Fri, Jan 25, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Normal and abnormal pleas for secession

By James Wang 王景弘

Despite the joyful atmosphere of US President Barack Obama’s inauguration for his second term, voters in several US states have signed petitions on the White House’s Web site requesting that their states be allowed to secede from the union. Many were from Texas, with the number of signatures on the Texas petition exceeding 125,000.

Texas was once an independent state — the Republic of Texas, which existed from 1836 to 1846. A call for independence from Texas is hardly anything new: You do occasionally hear about them as fluff news. However, some Texans initiated a petition on the White House’s Web site in late November last year, requesting that the federal government grant the state the right to secede.

The organizers of the petition movement visited the Republican leader of the state legislature and the state’s lieutenant-governor to raise the petition’s political credibility.

The petition says: “Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th-largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties.”

After the Texas petition passed the 25,000-signature threshold, the White House responded by saying the federal government is considered a “perpetual union.” As the White House says: “Whether it’s figuring out how to strengthen our economy, reduce our deficit in a responsible way, or protect our country, we will need to work together — and hear from one another — in order to find the best way to move forward.”

The Texas petitioners will not give up, and in a democratic country, such a call can be handled through legal and political channels. However, in an authoritarian country that rises through the force of arms, the government oppresses its people with violence, while its people struggle against it, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

The people who signed the Texas petition are a minority of the state’s population of more than 26 million. Given the option, many countries would prefer to become part of the US, and, in reality, none of the US states would actually secede.

Despite its rise in the international community, given the option to stay or leave, some Chinese regions or ethnic groups would choose to leave. China would likely fall apart into several states, and no country in the world would join it either.

According to the doctrine of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) as stated in the Shanghai Communique: “Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution.”

Today, from Tibet to Xinjiang to Hong Kong, many provinces want to declare independence from Beijing’s rule — it has become the norm. Taiwan does not belong to China, but some Taiwanese thirst for an “eventual unification” with China. This is distinctly abnormal.

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by eddy chang

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