Am I the only pro-unificationist here?

Before I am lambasted, here is my reasoning:

As China will never accept an independent Taiwan, pro-unification is not only the next-best option, it’s the only option.

Why? Well, having now spent almost two months in Shanghai, I feel that vilification and fear of the PRC is unnecessary and downright moronic. And although I do not claim to be an expert on what really happens in China, I get the feeling that the government interferes as little as possible and allows everyone more than a modicum of personal and economic freedom: from what I’ve seen Shanghai is indeed a “free” and prosperous city, and it is certainly more international than Taipei, which leads me to believe the future resides here and not in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese have no reason to be afraid. Take Shanghai, it’s not even an SAR, yet, as explained above, it is just as liberated as anywhere else I’ve been, even though it is directly controlled by Bejing. I can only conclude that an SAR is further removed from the hardliners in Beijing.

And from what I understand Beijing has already offered in return for reunification, if one can even call it that given their terms (own flag, own government, international memberships etc) Taiwan will be more independent than it presently is.

The economic benefits, not to mention a “healthier” Taiwan, to be gained from this, hardly need stating.

Chen Shui Bien and the DPP are seeking independence for power’s sake and not for the greater good of the Taiwanese.

The KMT, although I am no fan, are beginning to make more and more sense.

Don’t you think?[/i]

Actually, Taiwan would be in a very different position than Hong Kong, which does not have anywhere near the population (less than 7 million vs. Taiwan’s 22 million) and never had a military (relying upon the British army and Gurkhas). Taiwan is infinitely more defendable than Hong Kong was from a PRC invasion.

If Taiwan became a SAR, it could do it by naming most of its own terms – separate governance and no actual ceding of most of its authority until some vaguely defined future. Taiwan and the PRC could agree to “mutual defense” against a third party, open up full trade, etc. And yet, Taiwan would have its own government, its own military up until the day when Taiwan so chooses to link in with the PRC.

Along the way, perhaps Taiwan could return some of the Palace Museum booty taken from the Mainland. It seems a bit inappropriate for Taiwanese to prance around saying that they’re not “Chinese” and yet hold on to the best cultural treasures.

I don’t believe the Taiwanese should “reunify” fully with Beijing right now and subject themselves to even a Hong Kong-style SAR arrangement. However, I note that tthe PRC people basically care a lot more about reunification than the Taiwanese seem to care, and the weight of international pressures that the PRC keeps on Taiwan are quite significant. Meanwhile, every Taiwanese who wants to really make a buck has to go over there to do business. The sheer weight will eventually grind Taiwan down unless it starts to engage its neighbor.

I think that the DPP/TSU posturing on this issue has a lot more with thumbing their noses at the KMT than it does with any actual knowledge of the PRC and what they are really facing in the long haul. The “mainlanders” they’re taking on are the guys who did 2-28 and the White Terror, who ran Chen Shui-bian’s wife off the road, etc.

This thread should get interesting once hobart, boomer and others stumble on to it. :slight_smile:

It is interesting that quite a few people say the same thing after visiting China, and especially Shanghai, for a while. Ex-DPP spokeswoman Sisy Chen did an about face as well after she spent time in Shanghai. I think you fully realize just how tiny Taiwan really is compared to China.

I think you have been there long enough to be impressed by the shiny lights, modern buildings, pretty babes, etc but not long enough to get a feel for what is going on politically. And I doubt you saw too many Falungong people practicing in the parks.

There is a lot of personal freedom there - until you cross some unseen moving line, try to enforce some article of a contract, or pursue your constitutional rights - then you quickly end up on the wrong side of PRC law, which puts you in some very, very deep doodoo.

And after all…they’re only Chinese.

I am neither pro-unification nor pro-independence; I am pro-choice. The Taiwanese should ultimately decide their own fate. Most of the Taiwanese seem to be aware of the possible consequences of either choice, so why not let them decide? I can see good reasons both for wanting independence and for wanting to reunite.

I am skeptical of people who say things like “China will never accept an independent Taiwan” or “the people would never vote this way or that.” Too many observers seem to think that the way things are now is the way things will always be. Shit happens. The Iron Curtain falls. The U.S. fights two wars in Iraq. South Africa drops its Apartheid policy. The Red Sox win the World Series (okay, let’s be realistic).

