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Mar 10

Letter from a Chinese netizen to US President Barack Obama

Written by guest on Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 at 6:55 pm
Filed under:Letters, Opinion |
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(Bi Yantao’s Note: Massive thanks to Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang, President of China-U.S. Friendship Exchange, Inc., for guiding me to this letter. In fact, this is the second letter I have came across from Chinese citizens to US President Barack Obama on US’s arms sale to Taiwan. Another letter is written by Mr. Tian Zhongguo, a Chinese veteran. I will not feel surprised if some Western people brush aside this letter by asserting it is masterminded by the Chinese authorities. )

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve heard that you care for the voices of web users. I’ve also noticed that you requested a direct dialogue with web users to answer their questions and concerns during your visit to China last November. Your attention to web users has encouraged me to write to you. I am an ordinary web user from China. What I want to talk to you about is the US’ arms sale to Taiwan, which has raised a heated discussion on the Internet in China. I sincerely hope this letter reaches you, and that you would be able to hear the voice of an ordinary Chinese web user and his wishes for reunification and peace and his nation.

In your speech to Chinese youth in Shanghai you said, “the strength of the 21st century is not a zero-sum game, the success of a country to another country should not sacrifice the cost. This is why we do not seek to contain China’s rise. On the contrary, we welcome to the international community, China, as a strong, prosperous and successful member.” You have called for “changes” during your election campaign; so I think your words on “not seek to contain China’s rise” shows your sincerity in making some “changes” in Sino-US relations. The first thing that comes to mind is that the US government under you, unlike your predecessors, will not annoy China on China’s reunification and the Taiwan Question, as the Chinese nationals really appreciate the current peaceful cross-Straits relationship.

However, two months after you left Shanghai, your promise “not seek to contain China’s rise” and “my administration fully supports a one-China policy” is weirdly mingled with your decision to sell arms to Taiwan. I am not sure if I have interpreted you wrongly. Either you have not changed, or you have changed so fast that I do not even have the time to picture what great peace and happiness your promise would bring to the people across the Taiwan Straits. Of course, I hope I am not wrong in understanding your promise, and you are not changing fast. Because a president who brings hope into the White House, is not expected to “change nothing” or “change too fast”.

I enjoyed your speech and admired your speaking skills. I really wish you could meet the Chinese youth and the Chinese web users, and explain whether your promise to them or to China has changed. But I’d like to add a note here. We do not need lame explanations like “arms sale to Taiwan is good for security across the Taiwan Straits”, because it is an insult to our intelligence if we believe in such excuses. It is a simple fact that for the separatists, the more advanced their equipments is, the more they would want to split from the nation. In the American Civil War, the southern rebels were even crazier in their fight with the Federal government under Abraham Lincoln after they received military support from Britain.

Mr President, when you first put your hands on the Bible that Abraham Lincoln once used and vowed to be the 44th president of the United States, many people called you “Lincoln the second”. There are even people in media counting the similarities between you and Lincoln: you are both from an ordinary family, and both have brilliant talent and eloquence. You also said you are a fan of Lincoln in your autobiography, The Audacity of Hope. But no matter how many similarities you and Abraham Lincoln might have, I, as an ordinary Chinese, think you have one deep-rooted difference. The difference is that President Lincoln had suffered from the splitting pains of his nation, and bore hatred for the external power that intervened to split his nation; but you did not.

Mr President, you are a knowledgeable man. You must have remembered the Trent Affair during the American Civil War, where President Lincoln bit the bullet and met the unreasonable demands of the British to release the special envoys the southern rebels sent to Britain. However, during that time, Lincoln told his people “that was a pretty bitter pill to swallow, but I contented myself with believing that England’s triumph in the matter would be short-lived, and that after ending our war successfully we could if we wished call England to account for the embarrassments she had inflicted upon us.”

Mr. President, do you know that you are compelling Chinese people to swallow a bitter pill by selling arms to Taiwan and interfering in the reunification of China? Has it occurred to you that the leaders in China might have spoken the same words your idol, Abraham Lincoln once said, that “we wished (to) call America to account for the embarrassments she had inflicted upon us”?

Yours sincerely,
LTML
A Chinese web user from bbs.huanqiu.com
Feb. 2, 2010

Chinese Edition: http://bbs.huanqiu.com/zongluntianxia/thread-309897-1-1.html
English Edition: http://forum.globaltimes.cn/forum/showthread.php?t=12869


There are currently 6 comments highlighted: 64982, 65021, 65037, 65483, 65732, 68234.

157 Responses to “Letter from a Chinese netizen to US President Barack Obama”

  1. colin Says:

    Obama, the greatest all talk, do nothing president the US has had yet. He’ll fill you with hope based on his rhetoric, then send you into despair when those hopes turn out to be empty.

  2. Bill Says:

    US‘s arms sale to Taiwan has waken up the Chinese government and the Chinese public, reminding them that USA has never given up their effort to contain China!

  3. James Says:

    Obama can’t really do otherwise. The arms deal was already inked under Bush. The US export sector can definitely use the business, and Obama’s already under pressure from the US to reassert American dominance in the world. Stopping the weapons sale was simply not possible. Bush knew this, which was why he inked it in his last year of office.

    It’s also why Obama has to meet the Dalai Llama, who is considered some sort of great humanist leader in the West.

    Obama’s letting the opposition define the battles he has to fight, when instead he should seek to redefine the battleground in his own terms.

  4. Joyce Says:

    China is being awful high and mighty about these sales when the PLA keeps filling its ranks, and pointing missiles at Taiwan.
    Think about it. If there is an aggressor, it’s the big Communist nation with the world’s largest standing army, not the small island that wants to keep its local government.
    Why is Beijing afraid of a few planes to add to Taiwan’s dinky military? If there were a war, China would blow Taiwan away. I hope that never happens.

    We’ve heard this argument before, from mainland Chinese, on Taiwan or Tibet. They recite the same comparisons: the U.S. Civil War, Northern Ireland, former Soviet states, even Quebec. The fear of “splittists” is almost obsessive.

    I spoke with a very well educated Chinese, and a friend, who insisted that Taiwan did not have its own president, passport or border control. Which it does. I’m not saying Taiwan should not go back to China one day. I’m just pointing out that many Chinese don’t have the basic facts about the situation.

    P.S. Do you think the writer sees the irony of lecturing a black man — the first black president — on the American Civil War that freed the slaves? I presume Obama knows more about that than some Chinese kid.
    Not that the U.S. is perfect — far from it. But there is a double standard here.

  5. Raj Says:

    Bill, what do you mean that arm sales “contain” China? “Contain” as in restrain from being able to launch a military assault on an island of 23 million people? Surely that’s a good thing, even if it’s arguable that it is true.

    Joyce is right. China can’t complain about sales to Taiwan when it’s forever expanding its military, including its missile stockpiles. If it wants the sales to stop it will have to severely reduce its military forces and scrap those offensive weapons, so that it is no longer a military threat to Taiwan.

    +++

    James, Bush did not “ink” the agreements that went forward a few months ago before he left office. He gave provisional approval some years ago but left it to Obama to make the decision as to whether to make the congressional notifications or not.

    However, it is true that some arms sales were notified under the Bush administration but contracts were only signed after Obama came to office – in that case it would have been very hard to stop the sales at that stage.

  6. Jiong Says:

    I think Joyce misses the point. Of course mainlanders KNOW that Taiwan issues their own passports, has its own courts, government, border control, etc. But there is still a difference in legal independence and autonomous rule. Legally Taiwan has never declared independence, it just does not recognise the Beijing government. The passport issued there is that of the Republic of China, which constitutionally includes the whole of China. Internationally no country recognises Taiwan as independent, although some choose to recognise the government in Taipei as the legal sovereign of the whole of China. Domestically even the constitution and the laws practised in Taiwan do not recognise Taiwan’s independence. What the politicians in Beijing and the vast majority of Chinese people cannot accept is for Taiwan to formally declare independence, and that is the core interest of China today: no formal independence, and gradual political integration across the strait. Any potential threat or impediment towards that interest will be condemned. Weapons sale to Taiwan in the eyes of the Chinese is dangerous because it could potentially impede the peaceful integration of mainland and Taiwan; it is also seen as a kind of political signal from Washington to Taipei. It is quite obvious to China and there are too many in America who would not like to see cross-strait integration; every step taken by Ma Ying-jeou towards greater interaction with the mainland brings frowned eyebrows from many “Taiwan-friendly” members of the US Congress. Taiwan is often (quietly) seen and used by America as a useful leverage to “contain China’s rise”, and that’s the key issue we are talking about here.

    I think it is not the Chinese people, but Joyce, who should get the one important fact right: China does not like such meddling of cross-strait affairs through any means from America, and arms sales is certainly one of them. Weapon sales to Taiwan is therefore directly contradictory to Obama’s speech in Shanghai because we have reasons to suspect the inner geopolitical motive behind it.

  7. Bill Says:

    @Joyce

    “I spoke with a very well educated Chinese, and a friend, who insisted that Taiwan did not have its own president, passport or border control.”

    If your friend doesn’t know these facts, he is definitely not well educated. I am not very well educated, but I know them very clearly.

  8. Raj Says:

    Jiong

    Weapons sale to Taiwan in the eyes of the Chinese is dangerous because it could potentially impede the peaceful integration of mainland and Taiwan

    How do weapon sales to Taiwan stop peaceful unification? If anything they should act as a deterrent to avoid unification through military action. So the only course for unification, if it happens, would be a peaceful one.

    I don’t want to be too cynical, but do some Chinese people hope that a weak Taiwanese military could be used as a lever to force unification on Taiwanese people against their will?

  9. Bill Says:

    Taiwan is part of China. China is righteous to defend its territory by all and any means. One major reason why USA sells weapons to Taiwan is that US seeks to prevent the reunification of the Mainland and Taiwan.

    Yes, Taiwan is too small compared with the Chinese mainland. Does this legitimate US’s arms sale to Taiwan? If yes, I will support all the enemies of USA, because US is the only superpower in the world! I don’t want USA to monopolize the world.

  10. colin Says:

    @Joyce

    How would you feel if China started arming Hawaii with arms to split from the US? Before you refute the appropriateness of this comparison, consider that Hawaii was once a sovereign nation that where the ruler was deposed and the islands forcefully annexed by the US and its corporate interests.

    See, what china should have done was just completely invade and overrun Taiwan when it had the chance. Subjugate them like how the US did to Hawaii militarily and culturally. Unfortunately, China never had the chance cause the US got involved. Although, one can dispute whether China would have been as merciless as the US in conquering Hawaii.

  11. my mother Says:

    Hey, we shouldn’t get so upset about arms sales to Taiwan. It is not like it is the first time. The States had sold arms to Taiwan many many times since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations act in 1979.

    http://www.taiwandocuments.org/tra01.htm

    We have to understand that the only people that should be upset are the Taiwanese. They are getting screwed royally. The States will never sell Taiwan state of the art weapon systems for fear of them falling into Chinese hand. After all they (people of Taiwan) are yellow bastards not too different from the yellow bastards across the strait. So, what the Taiwanese end up getting from the States are mostly over priced stuff that have real offensive capability at all, like black hawks, patriot missiles, and outdated diesel electric submarines.

    If anything, we should encourage the States to sell as much weapon systems to Taiwan as possible (the more advance the better) at the same time create an atmosphere that will facilitate stronger cross strait relations. Dude, it is a no-brainer, why buy things ourselves when someone else could buy them for us.

  12. Charles Liu Says:

    I have to honestly say it’s a tricky situation we’re in, and no US president is going to digress from established policy, in this case maintainance of Taiwan Relations Act and weapons sale as signal of American ambivilance towards China’s expansion/unification.

    It is in our self-interest to prolong China’s unresolved civil war, hold it as a pawn and use it someday. During early GW Bush regime the first thing Donald Rumsfeld did was declare “Pacific Theater Readiness” and secretly sent CIA to Taiwan to encourage Chen Shuibian to esclate cross-straight tension.

    For Chinese netters to even think Obama would value their opinion on matter of America’s preceived self-interest, is at a minimum, naive.

  13. Raj Says:

    Bill (9)

    Taiwan is part of China. China is righteous to defend its territory by all and any means.

    Stop me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t China given up its claims to what is now Russian territory? That’s a far, far larger swathe of land than Taiwan covers.

    Whilst I would not try to say that automatically invalidates any desire you have for unification between China and Taiwan, I wouldn’t speak in such terms given that China has acted pragmatically in the past and could do so again with Taiwan by seeking to resolve the matter amicably regardless of what the final solution would be.

    Yes, Taiwan is too small compared with the Chinese mainland. Does this legitimate US’s arms sale to Taiwan? If yes, I will support all the enemies of USA, because US is the only superpower in the world!

    Err, that’s an illogical position. Taiwan is not China’s enemy, it is a peaceful island that would like to be left alone by China.

    China also has a piece of legislation mandating Taiwan unify with it, and if it doesn’t (even if it can be accused of being too slow) Beijing reserves the right to invade Taiwan settle the matter by force. I know of no US law that insists neighbours like Mexico and Canada join the United States, on pain of invasion.

    +++

    colin (10)

    How would you feel if China started arming Hawaii with arms to split from the US? Before you refute the appropriateness of this comparison, consider that Hawaii was once a sovereign nation

    Yeah, but Hawaii has been part of the United States for well over a century, and there is no such desire there to break away from the US. If there was such that a majority of the population backed armed rebellion, as an American my first question would be “what has my government done to lead to such a situation”.

    We’re dealing with the facts on the ground. These are that Taiwan is a country separate from China and has been for longer than most people on this blog have been alive. The US is not selling arms to precipitate a split, it’s selling them to stop Taiwanese being forced to unify with China against their will.

  14. my mother Says:

    @ Bill,

    Don’t get drawn into an endless argument with Raj.

  15. colin Says:

    @14

    Yes, you are completely correct. I’ve said so myself.

  16. Charles Liu Says:

    Yes, state you case and don’t feed the troll. I mean good god Taiwan is a country? ROC is a country and the C stands for China.

    Raj’s “fact” is nearly alway self-serving fabrication. US doesn’t force the Native Americans to remain subjugated? I can cite the US Code that says Native Americans can’t arm themselves, else all treaties including peace treaty are nullified (which means open season.)

  17. Nimrod Says:

    Raj wrote:

    Joyce is right. China can’t complain about sales to Taiwan when it’s forever expanding its military, including its missile stockpiles. If it wants the sales to stop it will have to severely reduce its military forces and scrap those offensive weapons, so that it is no longer a military threat to Taiwan.

    +++++
    That’s a bit of dim logic, really. China expands its military in keeping with its long-standing defense needs and growing economic interests, and the economic growth now enables the ability to pay for it. What is the legitimate reason to complain about China’s defense spending, when it is not at the top even in East Asia, by any kind of measure, whether it be total spending, per capital spending, spending per GDP, spending per terroritorial area, spending per border length — whatever you can think of?

    The fact of the matter is, threat is a matter of perception. Merely by existing, China is a threat to anybody who wants to feel like they have conflicting interests with China, defense spending notwithstanding. So China might as well get the best protection that money can buy. If it means the most modern arms or asymmetric weapons, so be it. Having and deploying weapons and being always ready for war is prudent. It doesn’t mean the plan is to go out and have a war. Any strategist can tell you that, and if anybody knows this well, it is Americans. China will always be a threat to Taiwan. This has nothing to do with how many missiles are aimed at Taiwan or whatever other rhetorical garbage there is. It was a threat when it had only a land army and Chiang Kai-shek could bomb Shanghai. It was a threat when Taipei held China’s seat to the United Nations and could impose sanctions, and China will be a threat forever as long as Taiwan’s posture is toward a rival power.

    China should not only complain about arms sales, as is her right, but back it up by continuing to develop ways to neutralize and surpass the forces that pull regional players toward a different orbit. It is in the national interest of China to do so, and it is understood that she ought to do so, so doing anything less is suicide.

    So I’m sorry to disappoint you, but China will not voluntarily disarm to make everybody feel safe. China will instead arm herself very well so that China feels safe and can then appropriately deal with whatever it is she needs to deal with credibly, like arms sales to Taiwan.

