Taiwan’s plight

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Vibrant democracy faces growing threat from China

My downtown hideaway virtually overlooks the Communist Chinese consulate and when walking past at street level, I always give a thumbs up to the heroic Falun Gong men and women outside quietly protesting Beijing’s brutalization of men and women of their faith.
Sometimes from up high, I ponder setting up a sophisticated eavesdropping device to listen in on consulate goings-on.

After all, it’s pretty much acknowledged Communist China has a widespread espionage system underway in our country, so what’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, though I’m not sure how that translates in Cantonese.

With roughly 10% of Calgary’s population being of Chinese background—and a truly marvelous people they are—I always keep up with what’s going on in this community and with international developments concerning China.

This past week I’ve been reading Jonathan Manthorpe’s fascinating and intriguing new book Forbidden Nation (Palgrave/MacMillan, $33.95) which probes extensively the history of Taiwan (The Republic of China)and the threat to it by Communist China.

Beijing, which has 1.3 million men and women in its armed forces and 700 missiles aimed at Taiwan, claims the island nation belongs to it.

That claim is utterly fraudulent.

Most observers date Taiwan’s existence as an independent state back only to 1949 when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek led his nationalist forces across the strait from the mainland as Mao Tse-tung’s murderous hordes swept to power.

Chiang traced his legitimacy as the true leader of all China back to Sun Yat-sen who, in 1912, overthrew the Manchu dynasty and united China against scattered warlords.

No Communist government has ever been elected on Mainland China, and the Communist hierarchy isn’t about to give the country’s one billion people any opportunity to say in a free vote just whom they actually want to govern them.

Now a flourishing, pro-western democracy of 23 million people, with an economy and fiscal reserves leaving Canada standing still, President Chen Shui-bien is determined to resist Beijing’s demands for capitulation.

Yet, as Manthorpe explains, Taiwan’s legitimacy as an independent nation doesn’t actually stem only from 1949, for in reality it has been a separate entity for some 400 years.

Since way back in the early 1600s, the efforts of Taiwanese settlers, from China and elsewhere in southeast Asia, to create their own nation on the island have been suppressed and smothered by a succession of colonial administrations.

Its early immigrants intermarried with the Hakka and Hoklo aboriginal tribes and today some 70% of modern Taiwanese have aboriginal blood in them.

So there is a very distinct society here. Much like that of tiny Tibet—now enslaved by Communist China.

Manthorpe—a friend of mine from Ottawa days in the 1970s—believes this will be the make-or-break decade for Taiwan.

It will either win recognition of its independent state or fall into the claws of Beijing.

The tarnished and self-serving United Nations, which fawns up to every dictatorship it can, ignores Taiwan’s plight.

So do many nations—including Jean Chretien’s and Paul Martin’s Canada. We will have to see whether Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have more conscience—and courage.

The author points out since the 1970s Beijing has used the lure of its potential vast market to blackmail most western governments and have consigned Taiwan and its people to “opaque” international status.

That lure—and blackmail—has become ever more enticing and forceful as China’s economy as boomed.

He notes, “The hypocrisy of this deal is especially stark in the capitals of Europe and North America, where it would normally be an easy choice between a repressive one-party state in Beijing and Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”

One obstacle so far stopping Beijing from launching an all-out assault on Taiwan and slaughtering its people into submission is that successive U.S. governments have sworn to defend it.

Yet, bogged down in Iraq and the war on terror internationally, Washington may now be constrained from fulfilling its defence obligations.

Certainly, if the West sells out to Beijing, our politicians should hang their heads in shame.


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