Yeap, exactly.

I don’t know if you’re trolling here, but since I’m bored and have some time on my hands, I’ll bite, even though China-bashing is boring because it is so easy.

As China will never accept an independent Taiwan, pro-unification is not only the next-best option, it’s the only option.[/quote]

And since terrorism will never go away, we should just accept it. Why fight something you don’t believe in?

Having lived in China for two years around the Tiananmen Massacre, I think it is moronic to think that such a government would change. Add Falun Gong and the suppression of those who want to make the Chinese government and the world take note of the AIDS problem.

So, like in Taiwan for example, you could actually be a Falun Gong follower without having to go to prison. Or you could be a practicing catholic without being persecuted. Or you could call your president, who you elected in free elections, a moron and an idiot on TV and in any newspaper without being afraid of any repercussions. Or you would have elected your city council and mayor in open and free elections. I could go on and on, but I’m sure I’ve made my point, if bluntly.

Meaning, I’m sure, that Taiwan would be allowed to participate in any international organization they want under the name they choose, that they would be allowed to set up diplomatic relations with any country they like, and that the president of Taiwan would be able to travel anywhere he pleases on official business. I could go on and on…

I couldn’t comment on any economic benefits, mainly because I can’t see where they would come from.

[quote]Chen Shui Bien and the DPP are seeking independence for power’s sake and not for the greater good of the Taiwanese.

The KMT, although I am no fan, are beginning to make more and more sense.[/quote]

I’m sure the unificationists seek unification purely for altruistic reasons, for the good of all Taiwan, and not because they want to regain the power they have already lost. After all, James Soong is such a sweet guy, and all that talk about him as head of the GIO directing the persecution that put all the democracy activists in jail after the Kaohsiung incident is absolutely wrong. He was of course working for the good of Taiwan.


It’s not a matter of the PRC people “never accepting” Taiwan independence, it is more like they go completely apeshit if Taiwan comes up as a topic. Taiwanese guys care – some care a lot – about independence. However, there is a strong component of apathy.

Do I see the Taiwanese finding their inner enlightened warrior to pull off the sort of massive whompings of the Persians that the Athenians managed? No. The Taiwanese, as a whole, just don’t care enough – that makes them susceptible to being ground down.

The PRC does not have to invade. They will just grind down the Taiwanese on the international front, soak up all the manufacturing and investment until anybody with any money has their livelihood sitting across the Strait, keep up the military pressure so that Taiwan never gets a real “peacetime” economy. All the meanwhile, China will be getting more like Taiwan – more middle class, more democratic, etc. Challenges to the PRC’s system are being sustained, and it is becoming better as a result.

People are people, and with the exception of the aboriginal tribes, the difference between Taiwan people, PRC people and Hong Kong people result solely from accident of birth. Frankly, most of the mainland bashing still seems far more focused on hatred of the KMT White Terror goon squad than any actual knowledge of the PRC.

Well boys, I just send a P.M to Hobart with a link to this thread. Things ought to get interesting pretty soon.

Rather than copy this whole article here’s a link

Personally, if it would be of any benefit to me I would unify with China in a New York minute, but then it’s none of my business really, is it? Well, is it?

I belong to a KMT family in Taiwan but they are staunch “Taiwan is Taiwan” and “Chinese are a pain in the neck” believers, or at least my wife is. My wife has an Uncle that is a KMT legislator and yet unification is a ridiculous thought for them.

At least if we were part of China perhaps the Taiwanese pronunciation of Mandarin could improve, but that may be too much to ask. I have recently become more frustrated about my pronunciation becoming more and more Taiwanese eg. “Wo bu si mei go ren”.

I must be really bored getting involved in this thread. I’m waiting for my school to finish up for the night and the Office girl to go home. The end of another loooooooooonnnnnngggg week.

Alleycat, your premise is based on the single example of Shanghai, and probably not under the layers of onion skin that make up its ecomony and status as seen by Beijing. I have traveled to only a small fraction of the country (21 cities) and Shanghai appeared to me more of an exception than a rule.

I think what you really meant to post was, “Hey, Shanghai is a happenin’ place. Let’s get drunk!”

