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Taiwan's Independence
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Taiwan's Independence:

 1 Vellup, Wed, 10th Aug '11 10:30:17 PM from America Relationship Status: The Skitty to my Wailord
I have balls.
Yes, a somewhat controversial topic, I know.

Anyway, I happen to be partly Taiwanese, if only by birth. Having grown up as an American however, I've rarely taken the time to look carefully at that place, so what I know about Taiwan is basically through personal research and the testimony of my relatives. I'm hoping though, that a couple tropers here might know a bit more about this subject matter than me.

A bit of history concerning what I do know about Taiwan. For any history buffs who spot consistencies, feel free to correct them:

  • Legally, Taiwan is self-referred to as the Republic of China (or ROC), which is distinct from the mainland, which calls itself the People's Republic of China (or PRC). Taiwan's current government is directly descendant of the losing side of the Chinese Civil War against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yeah, the Chinese have a thing for acronyms, it would seem.
    • China doesn't acknowledge Taiwan or the ROC as a sovereign country, which means that technically, the Chinese Civil War is still ongoing. Furthermore, the PRC's policy is to similarly disregard any country that does acknowledge the ROC.
    • The ROC does make its own passport, and there are actually a couple of less conspicuous countries that legally acknowledge it. The most notable of these is probably Vatican City.
    • The big reason why China doesn't just grab tiny Taiwan by force is because the United States basically supports the island's sovereignty in all but name. We sell a substantial amount of weapons to them, and as is very easy to notice, there are a bunch of products in Western countries that clearly read 'Made in Taiwan.' Building on this, Taiwan is currently an extremely substantial economic presence in the East and is as a unit, entirely self-sustaining.
  • There are two dominant political parties under the ROC, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Note that both parties actually acknowledge that Taiwan is separate from mainland China. The difference is that the KMT believes in eventually assimilating back into the mainland, while the DPP wishes to remain independent forevermore.
    • Ironically, despite advocating a 'One-China' mentality, the KMT (having originated from the Chinese Civil War), has historically maintained the exact opposite of the Chinese belief that Taiwan is under rebellion. In their eyes, China is actually the illegitimate party (though this sentiment isn't as strong these days). According to accounts from my relatives, the KMT is largely supported by Chinese mainlanders living on the island.
    • Also historically, the KMT existed far before the DPP, back to when the ROC was essentially a one-party state under Chiang Kai-shek's dictatorship. The DPP's formation on the other hand, dates as recently as 1986.
    • The question of independence seems to be far more relevant in Taiwanese politics than economic issues. I looked at their platforms and their labor policies for instance, are basically the same.

With that background in mind, I have a couple unknowns:

  • Who would benefit more from reunification, China or Taiwan?
    • What reasons does Taiwan have to either remain independent or to submit to the mainland?
    • Or are these reasons mostly detached from the economy?
  • What reasons does the U.S. (among other countries) have to support Taiwan's existence?
  • And finally, do you support Taiwan's independence?

Personally, I'm prejudiced to think Taiwan should avoid becoming one with China simply because my family has more or less raised me to support my heritage. I'm curious though, about the opinion elsewhere.

edited 10th Aug '11 10:39:22 PM by Vellup

They never travel alone.
> Who would benefit more from reunification, China or Taiwan?

Probably China, the political Prestige of Unification is great.

> What reasons does Taiwan have to either remain independent ?

  • Feeling as separate people from Mainlander, Culture already significantly diverge during separation and japanese occupation, some minority also Native Taiwanese,
  • Democracy,
  • Political Freedom,
  • the perk of being independent state ( separate embassy, currency, etc)

> What reasons does Taiwan have to submit to the mainland?

  • Feeling as one nation, Some percentage of Taiwanese are refugee from mainland and never feel to be separate people.
  • Han nationalism.
  • Probably better access to investment and travel.
  • It is better than be unrecognized nation.
  • It is a lot better than war.

> What reasons does the U.S. (among other countries) have to support Taiwan's existence?

  • Traditional ally
  • Naval bases
  • Protecting democratic country

> And finally, do you support Taiwan's independence?

No, it will result in war. Status Quo (independent in all but name) is better. Wait another twenty years until China collapse or weakened.

edited 10th Aug '11 11:10:11 PM by PhilippeO

 3 secretist, Thu, 11th Aug '11 7:52:33 AM from Ame no Kisaki
Reno
>Who would benefit more from reunification, China or Taiwan?

Definitely China. Apart from the whole unification prestige thing, Taiwan Strait also happens to be one of the naval lifeline of Japan, the hub of US's west Pacific influence. Therefore, reunification would mean China can wreck the US influence in the region, or at least have a much better chance to do so.