  18. Josef Says:

    at Jiong #6: I am not so convinced about Chinese netizens having the whole picture. Very easily “Independence declaration means war” comes from the lips. I assume (correct me if I am wrong) this assumes that the war happens on a small island far far away… . But even if the TRA was not written in the final document of Obama’s visit, he mentioned it. How many netizens know about this contract?
    World War I, as you know, was started because of this contracts,- when the heir to the Austrian Emperor was assassinated and subsequently Austria declared war to Serbia, that had nothing to do with France and Germany, nevertheless they declared war due to the binding contracts.
    It might be a small chance, but not ignorable, that a war, started by China on Taiwan could trigger a WW III, and I wonder how present this scenario is for Chinese netizens. Also I wonder what picture Chinese netizens have about the Taiwanese themselves and their position to unification.

  19. Charles Liu Says:

    Josef, you can see reporting, and Chinese netter reactions, on TRA in relation to the weapons sale:

    http://www.baidu.com/s?bs=%C8%C8%B1%C8%E6%AB+%C5%D0%BE%F6%CA%E9&f=8&wd=%CC%A8%CD%E5%B9%D8%CF%B5%B7%A8+%CE%E4%C6%F7

    This should be a good starting point to survey their sentifments in this regard.

  20. my mother Says:

    Nimrod,

    China should not only complain about arms sales, as is her right, but back it up by continuing to develop ways to neutralize and surpass the forces that pull regional players toward a different orbit. It is in the national interest of China to do so, and it is understood that she ought to do so, so doing anything less is suicide.

    Extremely well articulated, but China is long ways off from being able to do what the States did in 1996.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/taiwan_strait.htm

    Until China can send a carrier group to the coast of [Fill in da Blank], we are going to have augment the ways to include non-military means — beyond mere complaints.

  21. Josef Says:

    Nimrod #17. If I read you correct you propose a race of arms. Where exactly would your arguments not apply for Taiwan? (just replacing “China” by “Taiwan”).
    Note also, that Taiwan buys this arms with the aim to held back an attack until help is coming. I think Chinese Netizen should realize that this conflict will not be a local, chinese internal affair.
    I wonder, when China received the seat to the United Nations, it is said that CKS received an offer either, which he reject: Was that offer to CKS in the deal with China – in other words: would China have accepted Taiwan at that time?
    I just challenge here this dogma that China always has and always will claim Taiwan as part of China.

  22. Nimrod Says:

    Josef,

    I am suggesting that China is simply being realistic about its own relatively weaker position in the area, and acts accordingly in terms of the measures taken for defense modernization. Taiwan and China in some ways were conducting an arms race, up to a point, when Taiwan realized that it has no way of winning such a race. The resources are too disparate. So the arms buying becomes a way to buy an implied ally for Taiwan, and for the US, a cheap way to show support without actually promising support. It is a bit like those leveraged financial instruments, in that for a little bit of money down, you get a much larger implied promise. But also like those instruments, the day of reckoning will sooner or later come if it keeps up, when that insurance check has to be cashed.

    Anyway, Chinese netizens are under no illusion that China will only deal with Taiwan. Give them some credit, they know Taiwan is but a pawn, along with Japan, and they know who the real 800-pound gorilla is. I think the only people who don’t know may be some Taiwan independence buffons who think Taiwan is a megapower on equal terms with Beijing, and in return for their idiocy, they get to be exploited by the DPP time and time again.

  23. Jimmy Says:

    I think Chinese really need to lower their expectations on US leaders…IMO every Chinese think American President suppose to be all powerful like Mao, then mix that with the mystique of the infallibility/justice of the democratic society, what you get is that Chinese usual imagine that only a super-Mao that is one step short of Buddha should be qualified to be sitting in the Oval Office. And of course when that illusion is broken the sense of betrayal fills people’s heart and Fenqins are born…

    Seriously, relax and take a chill pill…in democracy leader is nothing but a figure head. Technically Obama can promise all he wants but the real deal still comes from the US Congress. Unlike in China, one wise leader rarely means something in democracy. If China got a problem with the weapon sale, the real problem lies with the US Congress for approving it instead of Obama announce it.

    Something Chinese should really understand is that US foreign policy is just an extension of domestic policy, thus its foreign policy rarely should or will take the feelings of the Chinese into account. By law, it is not America’s job to serve Chinese national interest or consider Chinese feelings. Instead of writing letters complaining why Obama “betrayed” China, maybe it’s time to ask why the CCP’s latest round of diplomatic offensive backfired in the first place?

  24. jxie Says:

    Jimmy, methinks you seriously underestimate the power of “The One”, and the perceptional value of the Nobel oratory prize.

    It’s not the “Chinese people’s feelings” now, rather it’s the “Chinese national sentiment.”

  25. Raj Says:

    Nimrod

    That’s a bit of dim logic, really. China expands its military in keeping with its long-standing defense needs and growing economic interests, and the economic growth now enables the ability to pay for it. What is the legitimate reason to complain about China’s defense spending, when it is not at the top even in East Asia

    It’s not “dim logic”, it’s basic logic. China outspends any of its neighbours on defence. But more importantly regardless of all the other reasons why China is expanding its military, it is still a big sword hanging over Taiwan. Perception is important. If you don’t care what the Taiwanese think, fine continue to build China’s military and write off any hope of a peaceful settlement.

    Also the threat to Taiwan has changed. Years ago it was the threat of a very long conflict that wouldn’t be in China’s interests for all but the most exceptional reasons. Now it is the threat of having overwhelming force deployed against it, quite possibly “remotely” with the use of China’s short-range missile stockpile, in a way that China increasingly thinks it can win “by Christmas” even if the US intervenes. There is increasing temptation to resolve the problem with force, even if currently that isn’t on the table.

    China will be a threat forever as long as Taiwan’s posture is toward a rival power.

    Please explain that more clearly.

    China should not only complain about arms sales, as is her right, but back it up by continuing to develop ways to neutralize and surpass the forces that pull regional players toward a different orbit. It is in the national interest of China to do so, and it is understood that she ought to do so, so doing anything less is suicide.

    Now that really is “dim logic”. How is it suicide for China to not be the superior military force in Asia? On the one hand you make it out that anyone concerned about China is imagining it, yet you imply that China is surrounded by enemies. If China can be peaceful so can it’s neighbours – you can’t have it both ways.

    So I’m sorry to disappoint you, but China will not voluntarily disarm to make everybody feel safe.

    You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said anything about disarmament. China can still have a military, but the massive arms build-up is a threat to Taiwan. Moreover the 1.000 – 1,500 short-ranged missiles do not make China safer, their only use is to try to manipulate Taiwan. Get rid of those and it would be a big way to improve relations with the island.

  26. dedlam Says:

    Hi Bill,

    I just wanted to let you know that I reposted this post on my blog. I read it in my RSS reader this morning and as I am in China I could not tweet the link so I just email the whole thing to my Posterous account. If you mind I will remove it but if you don’t I think it is a real interesting read that links back to your blog.

    Cheers
    dedlam

  27. Jason Says:

    @Raj

    Why would you think that China would bomb Taiwan just because they want to strengthen their military? Your thinking is just like General Douglas MacArthur who thought of bombing China in the Korean War and doesn’t think the repercussions and affects of other countries around them.

    Your thinking that China is stupid enough to bomb Taiwan is so sensationalized and it is getting stupider by the minute.

    China may outspend their neighbors but Korea and Japan combined has hundreds of US military bases put in from WWII and that is as much of a threat to China than Taiwan getting threaten by missiles (even though Chen Shui Bian has gone overboard with his tactics and Taiwan is still intact.)

  28. Josef Says:

    Jiong wrote in 6: “Weapon sales to Taiwan is therefore directly contradictory to Obama’s speech in Shanghai “. But in this speech in Shanghai he mentioned the TRA and with that the US Policy to protect Taiwan against an aggression.
    Again, because of this quotation of the TRA. “not seek to contain China’s rise” and “my administration fully supports a one-China policy” I would read under the premise that when it comes to Taiwan, Taiwan’s people are supposed to decide by themselves.
    What I want to say: If you do not drop this TRA reference out of the context of the Shanghai speech, the arm sales is not such an “insult to the intelligence” but rather a sorting out of priorities.

    Jimmy already mentioned some good remarks about US foreign policy which might explain (but not justify for you, I guess) this priorities.

    Raj, you wrote: “I don’t want to be too cynical, but do some Chinese people hope that a weak Taiwanese military could be used as a lever to force unification on Taiwanese people against their will?”
    It could change the result of a public vote. When voting on “to be bombed out” or “living under communist dictatorship” many people would decide for the second.

    The important point, already mentioned by Nimrod was, that Taiwan not only buys weapons, but buys an ally (at least that is the general opinion). With that Taiwan hopes, that the vote would be again “unification or not” (and not “bombed out or not”).

  29. Bill Says:

    Dear dedlam,

    Please feel free to republish and disseminate this letter.

    Thank you.

  30. Raj Says:

    Jason

    Why would you think that China would bomb Taiwan just because they want to strengthen their military?

    I suggest you re-read my comments closely – or hire a translator to convert them into whatever your first language is – because I never made such a statement.

    Your thinking that China is stupid enough to bomb Taiwan is so sensationalized and it is getting stupider by the minute.

    Obviously I’m stupid for considering that the Anti-Secession “Law”‘s had any suggestion of the use of military action, and believing that the short-ranged missiles that China has a huge arsenal have any military use. They’re obviously giant fireworkers designed to light up the sky above Taiwan if unification occurs, or are filled with toys and chocolate for Taiwanese children to celebrate unification.

    China may outspend their neighbors but Korea and Japan combined has hundreds of US military bases put in from WWII and that is as much of a threat to China than Taiwan getting threaten by missiles

    First, what are you trying to say – that disused bases from WWII will be reactivated at a moment’s notice and used for an invasion of China?! I’ve come across some paranoid thoughts in my time, but your’s tops them all!

    Second, you can leave Taiwan out of your irrational fears. China gets on fairly well with South Korea and Japan, and I can’t remember the last time the Chinese government complained about the number of bases in either country. But if there was a problem it would be for China to resolve with those countries – it doesn’t justify an overwhelming build-up of force against Taiwan.

  31. Jimmy Says:

    @24

    Power or no power, “The One” is still elected official. When “The One” dictating China policy in the morning, who is he going to worry about first? The ‘American voter sentiments” or the “Chinese national sentiment”?

    When it comes international relations, it’s a dog eat dog game. When someone screwed China over, there are only two choices, either suck it or screw back. The game really offers no pity for those who complains and begs in the background. Say what you want about how wrong American sell weapons to Taiwan, but still it is China that got screwed over in the dog eat dog game. Now I ask, which path should China choose? Suck it, screw back, or complaining like Ah Q over moral obligations?

    May I remind people the word of Brennus when he sacked Rome: “Woe to the vanquished.”

  32. jxie Says:

    @Jimmy #31

    Actually I agree with most of your points, at least the gist of them. The disagreement is your lines:

    [I]n democracy leader is nothing but a figure head. Technically Obama can promise all he wants but the real deal still comes from the US Congress.

    “The One” is probably the most powerful US president in a long while. Democrats own both houses by a decent margin, and very few democrats would go against “The One”. Moreover, the power of the US administrative branch had been gradually elevated during the Dubya’s terms. “The One” is far more than just a figurehead.

  33. k Says:

    Did anybody ever consider what the Taiwanese want? I feel both sides (but, to be honest, China especially) doesn’t care at all for the will of the people living in the territories it controls or wants to control–they exist solely for the purpose of scoring political points at home and within the Party.

    It’s a tragedy, and probably the greatest barrier to communication between China and the West. Those in the West need to understand the facts of the situation: Taiwan’s legal status (or lack thereof), the history behind China’s claim on Taiwan. Those in China need to understand the motivations of the West: deep-seated (and, in my mind, rightful) distrust of the opacity of China’s political system, perceived popular opinion about China within Taiwan, Taiwan’s de facto independence and patriotism to a Taiwanese nation, not China.

    In talking to people from Hong Kong, many were extremely apprehensive about its 1997 handover to China not because they were afraid of China per se, but because they didn’t believe that China deserved the return of the territory. I realize that that argument will not be popular north of Shenzhen–“how can China not deserve territory that was forcibly taken from it?”–but please consider the ninety-nine years intervening between the cession of the majority of the New Territories and the handover, a period during which Hong Kong developed its own national identity, not a Chinese one nor a British one. I think the opinion is similar in Taiwan, although there people CERTAINLY fear the mainland.

    Less dogma and more genuine attempts at cross-cultural understanding would be a good thing for this debate–unfortunately, national politics on all sides will necessarily get in the way of this. I realize that my viewpoint is somewhat skewed to favor the American point of view on this issue, but please note that I do believe that valid points can be made on both sides.

  34. Jason Says:

    @If it wants the sales to stop it will have to severely reduce its military forces and scrap those offensive weapons, so that it is no longer a military threat to Taiwan.

    Raj, this sentence translates “Oh no! The mighty China is willing to bomb Taiwan. We are going to die.” Taiwan doesn’t suck in the scare tactics from China than you do. Chen Shui Bian has pushing buttons everywhere to urge China to bomb Taiwan and yet China’s words of aggressiveness was never in action.

  35. Heavensent Says:

    Raj,

    I must applaud you for your outstanding understanding of world affairs…..ur ability to selll mass amount of sh@# with little effort at extremely high prices amazes me. As someone who isn’t as educated as urself, would you be so kind as to enlighten me with the “IFs” and “reasons” why the mainland would bomb or invade Taiwan tomoorow; why not today? why not yesterday?

    I had asked these same questions to a Chinese friend of mine and this was his uneducated reply:
    “If someone took your bottle of beer and refuse to give it back to you, what will you do? If you try to take it back by force he will simply smash the bottle and no one will benifit. If you want it back in “one peice” (an ethnic united Taiwan happy and willing to return to the motherland) you will need a chair and alot of food and water.”

    Raj, today you may profit from the sh#! you sell but tomoorow you will be force to buy food grown from ur sh@# for 100s of times more than ur profit. With your superb education it should be obvious that you are screwing no one but urself

  36. Nimrod Says:

    k wrote:

    Did anybody ever consider what the Taiwanese want?

    It’s a tragedy, and probably the greatest barrier to communication between China and the West. Those in the West need to understand … the history behind China’s claim on Taiwan. Those in China need to understand … distrust of the opacity of China’s political system, perceived popular opinion about China within Taiwan, Taiwan’s de facto independence and patriotism to a Taiwanese nation, not China.

    In talking to people from Hong Kong, many were extremely apprehensive about its 1997 handover to China not because they were afraid of China per se, but because they didn’t believe that China deserved the return of the territory. –but please consider … a period during which Hong Kong developed its own national identity…

    +++++
    Indeed that is where the Chinese view and the Western view (as espoused in popular rhetoric anyway) part ways. In fact, the Chinese do care what Taiwanese think, but Chinese also care about unification, in a very pragmatic sense of shared ancestry and not just based on some faceless historical claims. Why do the US and UK have a “special relationship”? I think it’s similar. That’s why there is One Country Two Systems, however imperfect it may be. Ideology and fear aside, it is a workable system. An honest observer would even say that it works just fine in Hong Kong, despite the knee-jerk and increasingly desperate attempts to “prove” how it does not work by those who committed to the position of saying it won’t work even before the handover, on ideological grounds.

    In fact, mainland Chinese probably cared too much about Taiwanese (and Hong Kongers), and eventually discovered it was not mutual. Part of their disinterest toward mainlanders is ideological fear, which doesn’t score points with me.. Part of that is economic. Hong Kongers (and Taiwanese, too) think China didn’t “deserve” return of Hong Kong not because of independent development, but because of a false sense of superiority over “poor, uncouth mainlanders”. Little did they know they are more alike mainland Chinese than they admit to. In time, they came begging at the gates of Beijing for handouts. At least China knew it needed more time to develop and were content to let the likes of Hong Kong and Taiwan serve as examples of autonomous development. But it comes with a big caveat: the condition is they do not become anti-China bases to retard the mainland’s sovereignty and progress, that they do not continue to be foot-soldiers in the containment of China.

    I see nothing wrong with that. Taiwanese can likewise do what they want with themselves. That has been considered already. But no Chinese leader will let Taiwan be fully independent, especially seeing what happened to former Soviet and Eastern European countries.

  37. Steve Says:

    @ Heavensent #35: I collapsed your remark because it is in violation of blog rules. If you want to debate Raj, be my guest but debate what he writes, not who he is or what his motives are. He could do the same to you and then it’s nothing but a spitting contest. Your remark was pretty much one big ad hominum attack. Why don’t you increase the level of discourse rather than lower it? I’m sure you can find plenty of points to refute in Raj’s statement using facts rather than insults.