[quote=“Alleycat”]am I the only pro-unificationist here?

Before I am lambasted…[/quote]

I’ve already made a noose…anybody know where there’s a big, tall tree with some strong limbs? And a horse. We gotta have a horse.


Taipei’s mayor is a horse…horse’s ass, that is. :smiling_imp:

Heh. That’s it, exactly.

A few truths which I regard as gospel:

(1) China should be broken up by any means necessary. Not because it is communist, but because the very concept of “China” is inherently threatening to everyone around it.

(2) Shanghai and Beijing are not representative of China as a whole, much of which remains a police state. For that matter Beijing and Shanghai are hardly models of democracy, despite their bright new glass-windowed office buildings.

(3) People who do business with China, are setting themselves up for a rude awakening–both because of the Chinese tendency to screw investors, and the likelihood of future social and economic collapse.

(4) Taiwan independence people talk a good talk, but do not appear willing to fight. Even the military does not seem terribly reliable.

(5) Taiwan’s politicians will readily sell out (or have already sold out) to China for sufficient moolah. And China is willing to spend this moolah on such a worthy cause.

(6) Absorption into China has been bad for Hong Kong–both economically and in human rights terms–and would be bad for Taiwan. It would go from being a self-governing haven, to a marginalized backwater.

(7) Taiwan is too small NOT to depend on other countries economically, and China links make the most sense, purely from an engineering standpoint.

(8) The U.S. and Japan cannot allow Taiwan to become controlled by China, because of the sea lanes. The U.S. in particular will take any action necessary to deny China Taiwan, no matter what its diplomats might say officially.

(9) No matter what happens, Taiwan is probably doomed to host an ever-larger Chinese immigrant population–including wives, hookers, gangsters, and spies (with some qualifying as all of the above).

(10) China’s leaders are too cautious and self-serving to risk something as bold as an invasion of Taiwan–which, if it failed, would lead to recriminations back home for whoever led the charge.

alleycat, you’ve been shanghaied! Come home, come home!

Two countries, China and Taiwan. no other way. Period.

quote=“Screaming Jesus” China should be broken up by any means necessary. Not because it is communist, but because the very concept of “China” is inherently threatening to everyone around it…

(3) People who do business with China, are setting themselves up for a rude awakening–both because of the Chinese tendency to screw investors, and the likelihood of future social and economic collapse…

(6) Absorption into China has been bad for Hong Kong–both economically and in human rights terms–and would be bad for Taiwan. It would go from being a self-governing haven, to a marginalized backwater.

(7) Taiwan is too small NOT to depend on other countries economically, and China links make the most sense, purely from an engineering standpoint.[/quote]

Let’s see…

  1. China should be broken up and if it isn’t broken up, there’s the likelihood it will fall apart because of social and economic collapse.

  2. China also screws investors

  3. Hong Kong has suffered economically since its absorption into China.

…and yet Screaming Jesus writes this…

  1. China links make sense for Taiwan, purely from an engineering standpoint?

I don’t know about from an engineering standpoint (whatever the hell that’s suppose to mean), but from an economic standpoint someone claiming that it make sense to link up to a country with a likelihood of economic collapse, the tendency to screw investors, and unfavorable conditions for small wealthy outliers it wants to absorb is off his rocker.

You guys make some good points, and most of them are valid.

Still, I see the status quo, which almost half of Taiwanese favor, is not the best thing for Taiwan. Rather than wait around for things to collapse, a brave move by the Taiwanese–reunification or something similar–might just be what’s needed.

Besides, what real freedom do Taiwanese now have? If freedom i.e. independence means the recognition thereof by others and the ability to function as an “individual,” then Taiwan surely has none, unless you count the purchasing of such recognition from third-world countries as such.

Is it really so hard for some of you to think another way than what is popularly thought? And to take offense at any notion you adhere to, without calling someone a troll or feigning boredom. I’m just trying out a pragmatic angle in my thinking. All this talk of “freedom” is, well, just talk. Perhaps it is time to take on another tack.

And a divided China? How silly. You mean you’d like a lot of warring states? For whose benefit? The US?