>What reasons does Taiwan have to either remain independent or to submit to the mainland?

Status Quo Is God. Also, being independent means that they need not to be bossed around by Beijing, although the current situation is not very good either.

I doubt there are many benefit for Taiwan to submit to the mainland, except some trivial reasons. IMHO, the current situation is the best situation.

>What reasons does the U.S. (among other countries) have to support Taiwan's existence?

See above. US does not have naval bases in Taiwan though.

>And finally, do you support Taiwan's independence?

Again, Status Quo Is God, as a declaration of independence would be war. While I doubt Taiwan would lose in short term, it would still end prosperity in East Asia, which sucks for the whole world.

edited 11th Aug '11 8:53:46 AM by renovalino

Well I don't have a personal stake with either the KMT or China's CCP. However...

  • Who would benefit more from reunification, China or Taiwan?

Both would and really, it's hard to say who can benefit more. Taiwan is a smaller entity so they stand to gain a lot more if China's government is willing to hand out a lot of perks. This includes political protection, industry base, free-trade access market, tourism and all sorts of economic benefits. China on the other hand decreases the number of possible enemies and military thorns in its side. It eliminates a US base that sits beside them. Even though South Korea and Japan are also US Bases, Taiwan is the only one that could lead to realistic conflict.

  • What reasons does Taiwan have to either remain independent or to submit to the mainland? Or are these reasons mostly detached from the economy?

Remaining independent guarantees a separate political entity and the choice of independent action. However, in reality, Taiwan has little freedom of movement. If they don't do what the US tells them, they're going to go down in flames. So really, it's trading one master for another. Seeing as how China's mostly likely unification offer is going to be an SAR (Special Administrative Region), which in fact, they've already offered, Taiwan is going to keep its autonomy anyways.

So really, you're just going to have to look at it economically in my opinion rather than politically. Keeping separate is just pointless antagonism to me. Yes, the civil war was bad but the same leaders aren't around anymore. The current Prime Minister of China is a former protest leader at Tienanmen Square. The KMT have softened considerably since they invaded Taiwan.

It's like the EU. They can keep separate to keep alive their nationalism but in international politics, the EU has a lot of clout, individual European nations have substantially less. So if Taiwan wants to be relevant, their best bet is to join China and because of a well-established class of savvy politicians, shift Chinese politics to be more liberal.

  • What reasons does the U.S. (among other countries) have to support Taiwan's existence?

If you want to counter China's power, splitting up the country is perfect. I'd do it. I mean just imagine, every time China were to try to step out of its bubble, it enters into yet another catastrophic war, or internal dispute.

  • And finally, do you support Taiwan's independence?

Yes and no. I don't like this powder keg situation of a Taiwan armed to the teeth by the US, while they're spewing over 20% of their GDP on weapons. I think it can be resolved peacefully but the only way that'll happen is some form of unification. So all I would be looking for is unification that benefits both the Taiwanese people and the Chinese people. That'll likely mean an SAR.

The problem is that once a nation becomes separate from a larger whole, it develops enough independence to prevent itself from being reabsorbed. I think those Chinese nationalist banter about reunification is a bunch of bull. Even if China does reunite Tibet with itself, the people will have developed a different enough system of culture, laws, and morals to reject China's. Same goes for the two Koreas (the two are practically separate worlds at this point).
 
Sorry I was supposed to talk about Taiwan. But I thought Tibet would be an easier thing to talk about when it comes to stuff like this.

 
Well if you look at the long-run history of China, the island that is Taiwan always took a long time to reabsorb into each successive dynasty. It took Qing Dynasty around a hundred years or something.

 9 secretist, Thu, 11th Aug '11 9:19:44 AM from Ame no Kisaki
There are also, territorial disputes like the Spratly Islands dispute.

Also, Chinese reunification is another option, but it has two possibilities: PRC absorbs ROC, or ROC absorbs PRC. Pan-Blue Coalition is a good example of Chinese nationalism. Kuomitang People First Party New Party Union of Chinese Nationalists The UCN is a radical example who want all the land claimed by the ROC, PRC, Hong Kong, Macau, and Mongolia to fuse into one giant ROC.

edited 11th Aug '11 9:26:04 AM by secretist

Proud Canadian
Two things:

1. Taiwan itself seems to be doing fine, so unifaction I would not like. The PRC should be shrunk, not expanded.

2. Taiwan isn't really Chinese like Han C Hina is. For all logic it should be indpendent, especially considering the Austronesian tounge.
If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
Always Right
I don't have any personal stakes regardless of who wins, but in my opinion...Taiwan should just acknowledge itself as a part of China already, or just have China pull off a quick and massive invasion to assimilate the country and be over with it. Taiwan as a country only came to be thanks to the idiocy of the Cold War where one side treated democracy as a hellspawn system, and the other side treated communism as the spawn of Mordor.