  38. Josef Says:

    Nimrod and k: You both don’t seem to judge the fact that Taiwan has a democracy and freedom as an important point. (Hongkong did not have elections before, so cannot serve as an example)

    It seems also slightly strange to me this references to Abraham Lincoln in the letter above: Wasn’t Abraham Lincoln the one who regarded freedom of the people (translated to today wpould be, for example: press, speech religion… freedom, or simply: to read the FM blog) as a fundamental right for everyone? How should Obama let people, who enjoy this freedom be unified with people who doesn’t? (on top of the public opinion in the U.S.).

    There might be a difference in priority setting between Westerners and Chinese, but as taiwanese Chinese got used to this rights, for them, this difference is not so big anymore. And I don’t think a “democratic Taiwan” within a “One China” is a workable solution, while on the other hand the Hongkong approach would not fulfill the requirements.
    It might be, seeing today’s PRC, that this freedoms are not so important, but there is no guarantee that today’s PRC, as an undemocratic system, is not changing back to a “Mao”-istic system, while a local return to a CKS Dictatorship, I think, can be excluded (and at least would be in the hand of the Taiwanese).

  39. scl Says:

    #31,

    You really think Obama cares about voter sentiments? I think he only responses to corporation interests. So does the congress. I do not think most Chinese have any illusions about the U.S. president and congress. BTW, the U.S. is being screwed on issues of North Korea and Iran. They picked the wrong time to announce the weapons sale – arrogant, but not clever.

  40. Jason Says:

    @Wasn’t Abraham Lincoln the one who regarded freedom of the people (translated to today wpould be, for example: press, speech religion… freedom, or simply: to read the FM blog) as a fundamental right for everyone?

    No he wasn’t. He may believe Blacks are human beings but he did not believe blacks should be granted the rights of American citizens, and did not wish that they be a part of American society. He believed that all blacks should be removed from the United States and resettled in some other country.

  41. Nimrod Says:

    Lincoln said: My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

    Lincoln was the paramount pragmatist.

  42. Nimrod Says:

    Josef wrote:

    There might be a difference in priority setting between Westerners and Chinese, but as taiwanese Chinese got used to this rights, for them, this difference is not so big anymore. And I don’t think a “democratic Taiwan” within a “One China” is a workable solution, while on the other hand the Hongkong approach would not fulfill the requirements.
    It might be, seeing today’s PRC, that this freedoms are not so important, but there is no guarantee that today’s PRC, as an undemocratic system, is not changing back to a “Mao”-istic system, while a local return to a CKS Dictatorship, I think, can be excluded (and at least would be in the hand of the Taiwanese).

    +++++
    Actually I think the priority of the Taiwanese are quite close to that of the mainland Chinese, which is to live a good and comfortable life. People tend to favor the system they live in if they are doing well materially. That’s just self-selection bias.

    By the way, would you like to tell, for the sake of argument, why a “democratic Taiwan” within “One China” is not workable? Besides that it may offend some people’s ideological sensibilities? I can think of several farfetched doomsday scenarios that you can construct out of that, but they are just that: farfetched. China is not any more likely to become anachronistic than Taiwan. If anything, a highly “democratic” and populist political process is more likely to produce extreme results, to the extent that they mirror society’s conflicting extremes.

  43. Josef Says:

    Thanks for this information about Abraham Lincoln – I learned something (I am not American).
    I thought the main reason, why Hongkong is rejected to conduct elections is the “bad example” which would trigger more unrest in the rest of the country. Therefore I extrapolated that PRC would never allow even a bigger discrimination between its citizens, i.e. a democratic Taiwan.

  44. Bill Says:

    It is great to learn how differently people interpret US’s arms sale to Taiwan.

  45. neutrino Says:

    As a mainland chinese who lives in america, I’d like to add a few notes.
    The continued deployment of missiles pointing to taiwan is useless. The last time I checked, there are now 700+ missiles deployed in the provinces near taiwan, pointed towards taiwan, this information has never been denied by the chinese government, as far as I know, and it could only be obtained by taiwanese/american spies. Satellite pictures can not tell you where the missiles are pointed to. If someone can, please englighten me, what’s the point of pointing them to taiwan? If there is really going to be an invasion, can’t the missiles be redirected in a matter of minutes, if not seconds? The only actual consequence, seems to me, is to insult the people in taiwan, and provide ample argument for the weapons sale.
    If the chinese goverment ever wants to gain a little more sympathy across the taiwan strait, or even people like me, it should stop this useless practice.
    Now as for the weapon’s sale, I think it is totally within the right of the American goverment, just as it is Chinese goverment’s right to protest, or even retaliate. If Chinese goverment can’t retaliate in a meaningful manner, then it’s just her failure. You can’t wish to gain by crying, can you? Chinese government might as well thank publicly obama for authorzing the sales of these weapons, which could eventually become Chinese properties anyway, if the Chinese goverment are really confident that the unification will happen eventually.
    I don’t think taiwanese have the god-given right of self-determination, but neither does the mainland have the god-given right to claim taiwan. Yes, historically, taiwan was (and legally is) part of china, and it continues to of vital strategic interest to china. However, this is not necessarily the American interest, and it is no surprise that the u.s will continue to contain this interest as long as the chinese goverment has no means of effective retaliation. If the chinese can not change the rules of the game, why not just join the game. For example, how about starting to sell (defensive) or even donate weapons to Cuba, for example, and tie the sale to the continuation of american weapon sale to taiwan.

  46. r v Says:

    neutrino,

    “pointed at Taiwan” is rather a figurative phrase, since as you said, they could be retargetted within minutes.

    The only basis for saying that the missiles are “pointed at Taiwan” is the fact that those missiles are deployed within firing range of Taiwan. No one really knows if those missiles are in fact targetted at Taiwan.

    I would venture to guess they are in fact not literally pointed at Taiwan, since most of the missiles sit on missile truck launch platforms in the non-launch position for easy mobility.

    Why? What’s the point of having mobile missile trucks, if they just going to get deployed and sit there like sitting ducks?

    *and if that is the case, then merely having these missile trucks in Southern China would be “pointing missiles at Taiwan.”

    But frankly, I don’t think China would strategically remove those missiles from Southern China for Taiwan. There are other reasons for those missiles, such as coastal defense.

    I mean frankly, Taiwan has been continually arming itself ever since the Civil War. (just not doing a very good job of it). And for the longest time, it was talking about “taking back mainland.”

    Should mainland China leave its southern coastline completely defenseless to make Taiwan feel better?

  47. Raj Says:

    @ r v (46)

    No one really knows if those missiles are in fact targetted at Taiwan.

    It’s not that the missiles are pre-targetted to hit specific locations in Taiwan within the next 60 seconds, it’s that they’re pilling up in a position where they will realistically only be used against the island.

    Moreover the range of many of them is such that they could only usefully be used to attack Taiwan wherever they were based – unless there is a need to be able to fire off over 1,000 missiles against Mongolia, Vietnam, etc.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, the short-ranged missiles that get quoted in the media are designed for use against Taiwan. Unless of course someone would like to explain why all these short-ranged missiles are necessary for use against other neighbours, explaining what likely military targets could be reached from China’s borders for each missile type, etc.

  48. neutrino Says:

    @ Raj (47)
    It’s not that the missiles are pre-targetted to hit specific locations in Taiwan within the next 60 seconds, it’s that they’re pilling up in a position where they will realistically only be used against the island.

    ___________

    Are you suggesting that the missile should not be deployed within the range of hitting Taiwan? That’s really pretentious and hypocritical, because by the same token, France and Britain should not have short range missles at all — who are those missles targeted at, one might ask — and nobody should own ICBMs as well, because, god forbid, that constitutes a threat to anyone, i.e. everyone on the earh, within the hitting range.

    What I suggested in my previous comment is simply that, by targetting those missles at taiwan, and knowing that information would not be safeguarded, is useless and does not serve the chinese national interest. China should simply announce the de-targeting of those missles. Though everyone knows it can reconfigurated easily in time of need, sometimes it is not the capablity, it’s really the goodwill gesture.

    To suggest that those deployment should be abandoned completely, if I read it correctly, is suggesting nothing but self-disarmament. With the same logic, china might as well abandon all weapons to please Critics like you. Well, good luck with that.

  49. r v Says:

    “It’s not that the missiles are pre-targetted to hit specific locations in Taiwan within the next 60 seconds, it’s that they’re pilling up in a position where they will realistically only be used against the island.”

    I think I already wrote something similar to that.

    “Moreover the range of many of them is such that they could only usefully be used to attack Taiwan wherever they were based – unless there is a need to be able to fire off over 1,000 missiles against Mongolia, Vietnam, etc.”

    are you assuming that those are the only missiles that China has? and China has no missiles in North and West border areas?

    “Let’s be honest with ourselves, the short-ranged missiles that get quoted in the media are designed for use against Taiwan. Unless of course someone would like to explain why all these short-ranged missiles are necessary for use against other neighbours, explaining what likely military targets could be reached from China’s borders for each missile type, etc.”

    Likely military targets: airbases, military depots, communication stations, forward outposts.

    And let’s be clear, Taiwan has plenty of military targets.

    Your logic should be reversed, what would all these “neighbors” need with all these military installations?

    Which is it? Chicken or the egg?

  50. Nimrod Says:

    Yes, they are designed for use against Taiwan, so? I can write about how they were set up in response to continued and escalating US arms sales to Taiwan, despite the Third Communique’s promise to reduce and eventually discontinue them. I can even write about how, in the 1980s China was even cutting its military and that made no difference. But that’s all beside the point.

    Because, why does it matter if these missiles are aimed at Taiwan or not? It’s a total red herring. Chiina has them, and that’s the end of the story. They are going to be used, in certain eventualities, to inflict damage; or maybe they’ll sit and expire if those eventualities don’t materialize. That’s the purpose of all arms. China has nuclear weapons too and those aren’t going to be used on itself either, so they are aimed at the world. Raj can ululate and cry “Woe is me,” but the rest of us know that missiles don’t fire themselves. People fire them. It’s obviously more productive to talk about the political decision to use them, and under what conditions, rather than where they are aimed. Taiwan itself holds a large portion of this decision by what it does.

  51. Raj Says:

    @ neutrino (48)

    Are you suggesting that the missile should not be deployed within the range of hitting Taiwan? That’s really pretentious and hypocritical, because by the same token, France and Britain should not have short range missles at all — who are those missles targeted at, one might ask — and nobody should own ICBMs as well, because, god forbid, that constitutes a threat to anyone, i.e. everyone on the earh, within the hitting range.

    First, the UK (and I guess France) does not have any land-based short-ranged missiles, let alone numbers that could inflict major damage on neighbouring countries.

    Second, ICBMs are relatively few in number and used for nuclear warfare. China won’t use nuclear weapons on Taiwan, so there’s no fear about it having long-ranged nuclear weapons. The issue is that it has a large number of conventional missiles that it could use far more easily.

    Third, it doesn’t matter where China bases the missiles that are mobile, now that it’s clear what they’re for. However, had they originally been based elsewhere and there was a logical potential target, the intention behind them could have been different.

    China should simply announce the de-targeting of those missles. Though everyone knows it can reconfigurated easily in time of need, sometimes it is not the capablity, it’s really the goodwill gesture.

    Whilst I appreciate the sentiment behind your views, I think that it wouldn’t really count for much – if anything. A real goodwill gesture would be to disband the missile regiments and put them into storage in outlying provinces that were outside of the range of targets in Taiwan. That would allow talks in the future about the missiles being formally decommissioned as part of political talks.

    To suggest that those deployment should be abandoned completely, if I read it correctly, is suggesting nothing but self-disarmament

    I didn’t say that, but your comment did make me think of what I said above. In any case, what would be wrong with that? China still has a huge airforce, navy and army, along with strategic forces for the delivery of nuclear weapons. The short-ranged missile stockpile has no real use other than intimidating/attacking Taiwan. Taiwan’s hardly going to launch an invasion of China if the missiles are moved.

    @ r v (49)

    are you assuming that those are the only missiles that China has? and China has no missiles in North and West border areas?

    They’re the bulk of China’s short-ranged ballistic missile inventory. Of course if I’m wrong and China has several hundred short-ranged missiles currently in range of Ulan Bator please enlighten me.

    Likely military targets: airbases, military depots, communication stations, forward outposts.

    In which specific locations other than in Taiwan? These are short-ranged missiles – they can’t hit anywhere in Asia.

    @ Nimrod (50)

    Yes, they are designed for use against Taiwan, so?

    So it’s nice when I see Chinese people admit that. Some like to deny it, or avoid admitting it.

    Because, why does it matter if these missiles are aimed at Taiwan or not?

    That’s the point I’ve been making. The fact China has them (and as you say they are for use against Taiwan) makes relations with Taiwan more difficult than they should be.

    That’s the purpose of all arms. China has nuclear weapons too and those aren’t going to be used on itself either, so they are aimed at the world.

    You’re being completely disingenuous. China doesn’t point its nukes at the world, it has them (I guess) for an emergency to defend itself. More generally few countries buy weapons that have a sole purpose of attacking just one country.

    On the other hand the short-ranged missiles China has for Taiwan have no defensive use whatsoever and are purely for a first-strike, either to try to force Taiwan to submit immediately or to pave the way for a ground invasion/facilitate some other military operation.

    Raj can ululate and cry “Woe is me,” but the rest of us know that missiles don’t fire themselves. People fire them. It’s obviously more productive to talk about the political decision to use them, and under what conditions, rather than where they are aimed. Taiwan itself holds a large portion of this decision by what it does.

    You know what, if you want to have that attitude it doesn’t bother me one bit. I am not upset by China having all those missiles. Do I live in Taiwan? No. Do I have family living in Taiwan? No (ok, I do have friends there). But the attitude China and indeed you have about this situation does not make things better. I can make a more objective view of the situation because I’m neither Chinese nor Taiwanese, and I have no personal interests there other than friendships in both China and Taiwan. But, hey, stick your fingers in your ears and shout “lalalalala, can’t-hear-you-can’t-hear-you” as much as you please.

    People do fire weapons, but merely having weapons is a threat. I doubt anyone here would like to live next to a neighbour who had a massive stockpile of guns, who threatened violence because he wanted to annex your house and you wouldn’t let him, who stopped you from buying enough weapons to defend yourself and was immune from prosecution/arrest. The fact that he had them would be enough to make you and your family unhappy – especially if you couldn’t move, as is the situation with Taiwan.

    However, your comments about what Taiwan does is interesting. What happens if Taiwan doesn’t formally declare independence, but rejects unification in public and for the next 30 years openly maintains that position? Elections change nothing. Or maybe Taiwan keeps rejecting Beijing’s terms for political discussion and/or unification for a similar period of time?

    What then, will Beijing keep asking the same question until the end of time in the hope Taiwan changes its mind?

  52. Nimrod Says:

    Raj wrote:

    However, your comments about what Taiwan does is interesting. What happens if Taiwan doesn’t formally declare independence, but rejects unification in public and for the next 30 years openly maintains that position? Elections change nothing. Or maybe Taiwan keeps rejecting Beijing’s terms for political discussion and/or unification for a similar period of time?

    What then, will Beijing keep asking the same question until the end of time in the hope Taiwan changes its mind?

    +++++
    And you think China will fire missiles at Taiwan in that case? Ridiculous. In 30 years, the dynamics will be completely different. Most of Taiwan will probably end up having dual passports of their own accord and it wouldn’t even matter whether they reject unification or not. They will be de facto unified. Your thinking is too rigid.

    Beijing’s effort at unification since it took the UN seat has always been to draw Taiwan in by the least costly option and by means of the attractiveness of its own revival. If China cannot live up to its promise, Taiwan will be the least of its worries.

    The missiles are to give pause to those who fret they must terminate that process now by forcing a particular outcome, the likes of Japanophile Lee Teng-Hui and US neocons. Real Taiwanese are much more pragmatic and take a wait-and-see attitude, which is exactly right.

  53. foobar Says:

    #18 World War I, as you know, was started because of this contracts,- when the heir to the Austrian Emperor was assassinated and subsequently Austria declared war to Serbia, that had nothing to do with France and Germany, nevertheless they declared war due to the binding contracts

    Taiwan Relations Act is a piece of domestic law of the US. It is not a contract or treaty between US and Taiwan. It was enacted to serve the interests of the US and not of Taiwan, it would be interpreted according to US interests, and it could be changed with shifts of US interests.

