democracy they would still side with Beijing rather than with the barbarian hordes.

It is kind of naive to believe that the impact of a collapsing China would not be negatively felt in Taiwan.

You assume that the Communist Party will let itself lose power without much of a struggle. I don’t want to go into the details of comparing the USSR in 89 with China today (in fact I might not be able to do that very well), but nationalism is very strong on the Mainland. Talk to your average Mainlander and you will find out that it is absolutly impossible for them to stomach an independent Taiwan.
This nationalism is one of the few things that truely unite the Mainland Chinese people, so before an overthrow, the government is very likely to play the Taiwan card and get rough, since this would be an immensely popular thing to do and will keep you in power, if only temporarily.
I don’t even want to consider what China would look like after a collapse, but it would not be a pretty sight; back to the warring states period is not unlikely, with Taiwan being one of the warring states, mind you.

So, my bottom-line is: Don’t beg for even an unstable China and cross your fingers that Jiang dies soon and Hu will hopefully initiate the reforms necessary to keep China on track.

chainsmoker wrote; “Okay, but then what are you basing this statement about the collapse of China on?”

Just a gut feeling and therefore purely personal. But it just seems inevitable that CHina commies will collapse, but when a new leader like Gorby arrives. It might be Hu. Watch.

All commie societies collapse sooner or later. It WILL happen in China. OF course, we dunno when. But as we prepare for this event, what do you want to see as the outcome. REunification or go their own ways, PRC and ROC?

i know many Taiwanese feel that if the Commies collapse, they want to rejoin a free China. UGH! I agree with the earlier poster above, China and Taiwan have become very different societies.

But as I am just a guest here, I don’t want to presume to tell the ROC which way to go. They will go the way they wish. I am just curious how outsiders here feel. One way or the other…

I know, go to sleep, man!

I would love to be able to ask people in mainland China who are adamant that Taiwan is part of China and should remain so, what exactly their reasons for thinking so are, and what difference exactly it would make to them either way. There is almost no news whatsoever about Taiwan published in China, except major disasters, and the average mainlander without unfettered internet access knows absolutely nothing whatsoever about Taiwan. They know much more about almost any country in the world. This universal and absolute ignorance is the best platform upon which to build unquestioning nationalism.

I don’t see many similarities between China and the USSR, other than their size and communist origin. Perhaps some could be provided to support the original premise ?

I would like to see China become divided into 20 or 30 independent countries–not only splitting off the obvious candidates like Tibet, East Turkestan, and Taiwan but dividing the Chinese heartland itself.

“China” and “Chinese culture” are inherently evil concepts, whether democracy is a part of this mix or not. “China” represents a certain political mindset whereby certain coastal and riparion regions of East Asia tend to politically unite (there being few geographic barriers), forming a mass capable of dominating and overwhelming surrounding countries. This mindset should be banned, for the same reasons that Nazism is banned in Europe.

It is hardly a coincidence that the people of every single surrounding country hate the Chinese with a passion. But they don’t hate Tibet, or Taiwan, or the other regions. Remember too that the “Chinese” population is increasing geometrically. Unless something is done, one day Western countries will be in the position of Tibet, having to react to this demographic threat. Perhaps we will be more like Southeast Asia, where Chinese merchants control the bulk of the economy thanks in part to links with one another based on their perceived “Chinese” identity.

Since Chinese regions often have their own distinct languages and economic systems, similar to the states of Southeast Asia, that they should have been united into “China” rather than divided into independent countries (each one promoting its own regional identity) was a rather arbitrary development. “Chinese” really only developed an ethnic identity as such out of opposition to the Manchus–without ever, you’ll notice, actually dividing “China” from Manchuria as nationalism would suggest. (They simply replaced the Manchus as the lords of a multinational empire.)

Similarly, Taiwan could have just as easily come to resemble the Philippines (if the Portuguese had stayed) or Okinawa (if it remained Japanese). Tibet could have been linked with India rather than China, much as Outer Mongolia fell into the Russian orbit.

Democratic nations can be just as obnoxious as autocratic ones. Given the opportunity to freely vote on the matter, the Chinese people would cheerfully allow their own nationalism to outweigh any feelings Tibetans, Taiwanese, etc. might have about matters. Similarly, the United States would never allow a truly sovereign Indian nation or its equivalent (for Hawaii and Alaska) to arise within its borders, for reasons of patriotism as well as economic exploitation. We don’t care about other people’s feelings, and neither would the Chinese, unless they’re made to.

In order to prevent voluntary unification, outside countries ought to be given mandates over Chinese territory. Given the attractiveness of economic links between the mainland and the Pacific island chain, the most stable solution would probably involve placing smaller-population outer peoples (like the Manchus during the Ching dynasty, or the Japanese during the early 20th century) in control of vast swathes of the continent. Shandong and Manchuria could go back to Japan, for example. The aim would be a “continental sword” strategy.

