Not your everyday China-Taiwan-Armageddon thread

TokyoPlayer, I live here. I’ve lived here for about a year, and I’ll be hear for about two more.

Koxinga, I should note that the feller I was talking to has lived multiple times in Taiwan for several years at a time. He speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese fluently. He would not stop stressing how much he loves this place, as do I, how much he believes that Taiwan deserves to be an independent country, and how much he dislikes the mainland. But that doesn’t change the fact that he feels like enough Taiwanese wouldn’t be willing to fight for this place.

Also, my girlfriend’s family, with home I live, are very green. They are not your standard Taipei blues. If I’m not mistaken they are descendants of benshengren who came here long before the KMT fled to Taiwan. They are still of Chinese origin, from what I understand, but perhaps from Qing Dynasty Chinese here. Her parents first language is Taiwanese, not Chinese, and her grandparents speak Japanese.

I agree that it could be a north-south thing, nonetheless. The guys I know in the south are always talking about the Pan-Blues have little influence outside of the Taipei and surrounding areas (Isn’t that exactly why Ma Ying Jeou is having a “long stay” down south?).

I hope to be moving down south to study Taiwanese history next year, so I’ll be able to see the difference then.

Finally, do you really think that Ma is really set to win the election? I know he gets a push from the KMT allowing indicted politicians to run (since he has been indicted , right?)

This isn’t all either. He’s got the cable car problem here in Taipei, and he also might have a history as a "professional student " snitching to the KMT while a student at Harvard, telling on any students who may be joining

Here’s a comparison of the two men. It seems that Hsieh clearly has the better record, assuming the Taiwanese know it. The KMT’s the party with the chests full of money, though, which may prevail in the end.

Like I said, I’m new to this. I don’t pretend to know what’s going to happen.

OK, I stand corrected about your acquaintences, and I hope I didn’t sound too snarky. I may tend to overcompensate because my wife’s family are partly waishengren and I’ve had more than one disagreement with the spouse over just what you’re talking about–i.e., Taiwan not being worth fighting for.

I respect that the American diplomat you met may have more insight than either you or I (I speak Mandarin, but not Taiwanese), but still I think what he says comes down to one person’s opinion, and a foreign observer’s opinion at that. I tend to think more that Taiwanese politics, and the subject of nationalism, is more volatile and unpredictable than what he seems to indicate.

As for Ma vs. Hsieh in the election next year, I think you might know as well as I that polls showing Ma ahead at this point might not mean very much. But I think a lot of people are overlooking one big thing: a sort of delayed coattails effect from the legislative election in January. (The legislature will be elected on Jan. 15, the president on March 22.) It’s almost certain that the KMT will have the largest number of seats, and may eke out an absolute majority. If that’s the case, I think people will look at the deadlock of the past few years (KMT legislature = DPP president = nothing gets done) and say enough is enough.

Plus, Ma is so handsome! And he jogs! (I think he’s a sycophantic cheeseball myself.)

In the short term future, this depends almost entirely on Taiwan. If Taiwan explicitly recognises itself as a separate country, there is a strong chance that the mainland will retaliate with military action, not excluding invasion.
I say this because for the older generations in the mainland, it would be unthinkable if Taiwan announced its independence and the communist party just stood by and did nothing. They’d be baying for blood, economy be damned.

I think it’s just talk and empty threats on both sides, though. Talking about independence gets you votes in Taiwan, whereas in the mainland the communist party keeps its One China policy to pacify the people. It’s a good issue for both sides to beat their drums on about because it distracts the public’s attention from other things, like corruption.

At first I was really annoyed with your obsession with making everything personal, but I’m kind of getting used to having my own little internet stalker. And it’s fun to think that I can post a one-line message and cause Elvis to spend an hour in a frantic archive search trying to catch me in an episode of intellectual inconsistency.

It’s like having a puppy tugging at your pant leg. On the one hand, it’s kind of annoying. On the other, the sincere yet ineffective ferocity of the attack is just kind of cute.

Sorry, I missed that you were responding to me here. Its really not the problem you are making it out to be. The fleet regularly keeps a constant presence in that region (and other regions like the ME) for up to 6 months at a time (IIRC)…and they basically only rotate out when another task group is on station (or at least on the way). Though I doubt they are on high alert all the time, I’d say that they are pretty frosty in general, unless they are at the end of their tour on station. Its a rather dangerous area…which is why we go to the expense of tasking a carrier force there (same with the ME). We never, afaik, are without at least a carrier task force in that neck of the woods…and along with Taiwan’s air force that would be more than enough to hold its own against whatever the Chinese could throw at us.

So, I don’t think a strategy of China attempting to wait us out while keeping their own ships in port would be very profitable for them. Their only hopes along those lines are if we divert enough of the fleet to a threat in the ME (say, if we REALLY decided to go after Iran), that we might be forced to uncover. Even then, if its a conventional fight the Chinese would still probably be at a distinct disadvantage in an air/sea battle with Taiwan. Though numerically superior I think the Taiwanese air force has better quality on their side…and they would be fighting a more defensive battle inside their own ground missile envelope. I think both sides would be hurt, but China I think would get hurt worse (though of course they can TAKE a worse beating and still come out ahead).


Doesn’t Taiwan have a superior Navy to China’s courtesy of the US military?