    Even if it is written into the TRA that US would send military aid and personnel to Taiwan’s defense if/when war breaks out between Taiwan and mainland China, the US could still choose not to do so. Never mind that the act contains no such clause. There’s nothing binding about it that Taiwan can invoke. France had the option to not go to war, thereby breaking the treaty and the alliance with Serbia. The US would not be breaking any treaty if it chose to stand pat, it wouldn’t even be breaking any of its domestic laws. You would be deluding yourself to think that the Taiwan/US dynamic is anything similar to that of Serbia/France or Austria/Germany, or that Taiwan is a player in this game. It is a pawn.

  54. R Says:

    @ Nimrod (52)

    And you think China will fire missiles at Taiwan in that case? Ridiculous.

    More inventions on your part. I asked a simple question, and to be honest there are many people who wonder whether China will allow the matter to drag on indefinitely.

    In 30 years, the dynamics will be completely different. Most of Taiwan will probably end up having dual passports of their own accord and it wouldn’t even matter whether they reject unification or not.

    China doesn’t allow dual nationality, but even if it did it would be completely meaningless. China wants unification even if it was in name only, and who holds what passports won’t cut the mustard. Besides, 30 years won’t change the views of Taiwanese. They’d like to get on with China, but they don’t like being pushed around either.

    The missiles are to give pause to those who fret they must terminate that process now by forcing a particular outcome, the likes of Japanophile Lee Teng-Hui and US neocons.

    Oh please, what piffle! The missile stockpile only became a significant threat to Taiwan after Lee Teng-Hui had became President. If he was going to do anything he would have done it long before. Same for the Americans.

    Of course if what you said was true China would have announced an immediate freeze in the manufacture and deployment of the missiles after Ma won the election. It didn’t – why was that?

  55. Jason Says:

    @Raj: A real goodwill gesture would be to disband the missile regiments and put them into storage in outlying provinces that were outside of the range of targets in Taiwan. That would allow talks in the future about the missiles being formally decommissioned as part of political talks.

    That is very easy for you to say but Six Assurances policy say that US will not “change” meaning eliminate Taiwan Relations Act. Before the 1978 TRA, China never threaten missile at Taiwan.

    The US will continue to supply weapons to Taiwan regardless of China disbanding their missiles out of the way. Until US and China agrees on the elimination TRA and disband of missiles as a threat to Taiwan in a simultaneous manner, the two will continue this Cold War relations.

  56. r v Says:

    Raj,

    “In which specific locations other than in Taiwan? These are short-ranged missiles – they can’t hit anywhere in Asia.”

    are you assuming again that there are no other short ranged missiles in other Chinese border areas?

    On what basis do you make such an assumption?

  57. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    It is in US interest to see China and Taiwan at loggerheads with each other. Same thing with Israel/Palestine and India/Pakistan. That’s the tactic. Create more hostile conditions between two already hostile nations, and then sell weapons to both.

    In the 70s, they again played a double game. They recognized the PRC and made friendly gestures towards it, mainly to use it as a card against the USSR, but at the same time passed the Taiwan Relations Act to save their commissions.

    For example, a few years ago the US sold F-16s to Pakistan. India protested. The result – the US sold F-16s (and F-18s) to India too!
    Even Russia admitted that India’s concerns about US arms sales to Pakistan were ‘genuine’.

    In the 1971 India-Pakistan War, it was again the US who,
    a) ignored the genocide in East Pakistan
    b) sent the nuclear equipped USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a clear warning to India not to annex East Pakistan.

    Hence, we certainly cannot expect the US to do anything more than support maintaining the status quo between the PRC and ROC for as long as possible.

  58. Bill Says:

    @57

    “It is in US interest to see China and Taiwan at loggerheads with each other”.

    Yes, this is how the vast majority of the Chinese nationals see US’s arms sale to Taiwan.

  59. neutrino Says:

    Exactly. However, it is important to point out that there is nothing wrong with the U.S to operate in this manner to maximize her own national interest. After all, what’s right and beneficial for one country frequently is not for the other. But that’s how the game of geopolitics has been played forever. China can certainly blame the U.S all she wants. But in the end, the resolution of the taiwan issue is in her hands. So far, the grade of chinese goverment handling the taiwan issue can only be said to be no better than satisfactory. In terms of winning the hearts of minds of the taiwanese people, the grade probably is even worse. China can always blame the U.S., or DPP, or even Japan, but all of these players are not in the dark, and they all have clearly defined tactics and strategies, and have not really changed their courses in the past several decades. It is the Chinese government that seems to be quite lack of political imagination and has not been quite up to the task to counter these players.

  60. Josef Says:

    Maitreya Bhakal, I think you missed one important point: This weapons sold to Taiwan, to my understanding, are not supposed for an attack to mainland China. This is not a symmetric situation and not like egg/chicken: the race is determined by China.

    foobar’s statements are correct: Taiwan is not a player in this game. And the TRA is not binding. Taiwan’s chequebook diplomacy simply does not have such a big cheque.

    To answer the letter, however, and the many angry chinese netizens, one could simply ask that China abandons its aggresive policy against Taiwan. With that I mean the multiple confirmed willingness to attack the island. It is a shame that this open declaration of violence is worldwide accepted.

    Mr. Tian Zhongguo wrote about a lame explanation: ok, no arm sale, but Taiwan declares independence – would he also say: that means war? But then, the explanation is not lame, but fully justified!

  61. r v Says:

    neutrino,

    The kind of “counter” you are imagining will undoubtedly lead to another Cold War, which no one wants.

    But of course, why “counter” it at all?

    Let US and Taiwan arm themselves to the teeth and spend themselves into the poor house, like USSR in the Cold War.

    China just needs to huff and puff every now and then, Taiwan will keep spending money to buy weapons in the vain hopes to keep China at bay somehow, only to see that most of their big businesses are running to China to set up shop.

    The way I see it, Taiwan is a bleeding ulcer for US. If this keeps up, US will be dragged down by Taiwan.

    If someone in Congress actually tabulated the total historical cost of aiding Taiwan, the American people would think twice about helping Taiwan any further.

    But hey, if that’s the way US and Taiwan want to play it, I don’t think China has any problem with it.

    in 20 years, China will probably own most of Taiwanese economy.

  62. Bill Says:

    I have discussed with two Chinese PhD students in Europe about US’s arms sale to Taiwan. Their responses are: First, this incident has taught China a good lesson that US and China will remain rivals for a very long time. Second, China should seek to arm US’s enemies in the world. In other words, US’s latest decisions concerning China are likely to trigger a new cold war between the two countries.

  63. tanjin Says:

    @62 … People certainly wish that was not the case … there are many hotheads in US actually openly calling a “hot” war with China right now, many of these people are young and smart, yet naive like the co-founder of Google. So there are this kind of people at both sides.

    Luckly, many decision makers are still experienced hand at both sides, except US got a team of a young President and a media grabbing former Senator … what a team to run a large boat. Good luck to them …

  64. r v Says:

    If it would be a new cold war, it would not be like the last one.

    Some in US would prefer that either a cold war or hot war starts with China, but they do not realize that US-China are already so entangled that neither is very likely.

    Most likely, political animosity and distrust between US and China will lead to a “Cold Erosion War,” where both sides attempt to erode the other’s influence by exerting its own influence further, such as using trade power or cultural influences.

    In that sense, US “democratization” is a form of warfare in that “Erosion War.” And China counters with its growing economic power and non-political economic relations with 3rd world nations.

    The difference of the new Cold War is that neither US and China want to stop their mutual exchanges of trade or technologies.

    They are co-dependent upon each other, but both attempting to remove that co-dependency by “remaking” the other in their own images.

    US wants a “democratic China”, but one that will still provide cheap labor for US.

    China wants a “mind-its-own-business US”, but one that will still provide new technologies and market for Chinese goods.

    Unfortunately, both are very stubborn. US with its exceptionalism, and China with its 5000 year history of survival.

    *
    For my money, I do not believe that the influence of US “democracy” will win out, because that concept is a hollow political goal with no real substance.

    Sure, everyone wants freedom, but no one wants to discuss the practical limitations and regulations of freedom.

    In US, we have absolute 2nd amendment defenders and absolute 1st amendment defenders. They don’t want any kind of regulations to their “rights.” But even the average Americans find them too extreme.

    People inherently understand that regulations on rights are necessary of an orderly society. (Which is exactly what China wants).

    All Government regulations will have abuses and corruptions. That doesn’t mean that the fundamental reasons for the regulations are unsound.

    Chinese people, at least the majority, understand that. Indeed, most people in the world understand that.

    The real freedom of choice, is that every nation has the right to make its mistakes to find its own path of governance, to discover the balance of its regulations and individual rights.

    What US stands for, fundamentally, is that its “friends” have that right, but its “enemies” do not.

    That is nothing more than pure geopolitics of convenience, and it betrays its own naive idealism to be something far more sinister, which is that US has the ultimate say in what the “right balance” is for all nations.

    practically, such sinister methods will only invite sinister responses. Even US’s “friends” will only depend on US to the extent of getting what they wanted from US, and then run to China at the first opportunity to betray US.

  65. neutrino Says:

    @ r v 61

    What I meant by “satisfactory performance” by the Chinese goverment is that taiwan has not formally declared independence. What I meant by “Counter these players” is that, knowing their interest is to maintain the status quo and china’s being peaceful unification, China has not developed the comprehensive strategy to win the hearts and mind of the taiwanese people, other than hoping the economic intergration would naturally lead to unfication, which is by no means a foregone conclusion. They can start by changing their rhetoric towards taiwan. FYI, I’m from mainland, and have lots of taiwanese friends. The problem with the mainland rhetoric is that evn if they meant the nicest things, it usually comes out very awkardly. But I guess if you ever heard those speeches by chinese officials (havent’ you fallen asleep listening to those boring, boring ones, with really no imagination or substance), it would not be a surprise. My point is that, I could live with those speeches of no real significance. However, as important as taiwan is for china, there have not been enough sophisticated PR personnel who were found.

  66. r v Says:

    China does need more PR.

    But that is coming.

  67. Bill Says:

    @ r v:

    Yes, China needs effective PR, but the point is the authorities don’t seem to accept this. In my view, one important reason is that the governemntal sectors don’t admit mistakes or room for improvement. They are always boasting that everything is well done!

  68. tanjin Says:

    #64 I agree. That often perceived double-standard mindset on US foreign policy cuts so deep into US’s position as soon as the president or any politician finish his/her own speech, leaving only money, sanction and force as three viable options for US to pursue its agenda … US’s mid-east policy is surely such a case for class room study.

    Yet, US is so helpless on its foreign policy making, because it was the result of a messy web of domestic interests and politics. No single force can put its national interests above such politics.

  69. r v Says:

    Bill,

    Effective PR means one doesn’t have to really accept responsibilities for any mistakes.

    Take a lesson from US. How often does the Congress apologize for its truly heinous mistakes? And how long do they usually wait after the mistakes?

    What’s effective PR? Focus on one’s own positives, other people’s mistakes, and drown out the critics.

    I think China will learn US’s ways of PR very quickly, as easily as learning technologies.

  70. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    @neutrino

    It is true that the US will act in its own selfish interests, like any other country. And China knows it.
    Also, it should be remembered that cross strait relations are at their best since 1949; and that that has happened without any outside (or US) help or interference.

    @Josef

    The US doesn’t give give a damn whether the weapons are offensive or defensive in nature. All it wants is to sell weapons, of any sort. For example, if it can’t sell F-16s, it might sell a couple of more helicopters to make up for the cost.

    The TRA may not be binding, but it is a good smokescreen to hide behind.

    The fact is that the US just uses Taiwan to,
    a) earn commissions
    b) satisfy the military and industrial lobby within the government
    c) To avoid appearing weak against China and giving in to its demands.
    d) And of course, in order to further its policy of divide and rule.

  71. Rhan Says:

    MB,
    I think we have to take into consideration of Taiwanese wish as well before we conclude that US give or don’t give damn.

  72. Bill Says:

    @ r v:

    I don’t have any direct experience of living in US. If what you said is the case, it is so bad.

    In my view, what you describe of US is not PR. It is propaganda.

  73. r v Says:

    Bill,

    What I said is the case. Some do call it propaganda, but often PR is propaganda.

    It’s a generally accepted universal rule of politics, that true politicians do not believe in what they say and do not take responsibilities.

    Afterall, in the true sense of democracy, politicians are merely the representatives of the people, they act for the people, and thus any mistakes are the responsibilities of the people.

    If politicians are truly responsible, many should commit ritual suicide like the Japanese bankers who lost money in the 1990’s. (politicians have lost far more money than those Japanese bankers).

  74. tanjin Says:

    Read Paul Krugman’s new piece “Taking On China” show that is just another beat on his old drum.

    Who is more absurd? Mr. Krugman or Premier Wen.

    Mr. Krugman wants poor countries like China to help stimulate US economy. Why, he said the Fed is running a near zero rate and Euro Zone is in danger of collapsing. What, he even came out a voodoo number of “1.5%” GDP growth if China re-evaluate its currency. For what in return, as his logic continues … nothing but a slap on China’s face — selling a huge stash of advanced weapons to Taiwan and meeting up with 14th DL…

    He forget the real fact is that the imbalance is not mainly driven by China’s exporting but US’s own appetite for importing goods. Even more, who caused the US’s current falling from sky — it’s US’s self-making.

  75. tanjin Says:

    The Economist had a good piece responding to Paul Krugman’s NYT article

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2010/03/chinas_currency

    “The general tone of his column—focused on toughness, insensitive to the internal politics of foreign nations, blind to potential negative outcomes, reckless and impatient—is familiar. It looks like nothing so much as the argumentation deployed by the Bush adminstration as it rushed to war in Iraq. Mr Krugman was prescient and prudent in fighting back against that misguided policy. He would do well to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and think again before urging America to “take a stand”, damn the consequences.

    He should respect China enough to know that its leaders understand that RMB appreciation is in their interest. And he should be humble enough to understand that patience and reserve is far more likely to lead to his desired outcome than ill-considered sabre rattling.”

  76. r v Says:

    Even Paul Krugman is not beyond going to the extremes in impatience. His frustration, he should realize, is more with the foolish policies of the US government.

    But frustration does not make rational decisions.

  77. colin Says:

    @Tanjin, rv, et al

    I think Krugman has been tapped as a tool by the Obama adminisration. And generally, the NYTimes is a huge fan of Obama. So it’s not one bit surprising that Krugman and others are coming out on issues exactly in line with Obama policy. Obama needs a big win PR desperately, and this appears to be one line of action that they are coordinating for that win. They are trying to gain support by revving up anti china sentiment. “Damn the consequences” indeed.

  78. Bill Says:

    To all:

    I am planning to write an essay about the discussions here about this post. If you would like me to quote your real full names, please let me know. (FM webmasters know my email address.) Otherwise, I will use your online names as shown here.

    @ r v

    I am wondering if you write in Chinese? If yes, how would you like to translate “Cold Erosion War” in Chinese? In your view, since when did US and China start the “Cold Erosion War” against each other? Should I use your online name?

    Thank you.

  79. Bill Says:

    Dear All,

    What do you think of the concept “Cold Erosion War”? Do you think US and China are already at “Cold Erosion War”?

    Thank you so much.

  80. Maitreya Bhakal Says:

    @Rhan

    “I think we have to take into consideration of Taiwanese wish as well before we conclude that US give or don’t give damn.”

    The wishes of the Taiwanese people are certainly very important, and I’ve never said otherwise. But the fact remains that the US government doesn’t give a damn about it.
    If you mean the Taiwanese government, then they are pretty happy to buy any weapons they can get.

  81. r v Says:

    Bill,

    “I am wondering if you write in Chinese? If yes, how would you like to translate “Cold Erosion War” in Chinese? In your view, since when did US and China start the “Cold Erosion War” against each other? Should I use your online name?”

    I do write in Chinese occasionally. Unfortunately, I do not have a very good translation of “Cold Erosion War”. Perhaps, 冷淹战. Erosion in this sense has a closer meaning to flooding.

    In my view, US and China started the “Cold Erosion War” after Tiananmen in 1989. US began to see that USSR could be “eroded” by its democratization efforts, and it thought China could be turned the same way. Tiananmen indicated to US that there might be a crack in the Chinese populous. It gave US encouragement to increase its democratization efforts in China. Plus, once USSR crumbled, China became the next biggest concern for US’s “list”.

