The unrest in China’s Xinjiang region has quieted down, leaving us with the Chinese government’s number of casualties and its conclusion that it was a conspiracy incited by ambitious overseas activists requiring a powerful crackdown on “illegal elements.”
This conclusion is beyond comprehension. Taiwan’s government has remained silent, turning a blind eye from beginning to end. Even more alarming is the coldness and silence of the international community.
China behaved in Xinjiang almost exactly as it did in reaction to the unrest in Tibet last year: It blamed “external factors” and resolved it by force and going from door to door to find protesters. Western countries repeatedly condemned Beijing for the Tibetan incident. France even threatened to boycott last year’s Olympic Games. France, however, did not say a word about the Xinjiang incident, while the US simply called for self-restraint from both sides.
The EU is acting like this is none of its concern. EU Ambassador to China Serge Abou even said European countries also have minority issues and that they do not want other countries to tell them how to handle them. Later, Russia and China held a joint anti-terrorist military drill. Is discontent and ethnic conflict triggered by long Chinese rule now seen as terrorism?
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an association of 57 Islamic states, merely expressed its “deep concern” on July 6, asking China “to deal with the problems of the Muslim minority in China in a broader perspective that tackles the root causes of the problem” for the sake of “historical friendly relations with the Muslim world.” Turkey, the only OIC member that strongly condemned Beijing, did so because of its close linguistic, religious and cultural ties with the Uighurs. It called the incident an act of ethnic cleansing and threatened an appeal to the UN Security Council.
Almost identical incidents therefore draw very different reactions from the international community. Some believe this is because other countries are preoccupied with the economic crisis and need China’s help. In addition, Chinese help is needed to deal with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs. These international economic and political issues, however, existed last year and the knowledge that China can play a role is not a new realization. So what is the cause of this major difference?
The key lies in the fact that the world does not doubt that Xinjiang is part of China, while they question that Tibet is part of China. The significance of this difference and the consequences for Taiwan are self-evident.
As I mourn the deaths of wronged Uighurs, I think of Taiwan’s situation. Looking back at the Taiwanese government’s actions, they are taken in order to pave a whole boulevard for the “one China” principle. Will such actions further suppress the international community’s room for maneuver on the Taiwan issue?
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) sees Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly as a diplomatic breakthrough made possible by Chinese goodwill, but he completely ignores the “one China” curse. After the Chinese team boycotted the opening and closing ceremonies at the Kaohsiung World Games, can Ma still claim that Beijing is extending goodwill?
As Taiwan’s diplomatic space is gradually shrinking, the push for unification grows. Unfortunately, some are still praising the goodwill of the “motherland.”
English poet Percy Shelley once wrote: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Led by such a “brilliant” government, if unification comes, will there even be a spring?
Chiang Huang-chih is an associate professor at National Taiwan University’s Department of Law.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose