Taiwan's Independence, R.I.P.
by Bevin Chu
Taiwan independence is dead. It died, stillborn. Taiwan independence was the triumph of petty tribalist politics over economics. That is, until the unalterable laws of the marketplace turned the Taiwan independence zealots' dream to dust. In retrospect, no other result was possible, or should have been expected.
TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE IS DEAD
A funny thing happened to the Taiwan independence. As it was being rushed to the maternity ward it died, stillborn.
On May 20, 2000, oriental despot Lee Teng-hui, in a brazenly fixed "democratic" election, "peacefully transferred" his imperial presidency to longtime Taiwan independence demagogue Chen Shui-bian.
"Taiwan's Fraudulent Election"
By October 2000, five short months after Chen's "historic" victory at the polls, Taiwan independence had been utterly discredited. Anyone on Taiwan not blinded by wishful thinking could see Taiwan independence was a bankrupt ideology and a spent political force.
The TAIEX, had plummeted to a 52 week low of 5000 from a high of 11,000, leaving Taiwan's shareholders, who are mostly small, individual investors, poorer by half. A quarter of all manufacturing facilities on Taiwan had closed their doors forever, or were in the process of doing so. Out of work factory workers were committing suicide by running hoses from their exhaust pipes into their cars. A-Bian's approval rating had plummeted accordingly, from a high of 80% on inauguration day to 35%. Voters who had cast their ballots for Chen were calling into local TV talk shows to confess they now regretted their choice.
Billionaire industrialist Wang Yung-ching, CEO of Formosa Plastics, an Horatio Alger hero revered by all on Taiwan as "The God of Enterprise," was demanding that A-Bian immediately acknowledge the One China Principle and open "Three Links" to the Chinese mainland ASAP, or else Taiwan's economy would be done for within three years. "We're all Chinese on both sides of the Strait after all," Wang affirmed, "what's the problem?" "The Lee Period was not as good as the Chiang Ching-kuo Era," Wang added for good measure, "and the Chen Period is even worse than the Lee Period."
A surprisingly cohesive alliance consisting of the ROC's three major opposition parties, the Kuomintang (without Lee Teng-hui at the helm, naturally), the New Party, and the People First Party, representing 61% of the voting public, was loudly demanding Chen Shui-bian's recall.
Academia Sinica Chairman and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Lee Yuan-tseh, head of A-Bian's own hand-picked Brain Trust, was sternly admonishing Chen, "Time is not on our side," echoing the New Party's long-held cross Straits policy stance, sounding remarkably like a pro reunification opposition spokesman.
Former DPP chairmen Hsu Hsing-liang and Shih Ming-teh, along with former DPP PR chief Sissy Chen, three of the DPP's brightest lights, had resigned from the party in disgust and become the Taiwan independence movement's harshest, most effective and most feared critics. Shih Ming-teh wryly noted, in what has to be the irony of all ironies, "It took Lee Teng-hui twelve years to divide the KMT into three [rival parties], but Chen Shui-bian only five months to unite them back into one."
Even the Dalai Lama had gotten in the act, and was cautioning Chen that in light of Taiwan's close cultural and economic affinity with mainland China, it is unimaginable that the island could be separated from mainland China and become fully independent.
Who could have imagined the tide would turn so quickly?
THE TRIUMPH OF POLITICS OVER ECONOMICS
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
- George Santayana
What happened was the great American historian George Santayana was vindicated, for the umpteenth time. The lesson of history it would seem, is nobody ever learns a damned thing from history.
The underlying cause of the Taiwan independence movement's shockingly swift collapse, at its apparent moment of triumph, was in fact glaringly obvious, at least to anyone not blinded by his own political zealotry.
"It was the economy, stupid!"
The trump card for Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo in their Cold War era struggle against Mao Tse-tung was the ROC's economic wealth. Just as it was for West Germany and South Korea. It was the capitalist ROC's reward for putting economics ahead of politics. As Deng Xiaoping, "Capitalist Roader No. Two" would later put it, "White cat, black cat. As long as it catches rats it's a good cat."
The mainland's grinding poverty was the Maoist hard-liners' bitter harvest for putting politics ahead of economics. As the late, unlamented Chairman himself put it, "Better Red than Expert." It would also be the reason for Taiwan's alarmingly swift descent into newfound poverty under petty collectivists Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian.
"A Brush-Off for Business, Chen needs to rebuild confidence -- fast"
Lee Teng-hui and his Taiwan separatist nomenklatura have never really understood how the wealth that just fell into their laps was created in the first place. Like nomenklatura everywhere, immense public wealth to them is like air. It's free. It's theirs. And there's plenty more where it came from. As the late Senator Dirksen quipped, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money."
Lee Teng-hui's chief economic "achievement" was to squander in a single decade what ROC taxpayers had diligently amassed over the previous four. Lee cavalierly frittered away the ROC's economic advantage greasing the palms of everybody from tin pot dictators to foreign arms merchants to rabid anti-China hawks in "the world's greatest deliberative body" all in a extravagant and quixotic effort to lay the groundwork for a "Republic of Taiwan."
