Taiwanese have spoken
For most of my life, I have been quite pro-China, helped by the fact that I spent the bulk of my investment career as a China analyst in some form or fashion.
However, my stance turned 180 degrees this past year as I lived in Taiwan, a democratic country under constant threat and intimidation from China — except it has gotten much worse under “Emperor Xi.”
China has been turned into an insufferable totalitarian state under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and its rise is no longer peaceful. In the past year, the world has witnessed how it incarcerated over 1 million innocent members of an ethnic minority in “re-education camps,” bullied foreign governments/firms/sports groups who “offended” it, stepped up the closing of churches and jailing of pastors, and unilaterally voided the Joint Declaration with Britain over Hong Kong.
What the Chinese government practices goes well beyond domestic censorship. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seems to think it has a monopoly on the truth, not only in China, but the whole world.
Anyone who dares to criticize China’s unruly behavior is either accused of being racist, or called a traitor if they’re an overseas Chinese. Anyone who goes against their narrative on any number of issues will be cut off from access to their market or made to vanish.
China’s citizenry has become openly hostile toward the US and democracy itself. Slowly, the world is waking up to the reality that doing business with China entails a heavy long-term cost in myriad ways.
In a similar fashion, it is now warning Taiwan to accept the “one country, two systems” model that has failed so miserably in Hong Kong, or else “we will take you by force,” and that “time is running out.”
The world cannot stand by and let that happen, not only for Taiwan’s sake, as China bullies most of its neighbors over disputed territories and has a grand design on global domination through Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, which entraps struggling nations with massive debt for environmentally unsustainable projects that they build, then take control of when the host country is unable to repay loans.
In Greece, Chinese state-owned COSCO has a 51 percent ownership of Athens’ Piraeus port, much to the chagrin and dismay of many Greeks.
The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait might be ethnically Chinese, but they are very different. Taiwanese love their freedom, democracy and independence. In its 70 years as a separate political entity, the People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan for a minute.
Taiwan deserves the right to self-determination, international recognition and the support of world leaders like US President Donald Trump.
So, congratulations to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for her firm stance against China and being re-elected. I never thought I would be one of her supporters, but a lot can change in a year’s time.
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