Talk about splitting up China just plays right into the average PRC’s citizen’s worst nightmares of the old “concession era” days. Perhaps some of the post-Opium-War humiliation can be traced through to current PRC attitudes about Taiwan, Tibet and other places that have, at one point or another, been part of the Chinese constellation.

With the current U.S. administration, it is hard enough to respond to their accusations that the U.S. is a hegemonist. In the Cold War era, we could at least say they were trying to balance things out. In the post-Cold-War era the U.S. could say they were “filling a vacuum”. Now, we’re doing whatever the heck Halliburton wants. The Chinese look at the U.S. policy and see the puppet masters pulling Bush’s strings, and they think that their conspiracy theories were right all along.

There seems to exist a Taiwanese fantasy world in which China will collapse and Taiwan will split off while everybody in the PRC trying to do their part. It is far more likely that any collapse in the PRC will trigger an effort to “bind the nation together” by going after Taiwan for once and for all. A desperate China is definitely not in the Taiwan’s interest.

Alleycat, you’re a sucker.

Go clubbing in New York for two months and tell me that you understand the U.S. Then go to London for the same amount of time and tell me you understand the British people. If there was a dollar to be collected for you and every twit of a journalist who visited Beijing or Shanghai and idiotically thought they knew China, I could retire. You’re extremely naive and short-sighted.

I wish you could have gone to Capetown in the '70s and told me how well things ran there. Hey–as long as you followed the law things were great.

So you went to China? Ever get out of the city or go to the countryside? Ever talk to the people in the foreign provinces? Ever visit one of the factories? Ever talk to the foreigners who actually deal with Chinese management? Ever talk to someone who can’t afford the places you ate at? Ever talk to some VP at “MacroSquash” who has to grant favors to the local party leaders? Ever talk to a foreigner who’se been arrested, had the police kick them out of their apartment for dating a Chinese girl, or had the gall to carry a camera where they’re not supposed to (like a public place where someone’s practicing Falun Gong)?

You know, what I appreciate as I get older is the perspective of time. With this perspective my awareness of how things progress grows stronger. In regard to this topic, I find it easy to see how systems work–in particular, the system that is being built within China.

Party leaders have been trying to adapt a hard-core communist system into a free and dynamic capitalist system. Never mind that this effort is oxymoronic–what is harder for people like you to see is how natural social patterns are evolving. With the Communist Party still the only legal political party, there is no natural competition for reform, political freedom, or justice. The system cannot sustain itself.

What amazes me is the stupidity of the foreign business community. As a die-hard capitalist, I’m amazed that they don’t put a dollar value on a free economic system. As pointed out by others in this thread, the people who dominate the system in China have no real competition. The only reason the Communist leaders want to keep foreign investors happy is to entice more foreign investors. In this vacuum of competition there will never be any true social stability. Maybe they should talk to some of the foreigners who were around before the revolution. Instead of a pre-revolutionary China where capitalists could abuse anyone’s rights, we have a post-revolutionary where once staunch party loyalists are now jaded “entrepeneurs” and can abuse anyone’s rights. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was Rule of Law again in China?

China has built it’s present-day economic system entirely on foreign investment and growth. It has no social infrastructure for economic disaster, and no infrastructure for handling any massive unemployment that would follow. Foreign companies would be wise to have either a very quick exit strategy, or a huge cash reserve to keep themselves afloat. I’m hearing more and more about the lack of actual profits from investments in China. I keep on reading about the need for patience with their “long-term” strategy. Certainly big-name companies are treated well, as long as the Communist leaders stay savvy about any negative headlines their mistreatment would generate (and aren’t yet ready to substitute them for their own home-grown brand). But never underestimate the stupidity of the business community. Anybody remember the “The Japan That Can Say No?” Anybody remember the Internet Bubble?

I’m sticking to my forecast that within the next eight years Mainland China will go through a revolution. I’m hoping that it can break apart into a much looser federation of provinces with true democracy. But I’m afraid that it will be much uglier than that.

Taiwan has made a transition into an evolving democracy. China should be following their example. Supporting Taiwan is a sound political and economic investment.

Let’s all remember something else. The people of China don’t hear this debate. Because of the state-controlled media they’re guided to believe that either the Taiwanese are evil, or suffering from their own mis-direction.