Tomorrow Tibetans around the world are to mark the 60th anniversary of National Uprising Day, commemorating the day when hundreds of thousands of Tibetans surrounded Norbulinka Palace in Lhasa to protect the Dalai Lama against a possible Chinese kidnapping attempt: It was a peaceful protest against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule over Tibet and its harsh occupation by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Tibetans had grown increasingly restive since the PLA’s invasion in October 1950, and while the 1951 peace treaty between the Dalai Lama’s government and Beijing was supposed to ensure his control over his nation’s domestic affairs, and protect Tibetan culture, the reality was far different.
Resistance to Chinese rule had built up to the point that by the end of 1958 the PLA was threatening to bomb Lhasa, but it was the PLA’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to attend a performance and tea at its Lhasa headquarters — without bodyguards or Tibetan officials — that led Tibetans to surround Norbulinka.
While March 10 ended peacefully, the crowds around the palace refused to leave and over the next few days the PLA moved artillery into place, trained on the palace, so on March 17 the Dalai Lama was smuggled out to begin his escape to India.
Less than eight years after signing a peace treaty with Lhasa, Beijing had reneged on its promises, unhappy that Tibetans were not conforming to the CCP’s demands.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that led to the 1997 handover of Hong Kong stipulated that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region would have executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including final adjudication, and the current social and economic system — including the rights and freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, travel, movement and religious belief. It guaranteed Hong Kong full autonomy except for foreign affairs and defense.
However, despite Beijing’s trumpeting of its “one country, two systems” model, its promises on Hong Kong began to crumble within a decade.
The erosion has steadily increased since Xi Jinping (習近平) became CCP secretary-general in November 2012 and president of the People’s Republic of China the following March, a reflection of his widespread repression of China’s nascent civil society.
It is worth remembering just what Beijing’s promises and treaties are worth, given a drumbeat in the pan-blue camp for a cross-strait peace treaty if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is returned to the Presidential Office next year.
While KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has not formally announced his candidacy, Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) has, and both have talked about seeking such a pact.
If treaties signed in 1951 and 1984 were so easily trampled by Beijing, Taiwanese should be under no illusions about whether the democracy they fought so hard for would survive in the face of a “peace treaty.” If the “one country, two systems” model imposed on Hong Kong — along with its risible shadow that somehow it would help bring democracy to China — was unpalatable to Taiwanese in 1997, it is even more so now as China under Xi marches steadily backward, despite its economic advances.
Beijing’s new “social credit” system aimed at ensuring “trustworthy” citizens has already led to millions of people being barred from taking flights, buying train tickets, using public transportation, and buying insurance or real estate.
If Taiwan’s White Terror era was bad, technological advances have made the CCP’s repressive tactics more Orwellian than the KMT authoritarian state ever dreamed of.
Anyone who thinks a cross-strait treaty would benefit Taiwan is simply deluding themselves.
In 1955, US general Benjamin Davis Jr, then-commander of the US’ 13th Air Force, drew a maritime demarcation line in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line. Under pressure from the US, Taiwan and China entered into a tacit agreement not to cross the line. On July 9, 1999, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) described cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state” relationship. In response, Beijing dispatched People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into the Taiwan Strait, crossing the median line for the first time since 1955. The PLA has begun to regularly traverse the line. On Sept. 18 and 19, it
Midday in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 16, was sunny and mild. Even with the pandemic’s “social distancing” it was a perfect day for “al fresco” dining with linen tablecloths and sidewalk potted palms outside one of New York City’s elegant restaurants. Two members of the press, outfitted with digital SLR cameras and voice recorders, were dispatched by The Associated Press to cover a rare outdoor diplomatic meeting on one of these New York streets. American diplomat Kelly Craft, Chief of the United States Mission to the United Nations, lunched in the open air with Taiwan’s ambassador-ranked representative in New York, James
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) recently declared that aggression and expansionism have never been in the Chinese nation’s “genes.” It is almost astonishing that he managed to say it with a straight face. Aggression and expansionism obviously are not genetic traits, but they have defined Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) tenure. Xi, who in some ways has taken up the expansionist mantle of Mao Zedong (毛澤東), is attempting to implement a modern version of the tributary system that Chinese emperors used to establish authority over vassal states: submit to the emperor, and reap the benefits of peace and
Unlike its previous practice of disclosing the latest activities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a press release, the Ministry of National Defense has in the past few weeks followed the model of the Japanese Ministry of Defense. When carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance of the nation’s waters and airspace, it has posted real-time military activity updates on its Chinese-language Web site, explaining with text and graphs the responses and measures taken by the nation’s armed forces. The disclosed information on PLA activities show that the military is capable of maintaining regional security and safeguarding a free and open