    China however, has never openly declared that it would retaliate against US in this type of war. Instead, China has steadily eroded US’s influence, merely by standing up against US’s efforts, and showing other 3rd nations that they could also defy US, and providing aid to those nations who turned away from US.

    In a way, the more US huffs about China, more China’s influence increases around the world. 3rd world nations know that China is the “alternative”, and they often play US using the “China card.”

    US threatens to embargo arm supplies to Venezuela (a traditional US ally), and Chavez immediately threaten to sell his aging US made fighter planes to China and buy weapons from China and sell oil to China.

    Of course, US feels more frustrated now by China’s growing influence in that sense. China’s “alternative” makes US’s efforts around the world much more difficult to be carried out.

    But that’s what the “Cold Erosion War” is about, the fight of the “alternatives.”

    *please use my online name.

  82. Bill Says:

    Dear r v,

    Thank you so much for clarifying the concept “Cold Erosion War”. I will write an essay introducing your proposal.

    All the best,

  83. tanjin Says:

    Are we losing China? Is China losing us?

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/10/BUD31CR134.DTL#ixzz0koNgfIL9

  84. JN Wang Says:

    I am Taiwanese and I do not want Taiwan to be part of China. As for the issue of arms sale, Obama is legally required to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan.

    And instead of writing a 10-page essay lambasting Obama for upholding US law, why didn’t he ask Obama to speak up more for Chinese democracy and human rights? Oh yeah, because that would not have gone over very well with the Chinese Communist Party. My bad.

  85. r v Says:

    If we can all put sovereignty to votes, I don’t want to be part of any country nor pay taxes to any one.

    And I’m sure that the Taiwanese Aboriginies would want their island back.

    Perhaps Obama should reconsider who are the true “Taiwanese”, and arm the Aboriginies for an independence (as required by law.)

    Why not?

  86. Charles Liu Says:

    RV, here’s an article in china citing your concept 冷淹战 as part of “total war”总体战 that’s been going on:

    http://www.chinaelections.org/newsinfo.asp?newsid=175822

    BTW, I’m Taiwanese and i don’t agree with JN Wang.

  87. JN Wang Says:

    Taiwan is a free country, Charles 🙂 . We are allowed to have different opinions 🙂 . That is why we can agree to disagree 🙂 .

    And I am not trying to start anything, but why would you read from a website written in simplified script?

  88. No99 Says:

    I am not from Taiwan and hesitated for bit whether or not to comment on this. I don’t think either side wants a direct conflict both China and US. Both can not stomach each other. There’s also many possibilities of other groups or countries around the globe and within those two nations that will take advantage of such a situation.

    This is an outsider’s opinion but I hope Taiwan can do whatever they can do with their own strength and free will of choice to grow and prosper. I understand the need to protect one’s self. It doesn’t always have to resort to violence.

    You all can scold me or call me a naive spoiled brat for saying this but I also hope people don’t equate freedom as just self-serving interests without regard to others around them. No state or individual can last by itself without a stable relationship with others. It would be extremely beneficial with those that are the closest to them. Democracy is just a term to describe a place being ruled by it’s citizens, however it requires a lot of work, or else it would be no different from common village rule. Those two items I mentioned are not entirely the same as living standards or respect for human life (there’s a lot that needs to be considered and isn’t always accepted as defined by laws or public opinion as “rights”). Though it can help.

    Politics is a serious matter, but after a while, most mature minds can see how much BS is involved.

  89. JN Wang Says:

    “I am not from Taiwan and hesitated for bit whether or not to comment on this. I don’t think either side wants a direct conflict both China and US. Both can not stomach each other. There’s also many possibilities of other groups or countries around the globe and within those two nations that will take advantage of such a situation. ”

    No problem, No99 🙂 . It is a free blog 🙂 . And you are right, I doubt most people, no matter what nationality, are eager for war.

    “This is an outsider’s opinion but I hope Taiwan can do whatever they can do with their own strength and free will of choice to grow and prosper. I understand the need to protect one’s self. It doesn’t always have to resort to violence. ”

    Well, most Taiwanese people just want the other side to leave us alone. Personally, I am a big supporter of the status quo. I do not care what Taiwan calls itself, as long as it is not ruled by the other side. And the vast majority of the Taiwanese people, poll after poll, consistently agree with me. It is the other side that is constantly threatening us with death and destruction.

    Let us see: 1995, check. 1996, check. 2000, check. 2004, check. Anti-Secession Law, check. And every time they threaten us, they just make us even more defiant. That is why they are trying to play nice now with this free trade agreement. But still, if they think the Taiwanese people will be clamoring to surrender our freedom to them after signing this free trade agreement, they have got another thing coming. We will sign the agreement, and then we will carry on as before. And it is only a matter of time before the real China bares its teeth and starts to breathe fire, again.

  90. r v Says:

    It’s nice that some are so positive about their own independence and freedom.

    But let’s be realistic, where would Taiwan be today without US’s support and aid for the last 60 years?

    Let’s just say, one way or another Taiwan has always leaned on someone, because it is a small island.

    If one expects US to continue such a support at cost of TRILLIONS of dollars for another 60 years, one might as well be dreaming.

    US is dealing with the reality of a rising China.

    The next question is, does Taiwan really want to be left alone? Perhaps even from US, if China is no longer a threat?

    Sure, one day, China may very well leave Taiwan alone, as an economic competitor.

    Then, there would only be the cold peace of economic decline.

  91. r v Says:

    I want to further clarify that the global economic reality is that most nations will unlikely go to war with each other, because they are so tied to each other by trade.

    China, especially, is in that condition.

    Military build up is largely symbolic show of “teeth”, much like male deers sharpening their horns in display for their fitness, but the horns have no practical use for their size.

    That being said, Warfare in the 21st century is turned toward largely economic based competitions between nations.

    While free trade pacts are supposed to guarantee some equality of economic opportunities, there are subtle competitive strong-arming.

    Thus, sovereignty would inevitably be linked to economic favoritism.

    To Secure its sovereignty, China is willing to give favorable economic positions to HK, Macao, and Taiwan.

    Oppositely, if China loses sovereignty in Taiwan, China will be far less inclined to give any economic advantages to Taiwan.

    The simple truth is, China will give economic protection to its brethens (because it is necessary to protect its sovereignty), but not to its competitors.

  92. Josef Says:

    r v, you wrote:
    “But let’s be realistic, where would Taiwan be today without US’s support and aid for the last 60 years?” etc.
    Let’s compare with South Korea or, even better, Singapore. Where do you see the difference? Will they also encounter a “Cold peace of economic decline”? And do these, not so big countries, need “economic protection”?
    I think you underestimate Taiwan’s economy and the fact that China is not the world.

    You also wrote before:
    “If we can all put sovereignty to votes, I don’t want to be part of any country nor pay taxes to anyone.”
    I really wonder if you mean that seriously: You really would not prefer a free and democratic country over anarchy (not to anyone)? And in a next step prefer over CCP?

  93. JN Wang Says:

    “But let’s be realistic, where would Taiwan be today without US’s support and aid for the last 60 years? ”

    Exactly. It seems you understand why America is so admired in my country. As opposed to our supposed brethren next door, who make it a ritual to threaten a peace-loving people.

    And let US be realistic. Would I want to partner up with somebody who has been with us through thick and thin, given us enough capital to jump start our economy, serves as a political model for our democracy, human rights, freedom, and rule of law, and even risks the lives of American men and women to protect us, or a partnership with somebody who threatens us over and over again, runs over their own unarmed students with tanks, and continues to persecute, torture, and murder anybody they deem enemies of the state?

    Moreover, is it rational for us to forsake our relationship with the US to surrender our self-rule to an arbitrary and corrupt dictatorship with no freedom, no democracy, no human rights, and no rule of law? To put our necks out there at the mercy of the said dictatorship? All for trade that we can obtain without giving up our freedom?

  94. r v Says:

    Josef,

    South Korea, at least Korea, had a substantial history of independence, economically, militarily, culturally, and politically.

    Singapore, It’s hard to say whether Singapore is substantially independent. There are some who would argue that Singapore is overly dependent upon its trading partners, and particularly Singapore bow to China’s pressure too easily.

    (But let’s at least note that Singapore seems to understand that it has to play soft ball with China, because it will be reliant upon Chinese trade in the future. South Korea similarly understands that its economic political well being will be at least influenced substantially by its large neighbor China, and also tries to minimize political confrontations.) Both these nations understand that China will wield significant influence in their future, one way or another. It’s in their own interest to move toward positions of “friends”.

    South Korea has some political disputes with China, namely the border definition between North Korea and China. And South Korea is fiercely nationalistic. However, that issue (and the Korean War issue) is sidelined in favor of further trade relations. South Korea also knows that without China’s help, South Korea (and US) cannot possibly resolve the North Korean problem without substantial costs.

    Now, South Korea’s economy is no small pocket change, but especially after the 1997 Asian Currency/Financial crisis, South Korea has relied upon China to provide a buffer against economic risks. (Afterall, China was largely credited with holding its currency stable and providing some stability in Asia.) After the 1997 Asian financial Crisis, South Korea’s debt ratio rose from around 20% to 40%. South Korean currency fell in value.

    Oddly enough, both Singapore and Taiwan did not suffer decline in currency values during the 1997 crisis, however, both did suffer declines in trade.

    *I do not underestimate Taiwan. China needs the trade with other nations, as much as they need trade with China.

    However, it is a simple matter. China will link sovereignty issue of Taiwan with the issue of trade with Taiwan. Taiwan will be either a brethen or a competitor. It is that simple. China may not resort to war, but if China goes into an all out competition mode against Taiwan, well, you can go imagine the consequences.

    *
    On preferences of free/democratic country vs. anarchy, I was in jest. However, I assure you, there are people who want anarchy, (or rather merely they be allowed to lord over others, who do not have a choice.)

    Take Taiwan, as I said, I’m sure the Aboriginies want their island back. So who are these “Taiwanese” who want to be independent and free from China, so to impose their own rules over the poor Aboriginies in the Mountains of Taiwan.

    I would say the Aboriginies of Taiwan are far more distinct in culture and politics vs. the “Taiwanese” vs. the mainland Chinese.

    Why not let the Aboriginies have their own votes and declare their own independence?

    Is that Free/Democratic process? Or anarchy? Or just argument over land?

  95. r v Says:

    I wonder the conviction of Taiwan is so blinded to 1 side of history.

    But then again, some in Taiwan still admire Hitler as a great man.

  96. No99 Says:

    I know some of you all will hate me for saying this, but at the very end, Taiwan needs to stand up for itself. It’s hard but people have to be realistic. There might be some assistance from other countries in case anything worst happens, but to be honest, the US really would not step in (nothing huge or out in the open) for any direct confrontation with an organized army in East Asia. Not even N. Korea even though they have a lot of troops stationed in Northeast Asia.

    I hope you all don’t have a very cynical or romantic view of American commitment to other nations. It is admirable to a certain extent and there are people who believe in their mission of helping others, but overall if you knew a lot of soldiers and military personal, a lot of them are in it just for the job of getting bills paid and other benefits. Some may say it’s their lifesaver, gave them a purpose. In the beginning you may get some guys who are somewhat fanatic about their organization but overtime they realize the importance of taking care of themselves. Most people are very pragmatic. The Americans have a very fine military institution, top in the world, but speaking with people behind the scenes, they are pretty aware of the many issues facing China. The politicians have many other goals in mind, some of them not very honorable. To be frank, and I’m not the only one thinking the same way, we know that a lot of American lives and resources are being used by not just their own politicians but also others around the world including Taiwan.

    I think the people in Taiwan will do fine by themselves. They do need to get their birthrate up though, because this out of the other issues, will greatly affect them unless they want to resort to immigration in which its neighbor China will quickly fill in the most. They can not ignore this shaky connection.

  97. r v Says:

    In the end, it is Taiwan’s ability to stand up to itself and its own interests that is in question.

    Taiwan may pretend that it can count on US as “ally”, but US’s support to Taiwan came at a lot of costs.

    Every time US bows to China’s pressures, some in Taiwan just pretend that it never happened.

    And frankly, some in Taiwan do not want to discuss some of US’s demands on Taiwan, in terms of trade and currency policies.

  98. Steve Says:

    @ JN Wang #89: I posted this Taiwan Public Opinion Survey awhile ago in another thread. It refers specifically to the reunification question, among other things.

  99. Steve Says:

    @ r v #95: The reason for the collapse should be pretty obvious.

  100. r v Says:

    Steve,

    I’m not sure about why the collapse. I was referring to a real social condition in Taiwan.

    http://www.fpp.co.uk/Hitler/docs/popularity/Taiwan221199.html

    Nothing personal.

  101. Steve Says:

    @ r v: OK, this is getting ridiculous. I can search the web and find all sorts of nonsense. It doesn’t apply to the post subject, it’s ridiculously arbitrary and I could find the same sort of nonsense in almost any country. I lived in Taiwan for years and never met anyone who had this opinion. Are we next going to quote from the National Enquirer?

  102. r v Says:

    Steve,

    Perhaps you didn’t see the copyright line on the bottom of the article, “© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press”.

    also it was “By William Foreman Associated Press Writer”.

    Here’s his brief bio: Bill Foreman, the new chief of bureau in Hong Kong, joined the AP as a newsman in Kansas City in 1995. He transferred to the AP’s international desk in 1997 and was named bureau chief in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1999.”

    That’s not some National Enquirer article.

    I’m not saying everyone in Taiwan has the same opinion, but surly, AP article has some credibility? William Foreman has some weight?

    You may not agree. I don’t think it should be so easily dismissed as “nonsense”.

  103. r v Says:

    But I will admit, it is a little irrelevant.

    Still, without elaborating further, let me just say that some have some pretty distorted view of history, to make National Enquirer articles look almost logical in comparison.

  104. Josef Says:

    r v, I think we agree to some extent, as you wrote:
    ” However, it is a simple matter. China will link sovereignty issue of Taiwan with the issue of trade with Taiwan. ”
    So it is not so much the size or economy of Taiwan, but China’s politics.
    And that makes the real difference to S. Korea or Singapore.

    “if China goes into an all out competition mode against Taiwan, well, you can go imagine the consequences”.
    Even if China goes into competition mode the consequences might not be so severe. China cannot succeed forcing Japan or the U.S. not having trade with Taiwan (probably some European countries can be divided and conquered, like it happened before).

    “who are these “Taiwanese” who want to be independent and free from China,”
    Please distinguish!
    I think for “free from China” you can count all who prefers the status quo, which is a majority in Taiwan. (see also Steve’s reference link)
    “Independent”, if it angers China (for nothing) and lead to economic disadvantages it don’t need to be declared. Under the given circumstances there is definitely only a minority in Taiwan who wishes a declaration.
    About the “aborigines” point. Better let’s talk about reality. There are many examples in the world of same country/same culture, different country/same culture, same country/different culture. Especial examples from the previous USSR: regions, where a majority of the population has the same or similar culture, which has been occupied over longer time than Han Chinese are in Taiwan, but now are independent countries. So, culture, common history, language does not count at all, or only to a very small extent! If Taiwan is in the lucky position to be de-facto independent, and can sustain it, one has to accept that.

    So to answer, who are these “Taiwanese”: The people who live now in Taiwan and has the right to vote are these Taiwanese, who defines their own future like in any other democracy.
    .

  105. r v Says:

    Josef,

    Politics is always linked to trade, that is global reality. Doesn’t US trade with Iran or Cuba? No. Why? Politics, even if they are technically not at war.

    Then we recognize that if China links trade with politics of sovereignty, that is hardly surprising.

    *I didn’t suggest that China can “force” japan or US to not trade with Taiwan. However, Japan and US are both having significant problems with their economy. They both need China more than ever to “help” them. At least that is the near future.

    The other economic reality is Taiwan is very export dependent, perhaps more than China. over the years, Taiwan’s trade is shifting toward export to mainland China. Taiwan has now trade surplus of $65 billion vs. mainland China, but only $21 billion vs. US (even though overall trade volume is higher vs. US).

    Over the long run, the reality is that Taiwan is sitting right off the coast of mainland China. Invariably, Taiwanese economy will be influenced by China, more than influence by Japan or US. Imagine that China and Taiwan are 2 shops next to each other on the same street, China is the bigger shop. Now, China can promise that it will stay out of some markets and let Taiwan have them, and even buy from Taiwan. OR, China can go after every single market that Taiwan wants to go into. In the long run, it won’t matter who likes Taiwan better than China.

