The Chinese authorities have said that they are working on what they call a “Taiwanese independence name list,” which is to include people from all walks of life who promote Taiwan — in effect, a plan for settling scores.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) scheme is simple: Suppress any declaration that Taiwan is an independent nation and splinter unity among Taiwanese.
Why should Taiwanese tolerate China telling Taiwan what to do? Taiwan is a democracy and all Taiwanese are the masters of Taiwan — China is a dictatorship.
The CCP does not have a legal basis for claiming to speak for all Chinese, let alone a basis for speaking its mind regarding Taiwan’s development as a nation.
In short, all it has are threats and intimidation.
The US leadership keeps saying that Taiwan is a country and not part of China. This view of Taiwan’s national status worries the CCP, which does not want Taiwanese to side with US opinion, because that might further alienate them from China.
Beijing is hurriedly cranking up its political intimidation machine — with the message that support for independence poses a serious risk to assets and livelihoods in the event of annexation — and persuading Taiwanese to turn their back on independence.
However, Taiwanese have realized that the CCP does not have a specific enemy — Beijing wants to quash democracy and freedom, and the values and way of life that they lead to.
This means that the CCP has a score to settle with all Taiwanese who enjoy life in a free and democratic society.
Discussion about a name list is just one part of the CCP’s strategy to turn Taiwanese against each other.
If Taiwan were to be annexed by China, it would not matter if someone was pro-independence, because anyone wanting to live in a society where the people call the shots would experience the same fate as Hong Kongers.
CCP rule would mean that no one would have the right to express a dissenting opinion.
After the desire for independence was deeply planted in Taiwan’s cultural soil, people began to describe themselves as “pro-independence authors,” “pro-independence entertainers” and even “pro-independence workers.”
The independence stance of the younger generation is what has naturally sprouted from this soil.
Closely tied to democracy and freedom, Taiwanese independence has clearly become the trend. The big question seems to be whether the CCP can come up with an exhaustive name list.
Chen Chi-nung is principal of Shuili Junior High School in Nantou County.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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