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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan, fascist China and the UN

Taiwan, fascist China and the UN

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The time for international charades and word games is over. Despite the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) claims that Taiwan is an inalienable part of its past, it is time for other nations to see Taiwan for what it is, namely a medium-sized, democratic nation.

Population-wise, Taiwan is larger than 75 percent of UN countries and its economy outshines most members’. Taiwan’s GDP, trade value and worth carry it above 80 percent of UN members, yet Taiwan is not a member of the UN. Why?

First, there is the problem about Taiwan being an inalienable part of the PRC. What makes something inalienable? If Taiwan is an inalienable part of anything, it is an inalienable part of Taiwan and perhaps planet Earth, but that is it.

Who from the past might claim inalienable rights over Taiwan? Aborigines could say that they were the original inhabitants of the land, but unfortunately they are tribal and territorial. They (thus far 16 accepted tribes) claimed specific regions of Taiwan as their ancestral lands, but no single tribe has claimed the entire island.

The Dutch and the Spanish put down colonial roots on Taiwan for economic purposes. The Dutch then drove the Spanish out before being driven out by Cheng Cheng-kung’s (鄭成功, Koxinga) Ming loyalists who had fled from Xiamen.

Cheng’s followers’ stay was short-lived: In little more than 20 years the Manchu Qing repatriated them back to the mainland, where the Manchus were going on to conquer Mongolia and Tibet in addition to China. The Manchus would subsequently put garrisons on Taiwan’s west coast to prevent any other fleeing Chinese loyalists taking root. The situation remained as such in Taiwan, with the Manchus on the west and Taiwan’s Aborigines maintaining their ancestral lands on the east, until the Japanese came.

The Japanese, who backed their territorial claims with the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, were in reality the first nation to conquer and subdue the entire island of Taiwan. Therefore, if any nation was to claim all of Taiwan as an inalienable part of its past, it would be Japan.

However, after World War II, Japan gave up any “inalienable rights” it had over Taiwan when it signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952. Yet, in that treaty, Japan never specified to whom it surrendered those rights. A power vacuum was created and into it came the fleeing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), a one-party state posing as the Republic of China (ROC).

Does that sound familiar?

As the Manchus drove the Ming loyalists out of China, so did the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drive out KMT loyalists. Proximity and a power vacuum, not inalienability, have made Taiwan a destination for those who lose in China.

So why then is democratic Taiwan not a member of the UN?

First, Taiwan only became a fully democratic nation in 1996. Second, the exiled ROC government that controlled Taiwan as a one-party state once had a seat in the UN, but in 1971, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) decided that “gentlemen should not sit down with thieves” and pulled the ROC out of the UN just before it was given the boot.

The issue here is not having two Chinas in the UN, but a matter of incorrect nomenclature and the belated recognition that Taiwanese finally earned their freedom from their latest occupiers in 1996.

What continues to block Taiwan’s membership in the UN?

Unfortunately it is the fascist PRC state, which still insists on claiming Taiwan as an “inalienable” part of its alleged motherland.

Fascist might seem to be a strong word here, especially as the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory over fascism, but what are the characteristics of fascism?

First, fascist states are one-party states with a strong centralized authority and a penchant for dictators. China’s Politburo Standing Committee, with its current seven members, is not an individual dictator, but for 1.3 billion people it basically functions as one.

These seven members control the nation, including China’s “capitalist economy.” They maintain its one-child policy. They restrict free movement and relocation of citizens throughout the country. Furthermore, only 4 percent of China’s 1.3 billion people have visas to leave the country.

China’s leaders further demand that they control all religions and be given the power to appoint religious leaders, be they bishops, Tibetan lamas or other figures of religious authority. Not even Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini demanded such powers.

Then, there are the issues of imprisoned dissidents and organ harvesting. Past fascist states like Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan had tried to come up with justifications to conduct medical “experiments” on minorities and dissidents. In today’s China, dissidents and members of organizations like the Falun Gong are subjected to not only imprisonment but also to alleged practices of state-sanctioned organ harvesting.

What about fascism’s militaristic nationalism? China’s military parade on Sept. 3 was a good example of this tenet. Also, Beijing’s desire to control the shipping lanes in the South China Sea — which are vital to all nations in the region — provides a good example of a fascistic ambition to exercise hegemony.

China’s actions might not match every aspect of the definition of fascism, but as control is a key factor, China demands that in spades. Democratic, rich Taiwan remains an outside economic and military plum that fascist China wishes to control.

So why do other nations still look the other way and comply with China’s demands, which include keeping Taiwan out of the UN?

It all boils down to monetary gain. The economies of most nations have clearly gained from allowing China to be the manufacturing giant of the world, and the profits to be made in the vast Chinese market loom like a dream, waiting to be realized.

This motivation had worked in China’s favor until recently, but now it is beginning to lose steam as China’s economic glory days are coming to an end. Its once reliable double-digit growth is gone and single-digit growth is the new norm. Even factories are beginning to move out of the country as owners seek lower labor and manufacturing costs.

The “upgrading” of Chinese citizens is not even half finished and serious domestic problems are on the rise. Such demands will pressure Beijing to continue to seek external distractions.

China’s economic house of cards and its stock market have recently begun to falter. In a truly fascistic spirit, the state tried to pin the blame of the latest stock rout on false reporting and “misrepresentation” by Wang Xialou (王曉璐), a business reporter for Caijing magazine.

However, in reality, investors are beginning to admit to something they have always suspected: They cannot trust the economic figures released by the Chinese state. They had been able to look the other way as long as profit was rolling in from this Ponzi-like economic system, but now as the weaknesses become evident, reality is settling in and people are admitting that China’s official figures cannot be trusted.

China will not collapse, but the fake promise of profit will be challenged and exposed for what it really is. The charade that other nations have participated in no longer has to be maintained. The truth will not be pleasant.

The time is ripe to recognize the charade that has caused Taiwan to be treated as a stepchild and denied its full participation in the UN and its agencies like the WHO. It is not just democratic Taiwan, but the world that suffers from this fascism.

Jerome Keating is a writer based in Taipei.


Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2015/09/15



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Photo: AP

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