    *Taiwan’s de facto independence may be “accepted” grudgingly. I am merely pointing out 1 possible consequence in the economic terms, eg. my China and Taiwan shops next to each other analogy.

    *To your answer of “Taiwanese”, why “people who live NOW in Taiwan”? Why not back hundreds of years ago? The answer is the imposition of such rules by “foreign powers” on the native Aboriginies.

    “Democracy” after the point of guns? Well, if that’s the case, China can settle this “democracy” after some NEW rules with their weapons of choice.

    Nothing wrong with “Democracy”, except it is ALSO made for victors after settling wars without votes.

  106. JN Wang Says:

    One thing I have noticed about your writing, r v, and that of the general Chinese perspective, is that you are all about force. You do not bother to try to find out what will attract Taiwan to your side. Rather, with you people, It is all about submission through force and coercion. That is why China’s Taiwan policy always seems to backfire on them as a general rule of thumb.

    As for “And frankly, some in Taiwan do not want to discuss some of US’s demands on Taiwan, in terms of trade and currency policies. ”

    America had been subsidizing Taiwan’s mercantilism for decades, to the point that Taiwan once had the second largest foreign reserve in the entire world, only behind Japan, another mercantile country and American ally. So if one day America decided that the trade deficit was getting too out of hand and was not fair to the American economy, we have to respect that. Not to mention our cheap money policy was hurting our consumers and generating unhealthy inflation. So a revaluation of our currency was long overdue, and in the end, both sides benefited. The trade rows subsided, the Taiwanese consumers had more buying power, and America was selling its wares again. It was a win-win.

    Do you see a pattern here? America enriches its allies and make them want to be part of the free world, whereas all the communist bloc countries cared about were submission through force and coercion.

  107. JN Wang Says:

    Hmm, I did not want to do a sentence to sentence response, but I just have to respond to these statements.

    “If one expects US to continue such a support at cost of TRILLIONS of dollars for another 60 years, one might as well be dreaming. ”

    Where did you come up with that number?

    “The next question is, does Taiwan really want to be left alone? Perhaps even from US, if China is no longer a threat? ”

    Okay, either I did not make myself clear, or you are purposefully misunderstanding my words. First, by left alone, I did not mean isolationism. I meant for China to stop threatening us to join their country. Moreover, if China is no longer a threat, we would not even need to buy all those weapons. All those weapons are needed to protect us from just one single country, and we all know who that is.

    “Sure, one day, China may very well leave Taiwan alone, as an economic competitor. ”

    You mean, they are not competing already? Let me be clear, free trade does not mean there is no competition. It just means there is less tariff. Even EU countries compete with each other economically.

    But if your intent of writing the above statement was to make a veiled threat that if Taiwan does not surrender, then it will be crushed economically, then I am quite certain that will backfire on you, like all your past threats.

    “Then, there would only be the cold peace of economic decline. ”

    That is a very tall order in a globalized economy.

    In conclusion, instead of trying to force us to submit through political, economic, military, and other means, which will certainly backfire, I do not understand why China cannot just let us be. And if one day China does develop into a country that is attractive to Taiwan, then I do not see why we cannot come up with / form some sort of a “special relationship. “

  108. r v Says:

    “Where did you come up with that number?”

    US aid, adjusted for currency value.

    “Okay, either I did not make myself clear, or you are purposefully misunderstanding my words. First, by left alone, I did not mean isolationism. I meant for China to stop threatening us to join their country. Moreover, if China is no longer a threat, we would not even need to buy all those weapons. All those weapons are needed to protect us from just one single country, and we all know who that is.”

    Well, that’s the circular logic isn’t it? It wasn’t that long ago when Taiwan was threatening to “take back mainland” with all those weapons bought from US for that purpose. ALL those weapons MEANT for the continuation of Chinese Civil War. Take away ALL those weapons, what’s left of Taiwanese military?

    “You mean, they are not competing already? Let me be clear, a free market does not mean there is no competition. It just means there is less tariff. Even EU countries compete with each other economically.”

    You mean, you didn’t know that Taiwan is being bought/bribed currently by China, as it was aided by US? Did you honestly think that mainland China would give that much favorable trade terms to Taiwan and Taiwanese businessmen, if it was 100% “free market competition”?

    “That is a very tall order in a globalized economy.”

    Countries go bankrupted in a globalized economy, it happens more often than you think. Bigger economies than Taiwan, such as Japan, can go into stagnation for 2 decades.

    China is a “very tall order” in the Globalized economy, in case you haven’t noticed.

  109. JN Wang Says:

    “US aid, adjusted for currency value. ”

    Post the link(s), por favor.

    “Well, that’s the circular logic isn’t it? It wasn’t that long ago when Taiwan was threatening to “take back mainland” with all those weapons bought from US for that purpose. ALL those weapons MEANT for the continuation of Chinese Civil War. Take away ALL those weapons, what’s left of Taiwanese military? ”

    Red herring. If you are implying that Taiwan needs those weapons to invade China, I will not go down that route. All I can say is that your kind of thinking is only about 2 decades out of date. Move on.

    You mistakenly assumed I wanted isolationism, so I clarified my statements. Not only that, I also responded to your original query that Taiwan can save a lot of 冤枉錢 (unnecessary expenditures) if China is no longer baying and braying at us, which is just basic common sense.

    “You mean, you didn’t know that Taiwan is being bought/bribed currently by China, as it was aided by US? Did you honestly think that mainland China would give that much favorable trade terms to Taiwan and Taiwanese businessmen, if it was 100% “free market competition”? ”

    And it is a two-way street, in case you have not noticed. You get something out of these businessmen, and they get something out of you. My best friend and I operate a business in China right now as we speak, and we are not getting any freebies. As the saying goes, one penny of money, one penny of goods.

    And please do enlighten me on some of these “favorable trade terms. ” Maybe I am being shortchanged and I do not even know it.

    “China is a “very tall order” in the Globalized economy, in case you haven’t noticed. ”

    Not necessarily. Most Taiwanese businesses send parts to China, with the eventual goal of exporting the completed products to the US and other developed countries. China is just a means to an end. If you somehow take that away, which you cannot, since even China has to respect a foreign investor’s property rights. But just in case you can, I will just go somewhere else. Capital is scarce, cheap labor is not.

  110. r v Says:

    “Post the link(s), por favor.”

    It is well known that Madame Chiang obtained much donations from US during and after WWII with many trips. Chiang family’s personal pilfered gold deposit in 1949 alone is over 4 million ounces around the world, worth about $4.5 billion today. I don’t have the time to account for all the other “aid” that US dumped to Taiwan over 60 years.

    The real question is, Can Taiwan even account for itself all the money poured into it as “aid”? Lost to corruption perhaps? How much bribe money was paid in all the “checkbook diplomacies”?

    “Red herring. If you are implying that Taiwan needs those weapons to invade China, I will not go down that route. All I can say is that your kind of thinking is only about 2 decades out of date. Move on.”

    No fish at all. You said Taiwan needed all that weapon to “defend” itself. I simply pointed out that that’s not how you got most of those weapons in the first place. Taiwan armed itself, in the first place, to threaten mainland China. You are about 2 decades too late to claim “self-defense” now. That’s a silly excuse.

    “You asked whether Taiwan really wants to be left alone if China is no longer a threat, and I said yes. Not only that, I also mentioned that Taiwan can save a lot of 冤枉錢 (unnecessary expenditures) if China is no longer baying and braying at us, which is just basic common sense.”

    Yeah, I’m sure Taiwan won’t have military defense after peace with China. That would be an interesting start for a new “country”.

    “And it is a two-way street, in case you have not noticed. You get something out of these businessmen, and they get something out of you. My best friend and I operate a business in China right now as we speak, and we are not getting any freebies. As the saying goes, one penny of money, one penny of goods.”

    Sure, China knows it’s buying “loyalty”. Just hope you know what you are selling. When the time comes, you will be tested for your “loyalty”. You can always leave China, if you are not willing to take that test. It is that simple. There are plenty in Taiwan who will take the test.

    “And please do enlighten me on some of these “favorable trade terms. ” Maybe I am being shortchanged and I do not even know it.”

    Yes, you are. But you will find out, the next time you have “difficulties” in China.

    “Not necessarily. Most Taiwanese businesses send parts to China, with the eventual goal of exporting the completed products to the US and other developed countries. China is just a means to an end. If you somehow take that away, which you cannot, since even China has to respect a foreign investor’s property rights. But just in case you can, I will just go somewhere else. Capital is scarce, cheap labor is not.”

    Surly you have heard of Google? Well, let’s just say that your license to do business in China is always up for review.

    Capital is abundant in China, pro-China businessmen are a dime a dozen in the world.

  111. JN Wang Says:

    “The real question is, Can Taiwan even account for itself all the money poured into it as “aid”? Lost to corruption perhaps? How much bribe money was paid in all the “checkbook diplomacies”? ”

    In other words, your “trillions” claim is an unfounded accusation. Thank you for clearing it up.

    “No fish at all. You said Taiwan needed all that weapon to “defend” itself. I simply pointed out that that’s not how you got most of those weapons in the first place. Taiwan armed itself, in the first place, to threaten mainland China. You are about 2 decades too late to claim “self-defense” now. That’s a silly excuse. ”

    Silly red herring.

    “Sure, China knows it’s buying “loyalty”. Just hope you know what you are selling. When the time comes, you will be tested for your “loyalty”. You can always leave China, if you are not willing to take that test. It is that simple. There are plenty in Taiwan who will take the test. ”

    Just watch all the foreign investors, not just the Taiwanese, stampeding out of China, once it is known that property rights are no longer respected in China. Yeah, great idea.

    As for the loyalty oath, muahahahaha. Thank you for the laugh, but thankfully a Chinese bureaucrat knows better than you, a web poster who does not even live in China. Since just as I said: Whenever China threatens Taiwan, it will always backfire in their face. And you would be surprised how many free men would choose exit over treason. So once that economic umbilical cord has been cut, there will be nothing linking Taiwan to China.

    “Surly you have heard of Google? Well, let’s just say that your license to do business in China is always up for review. ”

    And how important is China to Google? Yeah, exactly.

    “Capital is abundant in China, pro-China businessmen are a dime a dozen in the world. ”

    No businessman is pro-China. They are pro-money and pro-property rights. So when China chisels away at the legal foundations of property rights, watch all the business flow to other emerging markets that will not arbitrarily pilfer their property.

    As I said, force and coercion …

  112. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake, the word is “surely”. If people are going to use a word repeatedly, can they please at some point get it right? “Surly” is also a word, so the spell-checker ain’t gonna find it for you, but it makes no sense given the context of its use.

  113. Steve Says:

    When I lived in China, I was frequently asked what I thought about the “One China” policy as applied to Taiwan. This was my response…

    I’m in sales and marketing and I’m familiar with closing tactics. One style of “close” is called the “fear close”. IBM used to use this one in the States in the advertising campaign a few years ago where the business is in deep trouble because their off-brand software screwed up. The message? If you used IBM software, you’ll never have to worry about losing your job because no one will ever fire you for using an IBM product. I’ve had competitors try this one on me and what I’ve found is that though it can work, if it doesn’t you get an opposite reaction. A competitor tried this one in Motorola years ago. However, I knew they’d use it so I informed the Equipment Engineering Manager, who was an ex Navy CPO, exactly what would happen and in what order. He felt like he was being manipulated (which he was) and threw the salesman and his company out of his area indefinitely. That’s the extremely negative reaction you get when it doesn’t work.

    Jiang Zemin tried the “fear close” on Taiwan in 1996, it didn’t work, it had the opposite reaction to what was intended, and almost singlehandedly created the Taiwan nationalism movement. Most of you might not realize it but Taiwan independence was not a part of the Minjindang’s original party platform, which was based on democracy and human rights. It was a response to the “fear close” as their voting block had the strongest negative reaction to this tactic from China. Politicians are always opportunistic.

    So what’s the real issue here? China is trying to “sell” Taiwan on reunification. Taiwan is the buyer. China needs to give Taiwan a reason to buy. For a long time, their reason was “buy or you’ll die”. When the Taiwanese realized those words were unable to be enforced, they felt insulted and reacted as all potential customers do to that type of sales tactic. So until China gives Taiwan a “reason to buy”, not much progress will be made in that direction. The sell won’t be successful if it’s perceived to be a win/lose proposition. It can only be successful if it is perceived to be win/win. So the onus is on China to come up with a better reason to buy.

    Hu Jintao’s approach has been the classic “carrot/stick” tactic. It’s more effective than a fear close but I don’t personally believe it can work in the long run. What needs to be discussed, if anything, would be the various approaches China can take to move in that direction, or if it is even possible, given her current state of development both economically, politically and environmentally, to come up with a viable approach that would appeal to the people of Taiwan. The threat of missile attack, war, annihilation and economic strangulation? Those are all terrible sales strategies as proven by their lack of effectiveness up ’til now.

    Lastly, the #1 reason people decide on one product over another is emotional, not logical. People make emotional decisions, then try to justify those decisions using logic and reasoning. Thus they appear to have decided “logically” but they did nothing of the sort. Welcome to the wonderful world of negotiation, where this concept is taught in every negotiating class you’ll ever take. So when you rally support for a policy by appealing to nationalistic urges, you also encourage an equal and opposite nationalistic response on the opposite side. Every time someone from Taiwan hears a Chinese person berate them over reunification, their natural emotional response is to feel a nationalistic defense towards Taiwan. That’s human nature, not specific to China or Taiwan but to all people. Is that a winning strategy? Is that the best way to achieve your goal (sale)? I think not.

    So these tit for tat arguments between Chinese and Taiwanese over reunification are just that, emotional responses to they way each side feels they are being treated. They accomplish nothing except a hardening of positions on both sides. It’s also why the vast percentage of Taiwanese want to maintain the status quo. What reason do they have to switch from this position? Do the Chinese have a higher per capita income than the people in Taiwan? No. Do they maintain a better lifestyle? No. Do they have a more equitable court system? No. Do they have a more stable society? No. Do they have a healthier food supply chain? No. So where’s the advantage in reunification? Until those advantages are pointed out in a non-threatening manner and some of the disadvantages are dealt with and solved by the Chinese government, this issue will continue to generate a lot of print but not much progress. At this time, the Taiwanese still do not see a “reason to buy”.

  114. JN Wang Says:

    “A competitor tried this one in Motorola years ago. However, I knew they’d use it so I informed the Equipment Engineering Manager, who was an ex Navy CPO, exactly what would happen and in what order. He felt like he was being manipulated (which he was) and threw the salesman and his company out of his area indefinitely. That’s the extremely negative reaction you get when it doesn’t work. ”

    I am sorry. I do not mean to take this discussion off-track, but I did not understand this part of your writing, and I am very inquisitive by nature. lol ;p :)) !!! So, let me get this straight. Did you mean to say that someone in Motorola tried to pressure your company with one of these “fear close” ? Or did you work for Motorola, and somebody tried to “fear close” on Motorola, and thus by extension, you? And who got thrown out? And who was doing the throwing, lol(z) ;p :)) !!!??? I am just trying to get to the bottom of this, since I myself like a good business story or two, lol(z) ;p :)) !!!

    As for the rest of your post, I feel that you have condensed all of my writings into one simple, concise, and easy-to-read post, something I have failed to do in like 10 of my posts, lol(z) ;p :)) !!! I hang my head in shame / bow my head in humble respect and awe, lol(z) ;p :)) !!!

  115. Steve Says:

    Sorry to be unclear on the whole Motorola thing. I was trying to sell my product at one of the Motorola fabs against a competitor who had the business. This fab decided to switch to my product. Soon after that, my competitor tried to get the business back by using a fear close. The salesman with their local distributor visited their site and saw they had made a switch. He brought his sales manager who played the bad guy to the direct salesman’s good guy. Then two weeks later, two guys from the manufacturer itself showed up to give the fear close (you’re endangering the safety of your people) while the salesman and his manager played the sympathetic roles. I had warned the equipment engineering manager of what they would do and exactly how they would do it, so he saw it all as a play, which it actually was, rather than being sincere.

    When it comes to business or politics, I tend to be practical as in, if it works keep it and if it doesn’t work, change it. As W.C. Fields once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” 😛

  116. r v Says:

    “No businessman is pro-China.”

