Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 8 News List

China’s risible use of the race card

By Lu I-ming 呂一銘

As someone who was born in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang Province, I am sickened by the incident involving Taiwanese director Leon Dai (戴立忍) — who apologized to China after being accused of supporting Taiwanese independence — as well as an earlier incident involving Taiwanese K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu (周子瑜).

I moved to Taiwan with my parents as a child 68 years ago and I have grown up, studied and worked here ever since. My father passed away here; I consider myself Taiwanese.

My mother and sister have lived in the US for decades and so they have become Americans. They often go to China on sight-seeing trips or to visit friends, and they are well-versed in one of the Zhejiang dialects as well as in Cantonese and the Shanghai language, Hu (滬), but that by no means implies that they are People’s Republic of China (PRC) Chinese.

Beijing officials have welcomed their visits and received them many times, but as far as I know, they have never been asked to openly declare that they are not “US imperialists” — instead, they have been asked to support China by making more investments in the country and helping promote its national image.

Taiwan is a free, democratic and diverse society where the people are the masters. After three transitions of government, where the public have elected their own president and parliament, more than 84 percent of the population now say that they are Taiwanese, according to public opinion polls.

What does that tell us? A nation and a people are not the same.

Regardless of their ethnicity, people have the freedom to build their own nation and government. The US, for example, is a melting pot of ethnicities. US President Barrack Obama does not forget his identity as an American just because he is also of Kenyan ancestry. A person from Singapore might have their roots in Fujian Province or Guangdong Province, but they still call themselves Singaporean rather than Chinese.

In the UK, there is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite their shared Anglo-Saxon heritage (sic), they can all pursue their own independence and, as a natural result, there have been separations and unions.

It is just as it says in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義), things always break apart after having been united for too long. In contrast, the Chinese Communist Party is still playing the race card, not understanding that they have gone too far.

A look at the Han position in Chinese history shows that from the Han Dynasty through the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties and up to the Qing Dynasty, they have sworn allegiance to different states at different times: to the Mongol emperors of the Yuan Dynasty and the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty.

The Taiwanese are the Taiwanese of the Republic of China, not the Taiwanese of the PRC — the two are completely different entities.

Unless China were to occupy Taiwan, Taiwanese will always be Taiwanese. Compelling Dai to call himself Chinese or to declare that he does not support Taiwanese independence is ridiculous. Anyone who thinks that Dai’s statement could divide Taiwanese is simply unable to see the reality. History has inexhaustible examples of such mistakes.

In today’s world, democracy and freedom are universally celebrated values. When a big power tries to annex a smaller nation by force, the international community does not stand idly by. Even in China, there is the old saying that a national leader should lead not by force, but by establishing a moral example, which is the only way a leader can garner universal support.

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