Oh, but by the way…

I agree that the odds of a PRC collapse are significant. The standard counterargument is that the Soviet Union was something like 50 % non-Russian, whereas China’s people are 90 % “Han” (a 20th century ethnonym that first appeared, to the best of my knowledge, in the first Buck Rogers novel). Presumably, then, a collapsed China would tend to look more like Russia today than the Soviet Union then–i.e. bankrupt and divided into fiefdoms, but still just as jingoistic.

A Chinese political collapse would by no means automatically result in a free Tibet. More likely, the Chinese military leaders there would set themselves up as warlords. Only after several generations would enough Chinese abandon the plateau due to health reasons, to restore the traditional dynamic. Think of Chechnya rather than Kazakhstan. Most Russians basically hate the Chechens and desire for their country to occupy the Chechens forever as a patriotic and punitive measure.

Anyone who thinks that a Communist collapse is likely soon is smoking something. To compare the USSR and the PRC is simply comparing apples and oranges.

In the USSR there had been significant economic decline for almost twenty years before Gorbachev came. He also tried political reforms and economic reforms simultaneously. This had not been done in China. Economic reform has given a lot of people a lot of money. These people have traded their political rights for economic prosperity and have been quite happy to do so. China is only communist because that’s the name of it’s government. It’s people have the ability to engage in almost any activity as long as it doesn’t challenge the Communist Party. Thus, after 150 years of political confusion and poor economics the people of China are relatively well-off.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who’d love to take down the CCP. It does mean, however, that there are enough people benefitting under the current regime that they would not be willing to topple the CPP. After all, nobody knows who would replace them and that would bring chaos (luan, in Chinese) and unsettled politics brings economic problems. Thus in short, while it would be nice to get rid of Jiang and his pals, don’t count on it. Perhaps in 15 to 20 years, but not before then.

[quote=“mfaass”]To compare the USSR and the PRC is simply comparing apples and oranges.[/quote]I agree. Apples are round with a dimpled end. Some varieties have a more elongated shape. Their flesh is firm and skins are thin, smooth, and polished. Oranges have a thicker, leathery skin, a more perfect round shape, and the flesh is comprised of tiny juice-filled sacs. Oh… and they are orange. They are completely different.

There is no good reason for Taiwan to unify with China now. Nor would there be any good reason for Taiwan to unify with China after the Communist Party loses power. If China’s government collapses you might not just see two countries (aren’t there two countries already? Taiwan is independent) but a few more. How about East Turkestan (Xinjiang), Tibet and Hong Kong?

When the Chinese Communist Party finally does face up to reality I hope its end will be a peaceful one. I also hope relations between Taiwan and China can be normal and friendly and not distorted by history. While Taiwan and China are separate countries there is no reason for them not to have a very close relationship. They share much in common.

And that I think is the crux of the matter. As long as the Chinese are making money, or have some hope of doing so, they are happy. Look to HK, or various Chinese communities in SE Asia for an example of the willingness to put political freedom behind economic concerns. It has been the loss of faith in the economy that’s been behind the Chinese revolutions, not official corruption, abuse of powers, nepostism or the other thousand reasons espoused by historians or even the revolutionaries themselves. Sadly, it’s those who have no faith in Taiwan’s economy that propose selling it to China.

Of course, if the masses in the hinterland ever wake up to the reality that they will never see wealth as observed in the coastal areas, the kettle could boil over. The CCP of course will do it’s very best to make sure another Mao does not appear to spoil the Party.

China’s economy is entirely based on foreign investment. As soon as the investors figure out they will never get the sales there they now think they will, the already-rising costs will drive them off to other places and the whole deck of cards will come down.

Taiwan should stay independant as it is now, whatever transpires in China.

YOU WROTE: “Thus in short, while it would be nice to get rid of Jiang and his pals, don’t count on it. Perhaps in 15 to 20 years, but not before then.”

Yeh, agree. 2025 is a good date. Go slow, be patient. But it will happen …

As stated above a collapse of China is something that will probably never happen. China is very different from the former Soviet Union. Do you really believe that the goverment would let itself collapse and break up into republics like the USSR? Not likely!

Taiwan should remain as it is, an eventually unification is probably inevitable, but who knows. Stranger things have happend.

JEFFG: that was the same question everyone asked back in the days before the USSR collapsed. A new leader will arise, a Chinese Gorby, maybe this Hu guy. Watch. I am probably wrong, but let’s see… give it 25 years.

Never say never!!!

I said probably will never happen. It could, but I don’t see it. As Formosa just stated maybe in 25 years, but who knows. China is unpredictable. I just cannot imagine China broken up into little countries, look at history. They do not care about people, they only care about territory… It’s different then the former Soviet Union.

I wasn’t given the chance. I was in Chongqing las August. Stopped at a local art shop to buy a painting. As soon as the owner found out I was living in Taiwan, HE gave ME an earful about why Taiwan should be independent.

Given the speed with which China is opening to the world, I think it’s overly simplistic to just assume that all mainlanders buy the government’s line on Taiwan.

But regardless, the official government position – coincidental with that of the ROC in Taipei – is that Taiwan retrocessed to China on October 25, 1945, the day China took possession of it from the Japanese.