Taiwan should develop a national defense strategy that incorporates nonviolent civil resistance in the event of a Chinese invasion, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chien Hsi-chieh says in a new book, titled Power of the Weak (弱者的力量).
Chien, a long-time labor activist and expert in nonviolent resistance tactics, said the nation should establish a system of “nonviolent, civilian-based defense” that would coexist with military forces and act to paralyze a foreign authoritarian regime.
The strategy would require the entire population to receive education and training in civil disobedience tactics, with the government serving as a coordinator in sharing the experience of social activist groups with the rest of the public, he said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Nonviolent resistance is an urgent issue given the growing imbalance in military power between Taiwan and China and the increasing possibility the that the US might “abandon” Taiwan in the case of military conflict.
By adopting nonviolent methods, the public could claim a moral higher ground and create more international pressure on an invading regime, Chien said.
“We should apply methods of non-cooperation and disobedience to resist the annexation of Taiwan by the Chinese Communist Party regime,” Chien said.
Accompanied by representatives of activist groups at a Taipei news conference, Chien said he plans to lobby for legislation on the issue as well as seek support from all candidates running in next year’s presidential elections.
Taiwan could learn from the experiences of Lithuania or other Baltic states, which include both military security and civil resistance as part of their national defense strategy, Chien said.
In his book, Chien said that Lithuania’s strategy was largely inspired by its independence movement against the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991, in which the entire public took part in coordinated actions of civil disobedience such as mass strikes, road blockades and passive resistance to Soviet laws.
Many other countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and South Africa, also include similar principles in their national defense strategies, Chien said.
Academia Sinica researcher Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said he agreed with Chien’s view that civil resistance should not only be seen as a supplement to military force, but as a “powerful backing” for national defense.
Hzu said neighborhoods and communities should get involved in grassroots action in defense, disaster relief and social welfare.
“Instead of ‘national defense,’ we might put it as ‘community defense;’ in case of such a scenario, individual communities could declare themselves to be ‘non-cooperative communities,’” Hsu said.
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