Just a Thought: What if Orchid Island was "Taiwan"?

Imagine. Taiwan is deeply divided between people in the north and the south. It has come to the point where there are two parties, the KMT and DPP, fighting each other. The KMT is still in power, but part of the army now supports the DPP. Violence erupts, civil war commences. The KMT loses the battle and defeated President Ma and his troops retreat to Orchid Island (Lanyu) where they are safe for the moment, cause the DPP has nothing left to take this now fortified island. Years pass and the situation is left unsolved. Lanyu develops quite nicely under KMT rule, though the indigenous population is less than happy, and there are even voices who call for an independent Lanyu. Now, the DPP on the main island always insists that Lanyu is an inseparable part of Taiwan and any declaration of independence would mean that the use of force to reclaim the island could not be ruled out.

One day a newly elected government invites an envoy from Mainland Taiwan two Orchid Island, but many Orchiders protest the visit because in their eyes the DPP people will always be the enemy…

Now, I know it’s not the same as the present situation, but what would be the difference, really? The same people demanding Taiwan Independence now would demand reunification with Orchid Island in that scenario. People on both sides aren’t that different, really.

The nuclear waste stored there could add to the arsenal. Schools of contaminated flying fish in endless assault waves…

Well, on a slightly tangential line of thought –

I have often heard it mentioned that some people asked President Chen Shui-bian (during his Presidency) what his thoughts were on “Orchid Island independence.”

Although President Chen was not if favor of the idea, I am not exactly sure of what arguments he used to deny the Orchid Islanders their rights to self-determination under the UN Charter.

President Chen was often adamant in claiming those very same rights for the Taiwanese people, so it was surprising to me how he could turn around and in the next breath deny the same rights to those living on Taiwan’s many offshore islands.

Can anyone explain these apparent contradictions?

The nuclear waste stored there could add to the arsenal. Schools of contaminated flying fish in endless assault waves…[/quote]

Well, under certain circumstances Taiwan could indeed become completely independent from Mainland China, and anyone else for that matter, without even having to fight a war again: a major earthquake or a meteor strikes the island causing all nuclear power plants to explode at the same time destroying Ilha Formosa beyond repair. No, on second thought, that wouldn’t work either, everyone would want to use it then as a nuclear waste dump. We probably have to sink the whole friggin island before China would end any reclamation efforts.

Ai Tawan de Ren! Stop dreaming about a truly independent Taiwan. Won’t happen. Won’t happen. Negotiate with China and agree upon the best possible deal for the people (not the politicians) on both sides. That’s the way to do it.

Hannes: you’d have to give LanYu to the Philippines for fifty years first, then have someone else kick them out and leave the island in limbo for that to be a passing comparison.

and just a note: Taiwan IS totally independent of PRC.

[quote=“urodacus”]Hannes: you’d have to give LanYu to the Philippines for fifty years first, then have someone else kick them out and leave the island in limbo for that to be a passing comparison.

and just a note: Taiwan IS totally independent of PRC.[/quote]

right, I mean officially recognized independent, not de facto

OK, give the island to the Philippines first, but that wouldn’t change the attitude of the Mainland Taiwanese DPPlers who would claim Lanyu as theirs, would it?


Logically, and geo-politically, no difference.
Politically and ethically, a great deal of difference.

Given that China is undemocratic and a gross violator of human rights, the CCP’s claim to legitimate sovereignty is very thin (once you get past the brute force, facts on the ground) aspect.

As Taiwan is democratic and has a pretty decent (recent) record on the human rights front, it’s claim to legitimate sovereignty is much stronger with respect to Lanyu.

If the people of Lanyu wished to become independent of Taiwan, that route should be open to them, but it need not, and possibly should not, be an entirely smooth path. In many jurisdictions, divorce is a fairly difficult process, involving waiting periods and complex negotiations; dividing a country should be a more difficult, involved process. The Czech Republic and Slovakia split amicably enough, and if Quebec ever voted for independence, should peaceably go its own way. But in a democratic state, as opposed to say, China, other alternatives are available and should be explored.

So, if China was a democratic country with a cleaner human rights record (let’s say like the US), would the majority of Taiwanese welcome unification? Would China not threaten with force in the case Taiwan officially declared independence? Would the Taiwanese just have to vote to become officially independent?

First question: Beats me. Canada’s got a great human rights record, and maybe 30% of Quebeckers still want out. A desire for national self-determination needn’t be based on abuse or historical grievance. And once they have independence, few polities are eager to give it up. Puerto Rico’s kind of independent, kind of part of the US, and internally divided over whether it wants full statehood, independence, or the status quo.

