Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: The cost of independence

All three — Kurds, Catalonians and Taiwanese — face pressure not to secede, not only because of what their immediate loss might entail, but also because of the potential knock-on effect.

Turkey and Iran are concerned about Kurdish separatism within their own borders, and Spain will be worried that Catalonian independence might encourage other autonomies, such as the Basque Country, to follow suit. Beijing is also tackling independence movements in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Catalonia and Kurdistan have their respective ethnic and cultural homogeneity holding them together. Taiwan’s cultural and ethnic mix and history are complex, but the shared experience of Taiwanese over the past few centuries has forged an identity, too, existing social and ethnic tensions notwithstanding.

While formal independence is desirable, the sacrifices it entails would be huge.

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