The Guardian March 29, 2000


Editorial:
Taiwan's elections

The recent election of Chen Shui-bian as President of Taiwan (with about 
40 per cent of the vote) has further complicated relations between the 
People's Republic of China (PRC) and its province of Taiwan. During the 
election he repeatedly expressed his commitment to Taiwanese independence. 
Since his election, his remarks have been much more restrained, even to the 
point of suggesting that he would not pursue the objective of 
independence.

There will be a period of protracted negotiations between Taiwan and the 
mainland. Eventually Taiwan will take its place together with Hong Kong and 
Macau as part of the Republic of China with a status similar to these two 
areas.

For many years the Government of the PRC has put forward the perfectly 
reasonable proposal based on the concept of one country, two systems.

This means that for a prolonged period of time, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan 
would retain a capitalist system in their areas while the Chinese mainland 
remains socialist.

Questions of foreign policy and the maintenance of the sovereignty of the 
Republic of China would rest with the central government.

The overwhelming majority of countries have extended recognition to the 
People's Republic of China and accepted the concept of one China.

This means acceptance of the historical fact that Taiwan is legitimately a 
part of China. Australia and the United States are among those states that 
have repeatedly reaffirmed their acceptance of this state of affairs.

But it is one thing to accept this reality and another to strictly adhere 
to it. Both the US and Australian Governments are looking for opportunities 
to wrest Taiwan from China and establish Taiwan as an independent state 
hostile to the PRC.

In the 1940s when the victorious Chinese Red Armies defeated the 
nationalist Kuomintang and chased the remnants of their armies to Taiwan, 
it was the US Seventh fleet that intervened in the Taiwanese Straits and 
protected the Kuomintang from total defeat.

The US and other powers have systematically built up the economy of Taiwan 
in an attempt to create a counter-weight to socialist China.

The Kuomintang had one merit, however. They recognised the unity of China 
and did not accept the creation of an independent Taiwan. The Kuomintang 
dreamed of returning to the Chinese mainland one day, overthrowing the 
Government of the PRC and restoring nationalist rule.

Despite the reactionary nature of the Kuomintang this did not suit the 
plans of the United States which has worked and conspired consistently to 
separate Taiwan in violation of repeated pledges and agreements between the 
US and China.

Years of negotiations between China and Taiwan have so far brought no 
tangible result and forces within Taiwan together with similar elements in 
the US continue to work hard for separation.

In this situation the Chinese Government has repeatedly asserted that it 
will never accept the separation of Taiwan and that, if necessary, military 
force would be used to defeat any separatist moves. The US continues to 
threaten to intervene with its own armed forces and has called upon China 
and Taiwan to settle their differences by negotiation.

This is just more hypocrisy coming from a state that only last year bombed 
Yugoslavia for three months and continues to bomb Iraq, has bombed Sudan 
and Libya, invaded Grenada, Panama, Somalia and maintains military bases in 
many countries throughout the world.

There are also those who think that any and every people should have the 
right to break away and form independent states, irrespective of the 
overall consequences or the interests of the people themselves.

One wonders what such people would say if, say, Western Australia, agitated 
and demanded that the people of WA alone should vote for or against WA 
independence. This would be a matter for all the people of Australia and 
not a limited group. For socialists, the issue is clear. The bottom line is 
the interests of socialism.
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