    Yeah, I’m not dreaming, some in Taiwan would believe that.

    A simple choice might give you some idea of the pros vs. cons.

    The new trade agreement between China and Taiwan is still being negotiated. Under the WTO rules, tariffs on goods from Taiwan will depend on Taiwan’s status.

    (1) if Taiwan is a country, then under WTO rules, China must impose import tariffs on Taiwanese goods, just like for goods from other “countries.” (No special favored status rule).

    (2) if Taiwan is (at least de jure nominally) part of China, then under WTO rules, all goods from Taiwan are exempt from import tariffs, since it would be considered internal commerce within China. (tariff free)

    All Taiwan has to do is choose, how much tariffs it should pay to the Chinese government, or how much of its trade surplus with China it wants to give up.

    I’m sure some Taiwanese would have no problem paying the extra out of principle. Good for them!

    I guess we will just see Taiwanese “Democracy” work it out on that choice!

  117. r v Says:

    “In other words, your “trillions” claim is an unfounded accusation. Thank you for clearing it up.”

    That’s your red herring. Obviously you didn’t want to answer my question.

    “Just watch all the foreign investors, not just the Taiwanese, stampeding out of China, once it is known that property rights are no longer respected in China. Yeah, great idea.”

    Oh, who said anything about not respecting “property rights”? Your business license is not a property. LOL! There is no guaranteed right to do business in any country!

    “As for the loyalty oath, muahahahaha. Thank you for the laugh, but thankfully a Chinese bureaucrat knows better than you, a web poster who does not even live in China. Since just as I said: Whenever China threatens Taiwan, it will always backfire in their face. And you would be surprised how many free men would choose exit over treason. So once that economic umbilical cord has been cut, there will be nothing linking Taiwan to China.”

    China doesn’t need to make you sign an “oath”. The mere fact that you want to stay in business in China in spite of claim of “Taiwan is a country” is enough.

    Threaten Taiwan?! It’s far easier and better for China to buy Taiwan.

    “Choose exit over treason”?

    I have no doubt “treason” comes up a lot nowadays in Taiwanese politics. (even applied toward Taiwanese president).

    Seriously, with your suspicion of China, you are rather certain of China’s ill intent.

    so why do you hesitate your “exit” from China?! (If indeed it is so easy for you!)

    Answer: MONEY!

    the economic Umbilical cord need not be cut. It will be permanent once you hesitate over money long enough! LOL!

    I assure you, if you want to be left alone, you will have to cut your own economic umbilical cord.

    Please, I would love to see you demonstrate the EASE of your exit from China.

    You know (at least you imply) China will keep threatening Taiwan, keep bribing Taiwan, “carrot and stick” Taiwan until China gets Taiwan. On that, I have no doubt of China’s resolve and patience.

    The longer you hesitate, the more money China will get from your business in China, and more 冤枉錢 you have to keep paying in Taiwan.

    *But then again, you exiting China won’t change much of what China will do, will it?

    🙂

  118. r v Says:

    Steve,

    “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”

    That’s a good quote.

    Though, that sentiment might not go well in some issues. (Because there is always a hardcore fool in every one when it comes to some issues. For me, it is Chinese Sovereignty.)

  119. r v Says:

    Steve,

    I would argue that MONEY is the #1 reason for most political emotional issues.

    Who pays more, who pays less, why, who gets more, who gets less, etc.

    I would further argue that military buildup is always on the table.

    Taiwan has not discussed armistice with mainland since the Civil War and the Cold War, and has continued to further arm itself. One can obviously say that China’s continual military build up at least is logically in line with resolving the question of Taiwan’s own intent in the long run.

    In other words, China has no reason to trust the new “democratic” Taiwan which continues to buy weapons (and share military intelligence of China) from/with former Cold War allies.

    As you said, it is an emotional issue at least in part.

    *But I’ll say this much, the focus of the problem now is entirely on how China will influence Taiwan, negatively or positively.

    How China can or cannot sell to Taiwan.

    Nothing of reverse is now discussed, How Taiwan can influence China. It wasn’t long ago, that people postulated that a “democratic” Taiwan can change China. I guess, people either gave up on that idea, or Taiwan really doesn’t have much leverage.

    I would say, if Taiwan is in such a weak position that it cannot influence China any more (at least not actively), then part of the problem for Taiwan is precisely that.

    In the end, this is what it is all about, INFLUENCE, as I postulated with my “Cold Erosion War”.

    And in an equation between 2 parties, if one party is significantly less in influence of the other, then the relationship cannot truly be equal.

  120. Otto Kerner Says:

    r v,

    How many countries in the world do you think would willingly give up their self-rule and become part of China in exchange for no tariffs? I’m not saying there are none. My guess is the list wouldn’t include any of the richer countries, though.

  121. r v Says:

    Otto,

    Your question does pose the question of importance of “self-rule” vs. “no tariffs”. But the question to Taiwan is not “self-rule”. It is “sovereignty” in name, nothing more, nothing less.

    If the question to Taiwan is really “self-rule”, it might be easier for Taiwan to decide. But if Taiwan merely wish to gain a name for itself, it wins nothing for its “democracy”.

    And let us not forget, US declared independence, 1 (important) reason was for unjust taxes. Conversely, one should ask, would there have been a US, if the British did not impose such unjust taxes? It is always a weighing of costs. And always about money (including self-rule). Sometimes, self-rule is more efficient and more just. Sometimes, it is not.

  122. Otto Kerner Says:

    r v,

    I don’t think you can make a clear distinction between “self-rule” and “sovereignty” — the whole point of sovereignty is that it is right to rule oneself (or others). If Taiwan concedes the sovereignty issue, then it has conceded in principle Beijing’s right to rule it. Suppose that the Chinese government decided to dissolve Hong Kong’s autonomous government and reorganise it as a normal province — under conventional realist political theory, that would be a legitimate act by a sovereign power.

    As for the historical question, if British policies had been different, its possible that there would have been no American revolutionary war. But, on the other hand, there was no revolutionary war in Canada, either, and yet they eventually became independent. So, I’m not sure how much difference it would make in the long run.

  123. r v Says:

    Otto,

    Perhaps that might be the paranoia in Taiwan, but there is obviously a distinction between “sovereignty” and “self-rule”. Even in China, there are many degrees of “autonomous rule”, but with a single legal “sovereignty” over all the “autonomous regions”. If you do not agree with China’s definition of “autonomy” or regional “self-rule”, that’s an entirely different issue.

    Whether a sovereign has the right to impose its rule over a region, is a 2nd separate issue. US obviously has its own sovereignty over the 50 states, but the constitution obviously allows for individual states to decide their own form of state government which decides on majority of local laws. Obviously, the point is, national “sovereignty” is distinct from the issue of “self-rule”.

    Whether realistically, US federal government could encroach on states’ governing powers, is of controversy in US law. But obviously, there is no absolute yes or no, in a realistic situation.

    But if you want to take it to that extreme, there is no “absolute self-rule” any where. Realistically, every time UN or WTO passes a sanction on a country, for example on US, there is encroachment on US’s “self-rule”. And if US decides to “regime change” on another country, there is encroachment on “self-rule”. But such is the times, there is no such thing as absolute “self-rule”. “Sovereignty” is typically in name only now.

    As for the difference between US and Canada, obviously, the resulting governments are different. Geopolitical reality would have been different as well. If US didn’t declare independence, perhaps there would be only 1 nation now in place of Canada and US. And perhaps also, if US never declared independence, Canada would have never bothered either. (domino effect of sorts. Afterall, the loss of the 13 colonies may have affected the overall strength of the British empire). Any number of scenarios are possible. Perhaps if US and Canada never declared independence, the British Empire would have held onto the other colonies around the world for much longer, and the British militaristic policies would have turned Britain into fascist state dominating all of Europe (instead of the Common Wealth). One can only imagine the possibilities of the different world history without an independent US, which declared independence and narrowly won a war against its mother country. (For another, France might not have gone into bankruptcy funding US’s war against Britain. French revolution might not have happened.)

  124. Otto Kerner Says:

    r v,

    What exactly does sovereignty mean if not the right to rule? By conceding someone else’s sovereignty over you, you are conceding in principle that that person has a right to rule you. This might not be a problem immediately (and it might be in your long-term best interest), but it will make it make it much more difficult to call foul and have it be taken seriously later when that other person starts bossing you around. For example, the Tibetans had been sending ambiguous messages about their political relationship with China for hundreds of years, and then, in 1951, they were unable to get sufficient interest from the UN General Assembly to warrant any international response to the “Peaceful Liberation”.

    If it’s true that “sovereignty” is typically in name only, then why do you care so much about it? What difference does it make if Taiwan is nominally sovereign or not?

  125. JN Wang Says:

    “China doesn’t need to make you sign an “oath”. ”

    Anyways, after cutting out all the rhetoric, what your are claiming is still that China has ways of making Taiwanese traders commit treason against their own country. And my response is still the same: It is still an act of treason, no matter whether it is a loyalty oath, or performing an act that is detrimental to Taiwan’s national security, or working for the Communist Party, or whatever, the free men of Taiwan has one choice: Treason or exit, and nobody wants to lose their Taiwanese citizenship and be exiled from their homeland and their families.

    Note: We do not allow Chinese nationals to settle in our country for national security reasons, so if somebody commits treason and has his citizenship rights revoked (if he is not outright executed for treason, after a fair trial, of course, something he will not get had he had committed treason as a Chinese national against the Chinese government, where the Communist Party holds supreme sovereignty over all courts and can do whatever they want to the said treasonous individual, including torture and injecting him chemicals that will make him go mad. ), he will be treated like any other Chinese national. And what that means is that they will be exiled from Taiwan, and their families, if they choose to stay behind. Imagine their family members having to choose between Taiwan or exile with the treasonous individual. And not many people are willing to trade their Taiwanese citizenship for Chinese nationality, and its associated lack of any of aforementioned freedoms and rights in my previous posts, and they would be even more reluctant when their families are involved.

    I have lived in China for a year, and the living standard there is so horrible that I will not wish it upon my worst enemies. The pollution itself is enough to take at least 10 years off my life expectancy. So I cannot imagine living here for the rest of my life, in exile and away from my family. There are things more important than money in this world, and treason does not pay, no matter in what country.

    “The mere fact that you want to stay in business in China in spite of claim of “Taiwan is a country” is enough. ”

    Wow, your lack of logic is seriously glaring. Americans also do business in China, so by your logic, America is not a real country? Muahahahahahahahahahaha ;p :)) !!!

    “Threaten Taiwan?! It’s far easier and better for China to buy Taiwan. ”

    I grow tired of your lack of logic and your repeated silly rhetoric. Again, a free trade agreement does not equal “buy”ing Taiwan. Just in case you still do not understand what it is, I will repeat it: A free trade agreement is an agreement to reduce or eliminate tariffs in order to promote a more free flow of goods and services between or among different countries . Both sides profit from it. So this is hardly the concept of welfare you keep spouting in your silly and ill-informed, if not outright ignorant, rhetoric.

    Again, as I said, one penny of money for one penny of goods. I buy parts from Taiwan and have them assembled by cheap Chinese labor. The finished product is then exported to a third destination. Nobody gave me any welfare. The free trade agreement might save me a little on tariff, but it is not exactly world-shattering. Both sides profit in this trade. I get cheap labor, and the Chinese people get jobs. It is a win-win situation (something the so-called “unification, ” or in my own words, forced annexation, is not) . I will certainly not vote for anybody who surrenders our freedom to the Communists, and polls after polls do show that the vast majority of the Taiwanese people agree with me and are not being fooled by the propaganda and rhetoric coming out of Beijing. So this is not just some crazy talk from a Taiwanese businessman currently recuperating from a one-year tour of duty in China.

    And in conclusion, apparently you do place a great premium on personal freedom and a higher standard of living, since you do not live in China. And how do I know? Well, let us just say that my best friend currently looking after the shop in China told me that when he tried to access this blog in China, the government-owned Internet provider disconnected his connection for trying to access banned content (well, for a minute, at least. That is just the government’s way of keeping its people away from censored content: By disconnecting their connections every time they tried to access censored material. I am not sure if the government keeps tabs on these attempts to access banned websites, but either way, my best friend tried to access this blog several times before giving up, and I really hope nobody from the government is giving him trouble for helping me out / doing me a favor, haha ;p :)) !!! ). So if you can access this blog, you do not live in China. And if you yourself value Internet freedom and cannot stand China, then why would you wish it onto the 23 million freedom-loving people of Taiwan? Treat others the way you want to be treated.

  126. r v Says:

    Otto,

    If you believe Tibet has a problem with “self-rule”, that is debatable. You can hardly use that as your reason/example to say that “therefore, sovereignty means self-rule.”

    As I stated before, there is always a price/cost. NOT every region automatically choose “self-rule”, and not every region automatically choose “sovereignty” either. Obviously, there is a balancing of interests.

    As for “if in name only, why do I care so much about ‘sovereignty'”, I don’t. The status quo is China is already recognized as having nominal sovereignty in name over Taiwan in the world. Obviously, some people are too eager to change that. I don’t know why the fuss, but obviously, all the fuss and effort from these people are making me (and a lot of other people) suspicious.

    But hey, if people want to be paranoid about what China might do with Taiwan, why not people want to be paranoid about why some are fussing so much about this.

  127. r v Says:

    JN Wang,

    I’ll tell you straight another way: you are using cheap Chinese labor, China is using your business. It’s fair game. If you don’t want to believe you can be bought, ask yourself why you think you can buy other people as “cheap labor”. It’s that simple.

    There are plenty of “cheap labors” elsewhere in Asia, why did you pick China to set up? (some Asian countries’ labors are cheaper than China already). Perhaps you don’t think you can buy “cheap labor” as easily in other “countries”?! Perhaps those other countries are not good enough to your cultural habits? I frankly don’t care. If you don’t think you are getting a better deal in China, you could “easily” move elsewhere. But obviously, if you didn’t think you would get a better deal in China, you would have never picked China in the first place!

    Believe what you will, frankly, your scenario of China’s intent is purely your own imagination, and your “one year tour of duty in China”. WOW! You get all that enlightenment about China in 1 year?! No, really! That’s some crazy talk!

    And just because I don’t live in China, I “cannot stand China”? Double WOW! That’s equally impressive crazy talk!

    Let’s just say, I go back to China regularly, I have family in China (most of whom have no “cheap labors in China” and have no desire to want to leave China. (and my “tour of duty” in China is much longer than yours).

    “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Sure. You can buy “cheap labors” in China, China can buy businessmen (cheap political labors) in Taiwan. It’s a matter of selling and buying.

  128. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Well, that makes it easy. China can have sovereignty over Taiwan in name, and Taiwan can have self-rule in reality. That’s the current situation. And the majority of Taiwanese seem pretty fine with that. Problem solved.

  129. r v Says:

    I’m happy enough with the current situation. Of course, the Democratically elected Taiwan government wants more trade and less tariffs with China, so I guess they have some choices to make for the future.

    But some people don’t like the idea of Taiwan actually moving closer to mainland China, and perhaps eventually accepting China’s “sovereignty” in reality. I guess I’m not the one with the problem. 🙂

  130. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Indeed, looks like the free trade agreement will go to referendum. We’ll see how that goes. And if Taiwanese people “eventually” choose to accept Chinese sovereignty in more than just name only, that would be fantastic too. I have no problem with people exercising their right to choose. But there seems to be no great push for this now. So hopefully people don’t mind waiting.

  131. r v Says:

    I’m not the one with the problems. I’m not the one worrying about the trade agreement. I’m just stating the reality of business: politics can be bought, any where. I have confidence and patience in China. I don’t lose sleep dreaming up worst case scenarios about Taiwan. (unlike some who do apparently imagine the worst possible about China. But of course, they know time is not on their side. China grows). 🙂

  132. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Fantastic. Have fun waiting. I’m very happy for you.

  133. r v Says:

    Sure, but that’s not all. I get to have fun with the not-so-happy party poopers. 🙂

  134. S. K. Cheung Says:

    You know, that doesn’t surprise me. It’s entirely consistent with the depravity that is often on display around here. Sure, it’s nice that you are happy. But you’re even more happy to see someone else being unhappy. To each their own, I suppose.

    So I’m sorry to put a slight damper on your merriment, but I’m pretty ecstatic myself. Taiwan gets to keep her status quo as long as her people want, while the CCP can enjoy themselves while they keep on waiting. So in fact, everybody’s happy! Cheers.

