Gao Bohan wrote:You repeatedly state that until Taiwan asserts its independence, it remains a province of China. That seems to me a false choice. The options are not limited to "Taiwan, Province of China" and "Taiwan, Fully Independent Nation". Taiwan is not a province of China in any tangible sense of the word, but it has not declared its independence for obvious reasons. If the status of Taiwan is not "undetermined", then that word has no meaning in a geopolitical context.
Actually, I think it has meaning only
in a geopolitical context, particularly where two definite groups lay claim to sovereignty over a given population or area. In that respect, Taiwan is claimed by the PRC and the ROC.
My bone of contention is the claim that Taiwan is a country. If it is not, Taiwan cannot be "undetermined"; it is what it acquiesces to, namely being a province of China administered by the ROC. As I argued before, I regard Tibet as a country, not because it is independent, but because the Tibetans have asserted their nationhood.
The only way to know if a population is a country is to ascertain and measure their will. Our democratic habits make us think that the popular will can simply be measured by a poll, but that is not how nations are formed. Their will cannot be counted; it must be weighed, not as a matter of principle, but of simple necessity. Whether it achieves "fully independent statehood" depends on victory, which rests on some kind of force; whether the people should be regarded as a country or nation depends on nothing more than the assertion of their collective will to be recognized as such. In a free political system, that will can be expressed at the ballot box. In a situation such as Egypt's or Taiwan's that will can be expressed in alternative ways. Gandhi marched to the sea and made salt. He defied
the status quo. That is simply not being done here. If Taiwan were filled with the spirit of national independence, there would be some nut doing something absolutely desperate and foolhardy to gain recognition for his cause. A Taiwanese flag of some kind would have been smuggled on to Tiananmen Square. There would be a mass letter-writing campaign to the UN or to Beijing or to Washington or to Santa Claus. Somebody would be boycotting something. Somebody would be getting themselves thrown in jail somewhere, even a nasty Chinese jail.
That is how these things happen.
The absence of these signs makes me very doubtful about the existence of a Taiwanese nation. If you want to be rich, you can be Warren Buffett or you can play the lottery. So far, the bid for Taiwanese independence looks like the latter: let's take a shot, you never know, we might get lucky. Then justify it by saying, there's always next time, the game was rigged, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Then everybody goes back to what they were doing: business with China.
I don't blame them for that approach; I just take it as a sign that the question of Taiwanese nationality is not a real priority. When it is, then I think as democrats, we will all bear some responsibility in recognizing and assisting the Taiwanese people. But, the approach that pro-independence folks prefer, get the foreigners to recognize Taiwan before the Taiwanese do--I think it's a non-starter. It's like a would-be Egyptian protester calling up the military on the night of January 24 and saying, 'we're gonna go have it out with the police, and we just want to make sure you're not going to take their side', and only then deciding to take to the streets. Perfectly logical, and perfectly unrealistic and counterproductive.
That's not how the democratic movement in Taiwan started. Granted that Taiwan has got a raw deal, why should foreigners take the claim of Taiwanese independence more seriously than the Taiwanese themselves do?