Taiwan came to be mostly due to the meddling of foreigners.

Who would benefit more from reunification, China or Taiwan?
Hard to tell...there are benefits and anti-benefits(there has to be a better word for it) to their reunification...in the end. The "anti-benefits" only comes from a few people throwing hissy fits over returning to the country they originally belong to. In the end...economically, I see more benefit for both to be re-united. There's an advantage in not being a small independant country next to one that doesn't acknowledge your sovereignty while segments of your own population wishes for reunification...

What reasons does Taiwan have to either remain independent or to submit to the mainland?
For remaining independant, there's the prestige of being an independant nation and the perks that comes with it(currency, being able to call yourself a country, etc.) I guess you'll also be friendlier with anti-communist/anti-chinese factions...even if Taiwan is chinese anyways.

For submitting to the mainland, there's the perks of being a part of a such a huge and powerful empire. No more unnecessary tension between the two countries* . Removal or shrinkage of US military presence. Economic benefits of being a part of a huge growing nation. And then there's restoring the country to how it was years ago.

What reasons does the U.S. (among other countries) have to support Taiwan's existence?
Many people still have their head stuck in the Cold War mindset. So any victory for China, good or not, is a lost for freedom/democracy/free world/Roosevelt!

Also, they might have to remove some of their bases there if they have any.

And finally, do you support Taiwan's independence?

...nope. It's a country that existed only due to foreign meddling. It's not as bad as Israel obviously. But it's existence is still ugly.

edited 11th Aug '11 1:30:57 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Proud Canadian
It's existance is jutisfied. Less communism the better.
If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
 13 Game Chainsaw, Thu, 11th Aug '11 2:25:16 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
If it wants to be independent, it should be. Its been extremely successful as an independent country, and they're democratic. Nobody has the right to take that away from them, and like all countries, they should be defended if others seek to take that freedom away by force.

As to whether that independence is a wise decision... well, China is coming up fast, but Taiwan seems to be doing better still, and hey, at least they can choose their leaders.

China has nothing Taiwan needs, and plenty it can do to hurt them. On the other hand, Hong Kong doesn't exactly seem to have collapsed. China has more or less taken a live and let live approach there, maybe they can do the same with Taiwan.

A devolved system of government would probably be best, where Taiwan is part of China but retains most of its autonomy.

EDIT: Remember, its not about ideological conflict, but what is best for the people of Taiwan. And only the Taiwanese have a right to decide that.

edited 11th Aug '11 2:25:52 PM by GameChainsaw

Well the goal between CCP with regards to Hong Kong and Macao is a decades long plan of making both systems totally compatible with each other. Since that plan lasts longer than a person's life time, it'll get derailed into something else eventually.

The main reason I want unification to happen, Taiwan spends a crap ton of its GDP into the military each year. That will end under unification and the people will benefit greatly from the increased economic output. So long as China keeps Taiwan as an SAR, it doesn't make any difference to Taiwan and they get to use Chinese clout in international politics. If you look at, for instance, the Manila hostage crisis, Hong Kong only got major traction with the Philippine government because China got angry on Hong Kong's behalf.

 15 USAF713, Thu, 11th Aug '11 3:16:51 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
The day Taiwan votes to join China is the day I demand unilateral withdrawal from the island. Until then, China can stuff it.

Also, Erock is right: the less communism, the better.
I am now known as Flyboy.
Well if they were actually communist maybe, but as I said, it all depends on the SAR arrangement. Macao and Hong Kong are as capitalist as ever and if anything, China has only become more open, democratic and capitalist in the past 10 years. I just wish they'd have an effective anti-corruption system put into place for once.

 17 USAF713, Thu, 11th Aug '11 3:19:56 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
[up] Fat chance, and if everybody turned their backs for a second China would make Hong Kong conform to the rest of the system. It's only international pressure that keeps elections going in the city, and the average election in the place is horribly rigged and disturbingly corrupt...
I am now known as Flyboy.
Always Right
It's existance is jutisfied. Less communism the better.

I'd question if China was truly a communistic country, but that's irrelevant. The Cold War is long over.

More or less communism in the world doesn't mean squat when the alternative isn't that much better. People only view communism negatively because of outdated patriotism.

In truth, many people don't care whether their country is communist or democratic. Although that has more to do with most people not giving a crap about politics to begin with, and less to do with those ideologies.

Ignoring that political ideology, Taiwan's existence as an independent state is needless and came about as a result of foreign politics from long ago. Just bring things back to the way they were and stop wasting both country's time and money on military and political squabble.

edited 11th Aug '11 3:27:47 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Fat chance, and if everybody turned their backs for a second China would make Hong Kong conform to the rest of the system. It's only international pressure that keeps elections going in the city, and the average election in the place is horribly rigged and disturbingly corrupt...