Second question: probably. Depends on the character of your counterfactual China.
The US went to war over succession.
India didn’t, but tore itself apart, then went to war.
Ditto Pakistan/Bangladesh.
Czechoslovakia didn’t.
Yugoslavia did.
The USSR didn’t, then did.
East Timor didn’t really, but suffered for a long, long time.
Georgia didn’t, then did.
Democratic or no, history seems to be on the side of war.

Third question: just vote? No. Nor should it be that easy. Constitutions are exercises in self-binding. (“Realizing that we sometimes get worked up and do stupid things, We the People do solemnly swear that we will never… blah, blah, blah… no matter how much we really, really want to at that time.”) Unfortunately, constitutions seldom make provisions for opting out, so there’s no Act of Succession to guide people through the process. It should not be easy, and aside from the complex negotiations, should involve more than a simple 50%+1 vote. Given the difficulties involved in joining peoples together, and the complexities of separation, I would think that something like a 60% super majority, and a pair of votes 5 or 10 years apart on a very clear question should be required. If, after the first vote, the larger polity is unable to accommodate/persuade the dissatisfied region that it’s in their best interests to stay, then a peaceful separation should be effected. Of course, that assumes a very reasonable, and reasonably dispassionate electorate and leadership.

Great answers, Jaboney!

Could you please translate it into Chinese so I can show it to some of my pro TI friends? Just kidding. :wink:

Now, if you are right, an officially recognized independent Taiwan would be very very difficult to achieve even if Mainland China was democratic and well behaved, although a large portion of Taiwanese would still prefer to be independent regardless of Mainland China’s political system. In your examples, only the Czechs seemed to have found a peaceful solution.


The Czechs are the only clean, clear break that come to mind. There are many instances of devolution to looser confederations, but that’s not going to fly here.

Actually, Aceh, Indonesia, had a pretty brutal conflict for independence going on until the tsunami. They got nailed pretty hard, then received a lot of aid. Either because they were so badly hit and unable to fight, or because given outside aid, they discovered the benefits of remaining part of the larger polity, the fight for independence was abandoned. Not exactly the best way to kindle a new fellow-feeling between Taiwan and China, is it?

The situation here is also complicated by the CCP and KMT having already fought the war and largely agreeing on the meaning of its outcome, while the DPP would point to another historical breaking point entirely. Taiwan could fight, again, for its independence, the way the Finns did against Russia. It’s not inconceivable that they could hold out, but it would be massively costly.

:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

Two more “what if” scenarios. Historic ones. I have thought about those often.

What if, for whatever reason, Taiwan had become completely self-ruled after WW2? Let’s say the Japanese left, the Chinese fought their civil war, and, regardless who won, no one came over to Taiwan, leaving the Taiwanese all by themselves. Now, what kind of Taiwan would we have today? A country more like the Philippines or a country more like Japan? A democracy or a dictatorship? Would the Taiwanese have managed to create the same economic miracle like they did with the help of the KMT?

And the other scenario. The CCP did manage to defeat the KMT there and then. Taiwan became part of the PRC in 1949. How would Taiwan look now? More like one of those coastal provinces, such as Guangdong, or more like a rural backwater, such as Shaanxi?

I am not really pro anything here. An independent Taiwan would be fine with me, as would a Taiwan that is being part of China. As long as the people find a peaceful solution, I am all for it.

Looking what happened in Japan, China, Korea over the last 60 years or so and compare it to what the situation was in Taiwan, I can’t help but thinking “the Taiwanese were so incredibly fortunate”. And that’s true even if you take into account 228, a bit of WW2 action, White Terror, and eh, eh… not really that much, right?

The Chinese were slaughtered by the Japanese, they fought a long Civil War, they had the Great Leap Backwards, the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen, and what not more…

The Japanese had major cities completely destroyed and had the two A-bombs dropped upon them.

The Koreans suffered so much more under Japanese rule, they had the Korean war and some of them have lived behind a cold iron curtain ever since.

The Taiwanese where really lucky, really. You could even argue that part of their luck had to do with the KMT protecting them from the Communists… :wink:

The Taiwanese where really lucky, really. You could even argue that part of their luck had to do with the US protecting them from the Communists… :wink:

As regards to the Orchid island scenario:

I am a strong believer in the will of the people. Especially since Orchid Island holds no value, I would simply let them have their independence. In fact, given the current situation in Taiwan on the stage of international politics, I would recognize all countries(providences) that are in a similar situation in which Taiwan is in. For example, if Quebec had its own government, I would reach out to them. Maybe even tibet, hong kong (if they don’t want to be part of China anymore), and maybe even Osseta.

I would also encourage all of our diplomatic allies to do the same.

In a sense, we round up all of the outcasts and a few members of the UN and establish our own little UN so to speak.

Remember: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

We work together, help each other out (although Taiwan would probably the most powerful one among these countries and states)