The trouble is, he isn’t actually saying that China would consider invading Taiwan. He’s saying China would consider invading Taiwan if it had a weaker military. So in fact your quote doesn’t say what you think it says.

Then go back and read what I *did * say. Then go read that entire thread and learn what **Sam ** thought then, but won’t discuss now. Sheesh. now maybe *you * can try explaing to him how he’s wrong without him declaring it a “personal attack”. :rolleyes:
As others have pointed out, people who’ve actually *lived * there, it’s all an act, for face-saving. It is, granted, easy for Westerners stuck behind their computers to take too much of what Asians say literally, and impute intentions that just aren’t there. But if you look at the actions of the 2 governments instead, you’ll find nothing of the sort.

Not to hijack, but what freedoms would those be? As others have noted here, China apparently has an unfettered capitalist economic system with a communist government and the attendant oppression of civil liberties.

Living in the US these past few years, I have awakened to the fact that nobody cares much about anything except economic liberty, to hell with civil liberties. I think if the US were faced with the choice of a China-style laissez-faire capitalism, but ensuring that all liberal and progressive ideas on civil liberties and human rights were squashed, middle America would line up to offer a group fellating hitherto unseen outside the adult entertainment industry. (As long as you don’t call it ‘communism’, call it ‘free market Christianity’ or something.

Which is to ask, in a roundabout and rantish way, what makes Taiwan so different?

Do you know the first thing about Taiwan, or are you just using this thread as a convenient place to take an anti-capitalist dump?

I’ll start by saying I don’t subscribe to this belief that people anywhere are so willing to shackle themselves to the market and through all concerns over human rights to the wind. This isn’t to say that I don’t often get very frustrated at some people’s willingness to accept lack of human rights on the basis of improving the economy.

That’s another thread, though.

About Taiwan, I don’t think comparing it to the US is quite so effective for one major reason: many, if not a majority, of Taiwanese still remember what it was like to live under an oppressive, one-party system that crushed dissent. The risk of not voting and a life where it wasn’t allowed, I think, are much more real to Taiwanese people than they are for Americans.

Whereas in the US less than half eligible voters actually vote, Taiwan has seen around eighty percent turnout rates for all three elections it has had. The highest turnout being for the 2000 elections, with 82.69 percent of eligible voters voting.

A lot of Americans take the right to vote for granted, but that idea hasn’t caught on yet in Taiwan. Here, I feel, this right is still new and, above all, is seen more so as a true means to change – meaning there are constantly things that get people coming out to vote (the writing of a new constitution, new means of limiting corrupt officials getting into office,* relations with China, the UN referendum, the WHO bid, to name a few).

  • This is referring to this past spring’s legislative elections, which changed the "One party, multiple members " framework of voting. Making it a lot harder for people like Li “Vote for me, I like to complain” Ao to get votes.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t PR China hold a veto vote on the security Council that makes this a moot point? A show of intent, sure, but there is absolutely no way, at all, that PR China will let Taiwan gain a seat at the UN. I don’t think it even needs to use veto to make sure of this presently.
Which brings us to my point: Hsieh says they don’t need a referendum to prove Taiwan is an independent country, but I don’t see any other reason. It’d be just the same if the referendum is about “Do we want to be an independent country?”.

The optimist in me wants to say he’s just naive about this, but then I remember he’s running for president. Politicians…

That point seems ambiguous to me, at least in terms of theoretical outcomes. Remember that the very same permanent seat that China holds now, was once held by the Republic of China on Taiwan. According to Wikipedia:

I’m not sure how this “credentials” vs. “membership” question would apply if Taiwan petitions to join the UN under its own name (and not the “Republic of China”.)

What I wrote was not an “anti-capitalist dump” as you so incisively put it, but rather an observation that people don’t seem to care much about other forms of freedom as long as they have the kind of economic freedom provided by capitalism. It’s a criticism of people, not of capitalism. Second, what I know about Taiwan really isn’t at issue since I was asking a question, not making a statement. If you consider yourself a Taiwan expert, feel free to explain why people are so much freer in Taiwan than they are in China.

Cite? Preferably a cite in reference to the subject of this thread?

That’s a personal opinion, I’m not advancing as a subject for debate. Someone earlier on the thread implied that Taiwan is more free than China in some meaningful way, I’m simply asking for what they meant by that. If you wish you can provide a cite for that.

Well, bless your heart.

No idea what you meant by that, other than you have no answer to the question. If that’s the case, please feel free to move along and stop harassing me.

Everyone knows that China will veto any attempt Taiwan makes at joining the UN. As you mentioned, it’s being used just as a “show of intent” and, I assume, to weaken China’s claim over Taiwan by getting the news out and getting more people – morally, at least – on the side of Taiwan.

It’s a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Taiwan can be de facto independant all it wants and China doesn’t care. If Taiwan pushes for de juere independance – all we have to go on is that China reserves the right to use force.

Taiwan would not make a first military strike. And bet your boots, if they do it will be nuclear. At which point, Taiwan would cease to exist except for a radioactive glow. It is a MAD deterance policy. China would lose a few big cities like shanghai, guangzhou and Beijing, and Taiwan would disappear.

I still firmly believe that economics will force some sort of formal reunification within a decade and perhaps 5 years. I’d be willing to bet that direct flights will open up very soon after Chen shui-bian leaves office. It’s not clear to anyone that a Taiwan wide referendum would produce a result calling for formal independance versus the current status quo.