Some members of the Chinese National People's Congress have reportedly proposed naming March 14 "Protect Taiwan Day" as a way to commemorate the passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law a year ago. It would be most ironic should Beijing adopt this preposterous proposal.
The irony, of course, lies in the diametrically opposite view and interpretation of the Anti-Secession Law by Taiwanese people.
It cannot be disputed that if Taiwan were ever to officially declare independence from China (despite the fact that many people rightfully argue that Taiwan has no need to do so since it has already attained statehood status), it would require the consent of Taiwanese, which would probably be expressed through a referendum. The state of democratic development in Taiwan has reached the point where it would be hard to imagine any elected government or president unilaterally declaring independence or secession and continuing to rule thereafter without public support.
Against whom, exactly, is the Anti-Secession Law supposed to protect Taiwanese? Themselves? Is it supposed to keep them from exercising their right to self-determination? If so, then March 14 should not be called "Protect Taiwan Day" but "Oppress Taiwan Day." It would be a day to scorn.
On the other hand, could Taiwan ever unify with China without Taiwanese consent? Sadly, that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. The passage of the Anti-Secession Law is a clear declaration of Beijing's violent intentions and preparedness to act on them when the time comes. Other facts point to Beijing's undisputed ambition -- from missiles targeting Taiwan to the refusal to rule out an invasion and repeated warnings by the US on the military threat posed by China.
One shouldn't rule out the possibility that some politicians may trick voters into electing them to office before making a pact with Beijing to accept unification without the endorsement of the popular will. The support of the people would no longer be needed from that point, because once China gained control of Taiwan, its army would rush to crush any dissent.
This year is not only the first anniversary of the passage of the Anti-Secession Law, but also the 10th anniversary of the 1996 missile crisis. Ten years ago, on the eve of Taiwan's first popular presidential election, Beijing conducted military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in an attempt to intimidate voters and influence the election's outcome. The threat against Taiwan was so real and imminent that Washington had to dispatch the USS Independence to keep the peace in the area.
Ten years ago, the Taiwanese -- prompted by a sense of nationalism and pride in their democratic accomplishments -- were more unified than ever in the face of Beijing's threats. This was clearly shown in the high voter turnout and the landslide victory of former president Lee Teng-hui (
But what has happened since then? Taiwan has seemingly become more polarized. Such internal rivalry and hostility are much more dangerous than any Chinese missile.
It is a plot that could have come straight from the pages of a John le Carre novel. The head of a nation’s secret intelligence service is caught in a honeytrap: captured on camera with a mysterious younger woman at Bangkok International Airport and covertly followed to their hotel. A secret liaison in an exotic location, used to blackmail the spymaster of an adversary, who misappropriated public funds to pay for the clandestine affaire d’amour. This is what the Chinese Ministry of State Security wants people to believe after it used a Thai-language “cutout” Twitter account to release a “leaked” photograph
In a China-US war over Taiwan, paradoxically the greatest loss of life could be inflicted on the Muslim Uighurs. Uighurs constitute 45 percent of the Xinjiang population of 25 million people, with over 1 million incarcerated in internment camps in accordance with a policy initiated under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). Another half-million children have been placed in state-run boarding schools. Forced sterilization has led to a 24 to 60 percent drop in the birthrate, leading officials from many countries to describe the mass detention as genocide. Estimated annual death rates in the camps of between 5 and 10 percent could
Starting from November, and in line with recent amendments to the Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance Act (強制汽車責任保險法), electric bicycles (e-bikes) and other small electric two-wheeled vehicles must be licensed with mounted license plates before they can be ridden on the road. This change should resolve some existing problems, such as the difficulty that e-bike owners have faced in receiving help to find their bikes if they are stolen, and the difficulty that road users have in holding anyone accountable when an accident occurs. It would also allow the more than 600,000 e-bikes that are currently being ridden on Taiwan’s roads to
The United States may soon find it somewhere between difficult and near impossible to maintain a sufficiently favorable balance of power against the People’s Republic of China in the Western Pacific. That is, unless our leaders in Washington can evaluate past policy decisions with a critical eye and begin to integrate Taiwan into an overarching plan to maintain regional stability. For its part, Taiwan simply cannot ensure its long-term survival unless it is able to obtain a greater degree of support from America. War and peace in the Taiwan Strait will likely turn on whether or not Washington and Taipei