  135. r v Says:

    Who said I’m happy to see someone else unhappy? I’m just trying to have fun with people who want to spoil fun. Not my problem if they can’t enjoy the “status quo” and wait for the inevitable future. Why so accusatory?! Enjoy.

    🙂

  136. S.K.Cheung Says:

    If the shoe fits…

    Anyhow, let’s summarize. Status quo in Taiwan: awesome. China continuing to wait: priceless. Fun for everyone. It’s a win/win!

  137. r v Says:

    Happy Reality! Taiwan buys cheap Chinese labors. China sells surprise.

    Surprise is always more fun when waited until the last minute. Don’t spoil the fun!

    It’s a “win/win”? That’s the first slogan they teach in sales. And it is a Win for China, and another win for China. 🙂

  138. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Oooh, a surprise. I love surprises! Let me know when you’re done waiting for the surprise, then we’ll celebrate that together. In the meantime, status quo is holding an awesome party with balloons and stuff, and most people there seem to be having a good time. People at that party might even come join yours at some point, but I dunno, it’s up to them.

  139. r v Says:

    It’s a surprise, you won’t know when it happens. No spoiling the fun. I have seen the “parties” in Taiwan. I guess some would call throwing shoes, cellphones, shooting pepper spray and stun gun (Li Ao did it), “AWESOME”!

    That in mind, China has some giant size firework rockets ready to throw in to light up the sky. 1.2 billion mainlanders ready to party. PRICELESS!

    🙂

  140. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Fantastic. China can shoot fireworks over their own head. Taiwan can get groovy with status quo. Two happy families having a good time, separated by a body of water…just as it should be. So encouraging that you don’t mind waiting…seems you have something in common with a good number of Taiwanese people.

  141. r v Says:

    Na, Taiwan loves parties where things are thrown. China has more to throw in. That will be the surprise! when, where, and what will be thrown. Of course, we have loads in common. So, party poopers, get ready for your surprise!

  142. Wukailong Says:

    This back-and-forth reminds me of that quote I saw somewhere:

    “It’s purposeful! It’s varied! It’s purposeful! It’s varied! Stop—you’re both right!”

  143. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Well, China seems good at waiting. She’s already waited for 61 years. And RV, you’ve already said you don’t mind waiting. So another 61 should be no sweat at all. And who knows. By then, China might want to bring Taiwan’s party over to her place…cuz you know, it’s bad manners to crash a party. Now wouldn’t that just be like the best surprise ever!?! Way better than Chinese people throwing stuff…that’s not a surprise anyway cuz we’ve heard it all before…from you, no less.

  144. r v Says:

    Bad manners, SKC? Taiwanese Democracy love people who just show up and start throwing stuff. That’s their custom.

    It’s not a surprise? I certainly don’t remember telling anyone when or how. Frankly, I don’t know the details of the surprise myself.

    Bring Taiwan’s party to China? Wasn’t that the “master plan” for the last 61 years? That’s no surprise. That’s all Cold War BS in the past. What’s fun about a Chinese parliament with same stuff thrown as in the Taiwanese parliament? Boring… Snooze….

    China is already throwing all kinds of new stuff into the Taiwanese party (and causing some local surprises). Intrigues, treasons, anti-sedition laws, road sign changes, rewritten textbooks, etc. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Much better than any stupid boring campaigning, and the usual Taiwanese protesters with bamboo sticks.

    Seriously, Democracy can be so boring. US campaign coverages yap on for months, and nobody actually say anything substantive. Taiwan is similar. At least the CCP doesn’t try to bore everybody to death with long winded speeches and silly parliamentarian procedures. (Shoe throwing, that’s creative, but can be boring after about 20 times).

    🙂

  145. JN Wang Says:

    “And just because I don’t live in China, I “cannot stand China”? Double WOW! That’s equally impressive crazy talk! ”

    So why did you leave?

    “Let’s just say, I go back to China regularly, I have family in China (most of whom have no “cheap labors in China” and have no desire to want to leave China. (and my “tour of duty” in China is much longer than yours). ”

    I do not understand your third sentence. So did you mean to write that none of your family members are cheap laborers? If so, then Hip-Hip Huzzah! to you and your entire extended clan.

    And I am glad that they love their country so much, but on the safe(r) side (it is better safe(r) than sorry, right? ) just make sure that they wear those surgical masks when they leave their homes. Then again, they might as well wear it at home, since a home does not protect anybody from both air and water pollution. Oh, yeah, and do watch out for those fake mineral waters that are just tap waters (which can really kill you) with false labels. And watch out for those fake eggs and fake potato chips and fake food in general. Not to mention all those rotten and / or unsanitary food (soggy Carrots anyone? And let me just say I have never has such bad diarrhea in my entire life!!! ) they serve in restaurants and sell in the markets. Not to mention human piss and shit all over the market and main street. I have always thought that those open-bottom pants were an urban legend, until I went to China, and watched women holding little kids in the air and grown men publicly and shamelessly urinating and defecating on the streets. And finally, do please tell them to watch out for those crazy drivers who seem to enjoy driving onto the curb and running off the pedestrians, running red lights, and squeezing 8 cars in a 4-car lane. And when in doubt, use a lot of horn. It shows you have class and the fact that you are the frigging Man on the road and that people better get out of your way if they value their lives.

    I have always been an advocate of democracy, until I had witnessed the real China. Now I can understand why the Communist Party keeps harping about stability: You need a dictatorship to control such unruly, ignorant, and fraudulent (poisoned milk powder, anyone? ) masses.

    ““Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Sure. You can buy “cheap labors” in China, China can buy businessmen (cheap political labors) in Taiwan. It’s a matter of selling and buying. ”

    I am not disagreeing with your “buying and selling ” statement. And I have responded to this numerous times, namely that the selling of loyalty is so costly to Taiwanese businessmen, that hardly any of them will do it (exile, away from family, and living in China, of all places!!! Maybe they can now apply for an American Green Card as a Chinese National, now that their Taiwan hood pass has been revoked, and Good Luck on that /Rolleyes ) .

  146. r v Says:

    “So why did you leave?”

    Better question, why do I keep going back? Why did you go to mainland? Did you love Communism that much?

    “I do not understand your third sentence. So did you mean to write that none of your family members are cheap laborers? If so, then Hip-Hip Huzzah! to you and your entire extended clan.”

    Nope, we don’t exploit cheap laborers any where, unlike you.

    And thanks for your paranoid concerns, and NO thanks. I lived fine for years in the heavy pollution. 1.2 billion mainlanders are tougher than you, apparently. Many Western expats are tougher than you, apparently.

    Why don’t you go tell your “concerns” to the mainlanders and see what they think of you?! Why ask me to tell them? I don’t have your hypochondria.

    “You need a dictatorship to control such unruly, ignorant, and fraudulent (poisoned milk powder, anyone? ) masses.” Thanks for your “understanding” of the Chinese people. That explains your fear of China in general.

    “selling of loyalty is so costly to Taiwanese businessmen.”

    I don’t think you know the cost yet.

  147. JN Wang Says:

    ““So why did you leave?”

    Better question, why do I keep going back? Why did you go to mainland? Did you love Communism that much? ”

    Again, so why did you leave China, since it is such a paradise that you want all Taiwanese to submit to?

    And I have already answered your silly Rhetorical Questions like a million times in my previous posts that I seek Cheap Labor for my business, but you have yet to answer my simple little Non-Rhetorical Question directly.

    So in conclusion, why did you leave China? Answer this one straight and without BS, Ad Hominems, Rhetorical Questions on a Soapbox, and an assortment of other Red Herrings.

    And knowing you, you will probably avoid it. So let me take a stab at it: Is it because you seek political freedom and a better standard of living? It would be truly ironic, though, if you do live in America, the Land of the Free, whilst demanding a free people to submit to the whims of an unelected dictatorship with no guarantees of Human Rights.

  148. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To RV:
    if no one knows the details about the surprise, then there’s really no point even referring to it. If the time ever does actually come, it won’t be much of a surprise at that point anyhow. In the meantime, it seems apparent that most Taiwanese aren’t persuaded, compelled, or daunted, by this potential future surprise. So now we wait…

    Well, we know the CCP doesn’t enjoy the party across the strait. As for Chinese people themselves, we don’t really know, do we? And time will tell. Obviously the CCP doesn’t like democratic “procedures”. That also should surprise no one. In fact, if there’s one thing for which you can count on the CCP, it would be that.

    To JN Wang:
    yes, it seems many people like to visit China. But few people stay…even the ones who seem to show the deepest appreciation for the current CHinese system. I’ve often wondered about that myself. Besides, I don’t think too many people would characterize said system as “communism” these days. That is most certainly terminology from a bygone era.

  149. JN Wang Says:

    “Besides, I don’t think too many people would characterize said system as “communism” these days. That is most certainly terminology from a bygone era. ”

    Hmm, I am not sure where this is coming from, since I have never characterized the Chinese economy as a Communist economy in my writings, for the simple fact that it is not so. But I did complain numerous times about the Communist Party as an unelected dictatorship with no respect for Human Rights :p .

    Nevertheless, I do agree with you that characterizing the system as “communism ” is certainly a terminology from a bygone era. That is too simplistic an explanation. I think the economic system of China can be characterized as a State Capitalist system with the export bosses colluding with the government to maximize exports, and the political system as a Nepotistic Authoritarian Dictatorship. A clear example of this happened this one time I had dinner with an export boss and a Communist Party official in charge of commerce in this city of 7 million people. This “Communist Party Official” was nothing more than a 20-year old Emo Kid who had inherited his position from his father, and this was like the dumbest kid I have ever seen. He got drunk, and then he proceeded to slam his fist on the glass cover of the table and bled all over the table / place. I was like, you cannot be serious, this stupid kid is in charge of all commerce (at least the import and export-related ones) in this entire port city? Thus every time somebody mentions about China being a future / potential Superpower, I think back to that day about that Emo Kid and all the Nepotism that goes on within the Party, and then I laugh off at the suggestion. As long as idiots like these are in charge of China, China will never become a Superpower.

    And the only reason this export boss and the Emo Kid had this dinner in the first place was so that they could finalize their business transaction wherein the export boss would give him a 1 million RMB bribe, and the Emo Kid would smuggle some shipments for him. A pure and (im)perfect Government-Business Collusion / Nexus if I have ever seen one.

    And no, I was not part of this whole sordid affair. That is not who I am, and doing business with corrupt incompetent Communist Party officials is a one-way ticket to a Chinese Gulag, just ask those 4 Rio Tinto Executives.

  150. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Wang, have to agree with you. China is not communism. First, it is called communism with Chinese characteristics, then socialism, then socialism with Chinese characteristics… I term it as capitalism with Chinese characteristics, haha.

    Deng, his second generation appointees, and the third generation (directly and/or indirectly appointed by Deng) are all pro business. All leaders went thru the Big Leap Forward (Backward to be accurate) and Cultural Revolution (Anti Cultural). They know what are good for China from their personal experiences and how history will treat them (from Mao’s experience).

    That’s why we have 30 years of impressive growth (also thanks to US playing China card against Russia and the EU puppets to let the products in). The days Hong Kong sowing the buttons of a shirt 99.99% made in China and claimed to be Made in HK are gone. A top Chinese top leader can have 2 terms with 5 years each, so I guess unoffically it is the 3rd generation, but 4th generation is appropriate too. Who is the top leader? It is obvious the vice chairman is not. The posts for top job is confusing to the outsiders, but not so for CCP.

  151. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To JN Wang:
    my mistake for not being clear. I was agreeing with what you had said in #147. The “communism” bit was in reference to RV asking you in #146: “Did you love Communism that much?” Based on your answer in #149, I think we agree on that as well.

  152. JN Wang Says:

    Oh, no sweat, SK Cheung. I was just a little bit confused because your response was addressed to me, that is all, heh hehe 😉 🙂 !!!

    To Tony,

    Oh, thank you for clearing it (the Chinese Political System) up, buddy, heh hehe 😉 🙂 !!!

  153. JN Wang Says:

    Hmm, I found myself seriously / strangely compelled to respond to and correct your lack of reading comprehension and logic, r v .

    ““I do not understand your third sentence. So did you mean to write that none of your family members are cheap laborers? If so, then Hip-Hip Huzzah! to you and your entire extended clan.”

    Nope, we don’t exploit cheap laborers any where, unlike you. ”

    Um, either you do not understand English, or you are purposefully putting words in my mouth / misunderstanding my words, but either way. I was inquiring as to whether you were stating that you have nobody working as cheap laborers in your family, not whether your family hires any cheap laborers.

    “And thanks for your paranoid concerns, and NO thanks. I lived fine for years in the heavy pollution. 1.2 billion mainlanders are tougher than you, apparently. Many Western expats are tougher than you, apparently. ”

    And how many of these Western Expats applied for permanent residence in China? Again, you are confusing people doing business tours of duty in China with genuine immigrants, such as yourself.

    “Why don’t you go tell your “concerns” to the mainlanders and see what they think of you?! Why ask me to tell them? I don’t have your hypochondria. ”

    It is that they do not know any better. Do you not know the saying “Ignorance is Bliss”? When the entire media is controlled by the government and half the world’s Internet Content is censored, there are a lot of things the people will believe. You cannot believe the inordinate amount of people I have talked to who thinks America is poor, broke, crime-ridden, and have no jobs, etc, in other words, America is a real ghetto and China is heaven on Earth, when in fact, even under the most dire economic circumstances, the average American still makes more than 15 times what the average Chinese makes, without all the really really serious air and water pollution, generally uncouth behaviors, such as people littering, pissing, and shitting on the streets, extraordinarily bad drivers, fake and / or (very) low quality foods / products, and the fraudulence, mendacity, and the general lack of both moral and social conscience being exhibited by the people, and all the other bad things I have witnessed but do not have time to go / get into.

    ““You need a dictatorship to control such unruly, ignorant, and fraudulent (poisoned milk powder, anyone? ) masses.” Thanks for your “understanding” of the Chinese people. That explains your fear of China in general. ”

    Um, no, there is no fear. It is more of a very deep appreciation as to how much Taiwan has grown and progressed under Western auspices, and how China has remained the same sorry shithole that my ancestors escaped from.

    ““selling of loyalty is so costly to Taiwanese businessmen.”

    I don’t think you know the cost yet. ”

    Uh / Um, did you just skip the parts or did you not understand what I just wrote and reiterated many times, you know, about the whole cost of treason and the “Exile or Execution” thing? I mean, do I seriously have to repeat myself, again, for you?

    Moreover, I am pretty sure I know more about the cost of doing business in China than you and your imaginary “surprises”

  154. JN Wang Says:

    And I really meant to write, “Moreover, I am pretty sure I know more about the cost of doing business in China than you and your imaginary “surprises” .* ”

    * denotes the correction.

  155. Otto Kerner Says:

    r v,

    I didn’t really understand your response in #126. I had asked “If it’s true that ‘sovereignty’ is typically in name only, then why do you care so much about it?” and you replied,

    “I don’t. The status quo is China is already recognized as having nominal sovereignty in name over Taiwan in the world. Obviously, some people are too eager to change that. I don’t know why the fuss, but obviously, all the fuss and effort from these people are making me (and a lot of other people) suspicious.”

    So, that means that, in principle, you don’t care whether or not China has sovereignty over Taiwan. Really? You’d find a lot of people around here who would disagree vigorously. But you apparently also suspect pro-Taiwan-independence people of having an ulterior motive. Which would be what? If sovereignty is not something important, than how would someone use it to pursue their other aims?

    To me, the status quo is pretty good and I don’t support changing it if it means risking violence. The only real problem with it is that Taiwan is not allowed to declare publicly that China does not have a right to rule it. Now, the Chinese government likes to declaim that its rise is peaceful and it would never attack its neighbors. “Neighbors” is defined to exclude Tibet and Taiwan, naturally — and under the norms established by international organisations, that is correct. However, if Taiwan were able to declare its sovereign independence and have it recognised by bodies like the UN, China would never be able to invade Taiwan in the future without abandoning its claim to a “peaceful rise”. I mean, they could still claim it, but no one could take it seriously. That’s a serious diplomatic advantage for Taiwan to have, but it is nevertheless too hypothetical to make pursuing independence worthwhile just yet.

  156. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LF10Ad02.html

    Looks like Taiwan didn’t just overspent on arms from the US but they get crappy arms from France as well.

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