Ma’s fabricated “one China” will only make it more likely that the real, internationally recognized “one China” will annex Taiwan. Taiwan was able to impose 11 sanctions on the Philippines because of its de facto status as an independent nation; it had nothing to do with the idea of “one China.”
I recently heard of a rather worrying, reactionary idea, that if our own government lacks the wherewithal to protect our fishermen, then we may as well unify with “the mainland” and let Beijing take care of things. This is the kind of ignorant and scary idea that the psychologist and social theorist Erich Fromm wrote about in his book Escape from Freedom. People, unable to bear their own helplessness, would rather cede their liberty and rights to an overarching power. This is the kind of mentality that enables despots and dictators to rule.
Are these people unaware of the relentless suppression and violence visited upon Tibetans and the secessionist Uighur group the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, under the dictatorial regime in China? Within this context, the barbaric action of the Philippine vessel pales in comparison. And did they not see how the authorities in Beijing recently issued an order prohibiting university professors from teaching the universal values of freedom and democracy? Only those with a slave mentality would want to live in a country like that.
The other day China made noises to the effect that the combined forces of the People’s Liberation Army and the Taiwanese military would be sufficient to shock and awe the Philippines. I dare say that if China and Taiwan establish formal diplomatic relations and combine their armed forces they would not only overwhelm the Philippines, they could even take on the US. Is that possible? I wonder if China would like to find out.
Lee Hsiao-feng is a professor at National Taipei University’s Graduate School of Taiwanese Culture.
Translated by Paul Cooper