Taiwanese Independence Without Nationalism

25 May

at Cambridge University on 17 May 2007:

The so-called international world has become a common global community.  But the people of Taiwan have been deprived of the social and cultural rights to participate in this global community.  Do you know that the deprivation of social and cultural rights is against the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  Please read Articles 2 and 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 22: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

The western European countries are members of the United Nations.  I ask how you would explain the spirit of these two articles to the children of Taiwan.

37 years of self-imposed blockage and 35 years of forced blockage.  No matter whether it was self-imposed or forced, aren’t the people innocent?  The international isolation and "abandonment" of Taiwan made the people of Taiwan feel that they are being "punished" because they fought for democracy.  The global community watch coldly that one generation after another of Taiwan children grow up in the global village, they are talented and they work hard, but they are deprived of their global citizenship as well as the basic dignity of citizens.

The damage from this deprivation is twofold:

1. Democracy in Taiwan cannot be improved materially.  You tell me whether a society that cannot participate in international affairs, that cannot gain experience from international affairs and cannot that fulfill its international duties and obligations can possibly become a democracy with better quality?

2. The continuation of the isolation of Taiwan and the repeated defeats inflicted on its people has caused greater hostility towards the "originator" of the isolation: China.  As the desire to oppose or separate from China grows, the possibility of conflict in the Taiwan strait becomes higher.

The international community should care about the situation of Taiwan not just for the sake of the people of Taiwan, but also for the sake of the security of the global village itself.  The logic is actually simple: on the path of China’s question for modernization, the Taiwan experience — whether the good or the bad part — should be an importance reference point for China.  If an open and rational China with citizen participation is essential to world peace and stability, then the global community must not ignore the importance of Taiwan.  That is to say, the more the global community supports and looks after democracy in Taiwan, the more guarantee there is for stability in the Taiwan strait and world peace.

You cannot ignore the international blockade of Taiwan and the deprivation of global citizenship to the children of Taiwan.  This has to stop, not just for Taiwan but for the sake of international peace.

In , Lung makes two comments worth considering further:

Q: As I was saying, you were facing an European audience and you were definitely calling for something.  What exactly were you calling for?

A: My first call of the day was that the Europeans should recognize what the problem is.  The blockage of Taiwan was not as simple as the western world understands it.  They believe that it was just a political blockade.  They did not know that the long-term political blockade also permeates into all levels of society and life, including the arts, academics and literature.  My second call was that the blockage of Taiwan was not just about the problem of Taiwan itself.  The goodness or badness of democracy in Taiwan is an important factor in the search on mainland China about the future of its modernization.  Therefore, I attempted to present this logic out today.  If you believe that the peaceful and stable development of China is important for world peace , then you must believe that the development of the democratic system in Taiwan is an important factor in coming up with a good model for the democracy in China.  Under this kind of logic, the western world should know that the very fragile state of democracy in Taiwan requires your intervention.  I was addressing a European audience today.  Under the democratic system in Europe, you first identify the problem and the next step is for you to influence your government.

(…)

Q: In the logic that you presented today, it was basically a logic that only by protecting democracy in Taiwan will there be a democratic China.  But the pan-green camp folks will assert that there is no connection between Taiwan and China and that it is best that Chinese people and Taiwan persons with origins outside of Taiwan just get out of Taiwan altogether.  They definitely don’t give a damn about democracy in China.

A: I am opposed to his type of deep-green ideology.  I can support Taiwan independence.  I feel that many people in Taiwan support Taiwan independence.  But what if you ask them whether it is worthwhile to go to war to achieve Taiwan independence?  Then it is different.  Is the price worthwhile?  My answer is definitely not the same.  Therefore this is a complex question.  My criticism against the deep-green is this: I can accept your Taiwan independence, but I cannot accept your "Taiwan nationalism."

To take one step back and suppose that Taiwan is an independent nation.  How can you not care about China?  At the political level, you are just a sailboat in an ocean next to an aircraft carrier.  Should you not care what the aircraft carrier does?  If it so much changes direction, you will sink.  Does Singapore not care about what Indonesia is up to?  Would you dare not to worry about China is up to?  Therefore, I felt that they are stupid when they say that they don’t care.  Secondly, apart from the political level, you can look at it as pure idealism.  Did you not begin your movement based upon humanitarianism?  So how can you not worry about the human rights issues and the happiness of the people in mainland China, which account for one-quarter of the population of the world?  Whatever happened to your sense of morality?  Whether in terms of pragmatic politics or the insistence on morality and ideals, you cannot insist that you don’t care about whether China lives or dies.

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