I would tend to disagree and here is why. The reason China keeps Macao and Hong Kong the way they are is because they are profitable. They have surplus economies and complex systems in place to create that wealth. China doesn't want to rock the boat because they don't want to damage the economies in place. International pressure or not (because, let's be frank, there was none) they wouldn't want to change the system without being sure it wouldn't hurt their wallet.

Also the average election in Hong Kong is super rigged because of laissez faire capitalism. All the politicians are owned by one guy, Li Ga Sing, so it's not like capitalism makes democracy happen. In the end, money made life nicer there than in China, not democracy.

 20 nightwyrm zero, Thu, 11th Aug '11 3:35:16 PM Relationship Status:
As of right now, communism is only the name of the ruling party. China`s economy is pretty much lassiez-faire capitalism right now. Sure, you`d have to pay some kickback to the local government to look the other way when exploiting the workers, but that`s just the way things work when money is the real power. Corruption is the real and main problem with China right now.

edited 11th Aug '11 3:36:23 PM by nightwyrm_zero

 21 Aceof Spades, Thu, 11th Aug '11 3:39:02 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
USAF; the day Taiwan chooses to become part of China is the day we'd have to get out, because the Chinese government would require it. It has nothing to do with your kneejerk reaction to anything.

Anyway, how Taiwan became how it is now doesn't really matter. If the people of Taiwan want to remain independent, I think they should. If ever enough people change their minds and want to officially be part of China again, then I think they should. We're talking about sovereignity here; the people themselves should get decide regardless of what kind of government they end up having.

And yeah, Hong Kong is not a super happy "everyone's rich" utopia. It's full of plenty of crime and corrupt businessmen. But by and large, how it's being handled by the Chinese government is probably wise; it keeps their current system in place for a few decades. By the end of it, they might just decide to keep it capitalist instead of insisting they shift to communism.
Always Right
the day Taiwan chooses to become part of China is the day we'd have to get out, because the Chinese government would require it. It has nothing to do with your kneejerk reaction to anything.

That...sounds like a good thing. Not sure if you're trying to make it sound good or bad, but sounds like a good thing to me. Foreigners have no place in a country except as tourists* or maybe temporary transfer students.

edited 11th Aug '11 3:44:51 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
 23 USAF713, Thu, 11th Aug '11 3:44:03 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
USAF; the day Taiwan chooses to become part of China is the day we'd have to get out, because the Chinese government would require it. It has nothing to do with your kneejerk reaction to anything.

Christ, I have to justify everything to you. For your information, it was meant in relation to the people who would demand we stay just to spite the Chinese... and who would start a war over it, if they could. I know people like that, and I want nothing to do with it.

We're talking about sovereignity here; the people themselves should get decide regardless of what kind of government they end up having.

I already said popular sovereignty is the way to go, although I would question the methodology if it asked for anything less than 75%...

edited 11th Aug '11 3:48:16 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
 24 Nohbody, Thu, 11th Aug '11 5:33:27 PM from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
I have somewhat of a problem with the comparison of Taiwan rejoining the PRC to Hong Kong's rejoining them in 1998 (UK control expired New Year's Eve 1997, IIRC).

The residents of Hong Kong always knew that eventually they'd be joining, and there was nothing they could do to change it.

Taiwan? Not so much, on either count. The People's Liberation Army could, if the US wasn't a concern (for the sake of argument), pound the shit out of the island until the rubble bounces. No need for invasion, minimal hardship for the PLA and its branches (PLA is a unified service, not unlike Canada's military).

However, that would negate the very thing that makes Taiwan valuable to the PRC on an economic level: its advanced industries. Taking them intact (or at least mostly so, if taken via a hypothetical invasion* ) would not only give more production capability, but allow the PRC to reverse-engineer any high tech stuff it doesn't currently have (or can't produce well).

As to the original questions, I think the PRC would benefit much more from Taiwan joining them, whether the joining is from the Taiwanese deciding to do so voluntarily, or a purely hypothetical (at this point) successful invasion that doesn't flatten the island down to bedrock. See above about advanced industries as to why. I'm also skeptical about any widespread support for reunification on Taiwan, though admittedly I don't follow inter-China politics all that closely.

edited 11th Aug '11 5:34:41 PM by Nohbody

 25 secretist, Fri, 12th Aug '11 8:08:31 AM from Ame no Kisaki
The Union of Chinese Nationalists mentioned earlier want China (PRC) and Mongolia to unilaterally join China (ROC, aka Taiwan).
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