Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

China’s ethnic nationalism

Taiwan’s belligerent and powerful enemy across the Taiwan Strait bases part of its sovereignty claim over Taiwan on an ethnic nationalist fallacy — that Taiwan is part of China because Taiwanese are part of the Chinese race (中華民族).

This claim is ridiculous, because, while China incessantly boasts about its 5,000 years of history, Aborigines lived in Taiwan for millennia before civilization across the Strait even began. Aborigines were the sole inhabitants for at least 7,000 years before anyone from Fujian Province even set foot in Taiwan.

To claim that Aborigines are Chinese necessitates that their descendants — who populated the Philippines, Hawaii, Madagascar, Polynesia and New Zealand — are also Chinese.

Citizenship in modern democracies is not based on ethnicity and can be obtained through birth, naturalization, ancestry or marriage.

As a one-party state and fledgling dictatorship, China has only one true citizen with meaningful participation in the political process: [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平).

The remaining population are Chinese nationals, but not citizens; and even this dubious honor can only be bestowed by birth or ethnicity.

It is through the naturalization of new citizens that Taiwan has the opportunity to skin two cats with one knife.

Years of record-low birthrates have left Taiwan facing a demographic crisis and increased immigration could not only defuse this ticking gray bomb, but could show the international community of democratic nations that being Taiwanese does not require one to be ethnically Chinese. Like the most Taiwanese of all — Aborigines.

Luke Paul

Taipei

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