Although there is no historical evidence that it was invented by the Chinese, it may be appropriate to note that one of the oldest forms of coercion is known as “Chinese water torture.” By continuously dripping water on a victim’s head over an extended period of time, it is said that the technique can drive a victim insane.
Nowadays, it seems like those drops of water are being applied to Taiwan’s forehead, with each droplet taxing the nation’s identity a little more each time. What’s worse is that — like a real victim of torture — Taiwanese appear to be strapped to a chair and fated to a long period of suffering. And the torturer is a tag team: the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Drip: “Chinese Taipei.” Drop: “Chunghwa Post.” Drip: No WHO or UN application under the name “Taiwan.” Drop: Our elected president is but a “Mr.” Drip: The possible renaming of National Democracy Memorial Hall, after the murderous dictator the monument was built for. And drop: In the Dominican Republic over the weekend, where President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) delegation was referred to — for all to see and without as much as a complaint — as “China, Taiwan.”
This latest instance, however, may just be too much to bear, as it was not only unacceptable but also an insult to the intelligence. Queried by reporters about the name, a Taiwanese embassy official in Santo Domingo (the ambassador could not be bothered to meet the media) said that “China, Taiwan” had no ideological connotation because when people in the Dominican Republic say “China,” they mean “Taiwan.”
National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起), who was part of the delegation and who himself seems to find it difficult to differentiate between the two countries, echoed those comments.
Not only are we supposed to swallow that asinine explanation, but Su and the official’s comments were insulting to the people in our allied country, who are said to be unable to tell the difference between Taiwan and the country next door, in the glare of the Olympic Games media frenzy as we speak, 267 times the size of Taiwan and whose population is about 57 times bigger. To think that people in the Caribbean cannot tell the difference between the two countries is condescending and fails to explain how using “China, Taiwan” could help those supposedly ignorant people differentiate between Taipei and Beijing.
At the minimum, it is no way to treat a diplomatic ally who has stood by us for more than 60 years. At the worst, it is consistent with a blurring of the lines the Ma administration has undertaken and the confusing signals that make it increasingly difficult for the rest of the world to tell the difference between Taiwan and China.
If those signals continue, the world could very well reach the conclusion that Taiwan just doesn’t care whether people can tell the difference between the two countries, which can only result in further isolation for Taiwanese.
Before the penultimate drop drives us insane, let’s give those straps a good yank and get up from that chair. The torturers have had enough fun.