Lee, who does not consider himself Chinese but rather Japanese, misused the immense resources of the ROC government and KMT party machinery to foment hatred. Not against a misguided and destructive ideology known as Marxism-Leninism, but against the entire Chinese people.
THE RACIST CORE OF TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE POLITICS
Taiwan "independence" ideologues neglected the ROC economy, because its devotees among the left of center DPP and TAIP have never really believed their own high-minded rhetoric about why they were demanding independence. As their post-election behavior makes abundantly clear, it wasn't respect for the value of freedom or "democracy." And it certainly wasn't reverence for the sanctity of private property or the free market. Instead Taiwan independence was motivated by anti-Chinese race hatred rooted in the Stockholm Syndrome.
Some Taiwan independence extremists among the DPP and TAIP leadership harbor a seldom acknowledged motive for their exaggerated Japanophilia and Sinophobia. They are Japanese on their paternal side. They are illegitimate offspring of unfortunate Taiwan Chinese women sexually molested by Japanese soldiers during Japan's brutal 50 year colonial occupation.
Like Adolph Hitler, who suspected he was part Jewish, but despised that aspect of his background, some Taiwan independence zealots have attempted to cope with their painful inner conflict by identifying exclusively with their Japanese half and utterly disowning their Chinese half. They loath anything and everything Chinese, because being Chinese is associated in their tortured psyches with contempible weakness and impotence. They strive desperately to be "more Japanese than the Japanese" because being Japanese is associated with a comforting sense of efficacy and power.
Lee Teng-hui is widely believed to be just such an individual. A family portrait of the Lee family reveals an adolescent Lee Teng-hui who bears no resemblance whatsoever to his nominal father, Lee Ching-lung, but an uncanny resemblance to the Japanese police officer standing in the background, the elder Lee's superior officer and "friend of the Lee family."
I have refrained from alluding to this skeleton in the Taiwan independence closet up til now because mere mention of it could be misconstrued as racism. In fact the racism is not mine, but theirs.
Just north of Korea's China border, a visitor to the region will encounter Chinese citizens of ethnic Korean descent. They fled to China during the chaos of the Korean War. They are considered every bit as "Chinese" as so-called "Han" Chinese.
In Japan on the other hand, even ethnic Koreans who have lived in Japan for four generations are still considered "sangokujin" or "dangerous aliens" by Japanese demagogues such as neofascist Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, a close friend of Taiwan independence fanatics Lee Teng-hui and Annette Lu.
Dr. Wendy Abraham of the Sino-Judaic Institute of Menlo Park, California tells a little known story of the early settlement of Jews in China. Hebrew documents found along the ancient Silk Road reveal Jewish traders travelled to China as early as the Tang dynasty. China is the only nation in the world, Abraham notes, that has never persecuted the Jews for their religious beliefs. Today there are descendants of Kaifeng Jews in China that still identify themselves as ethnically Yutai, i.e., Jew, in the government census forms.
"Lost Jews of Kaifeng"
THE HIGH COST OF RACISM
"I know perfectly well... that in a scientific sense there is no such thing as race... but I as a politician need a conception which enables the order which has hitherto existed... abolished and an entirely new... order... given an intellectual basis."
- Adolph Hitler
Lee Teng-hui's cross straits policy of "Avoid Haste, Be Patient," which does not deserve the term "policy," eventually hollowed out the ROC economy. Did Lee give a damn? Was concern for ordinary Taiwan Chinese ever foremost in Lee's mind? Hardly. If nullifying the ROC's hard won economic miracle was the price of manipulating Taiwan Chinese into hating mainland Chinese, to the strategic advantage of Japanese neofascists, so be it.
The only people Lee has ever identified with are Japanese. Not decent, ordinary Japanese, but the fascist Hirohito and neofascist Shintaro Ishiharo. As New Party legislator Fung Hu-hsiang astutely observed, to understand Lee Teng-hui's perspective on any issue, simply imagine how a right wing Japanese militarist would see the same issue, and you will have your answer.
The irony of course is that Lee's "Taiwan independence now, Taiwan independence forever, to hell with the cost" policy has left his own hand-picked successor without the means to carry on his holy crusade. Lee's profligate Taiwan independence chickens have come home to roost in Chen's bankrupt coop.
One could almost feel sorry for A-Bian. Almost.
THERE IS ONLY ONE RACE
"There is only one race, the human race."
- Pearl Bailey
"Today, many anthropologists speak of clines, or gradations, to distinguish between degrees of genetic closeness that include differences in skin color, propensity toward diseases, and all the other factors-visible and hidden-that make us what we are. Geneticists speak of lineages, or haplotypes, when they describe the different subgroups that have descended from our common ancestors. The old distinctions between what were once called races persist in everyday speech, but they are becoming linguistically and ideologically obsolete and as far removed from science as the once exalted study of alchemy."
-- Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles & Marilyn Nissenson
China is a political entity with venerable unifying cultural heritage, but the Chinese are not a race. The Chinese couldn't be racists demanding "racial purity," even if they wanted to be. The Chinese have been mutts or mongrels of mixed, indeterminate origin since time immemorial. Both Beijing and Taipei agree that China is comprised of roughly 56 "official" ethnic groups. Both are also aware the lines between these "official" categories are so blurred as to be virtually meaningless.
Even so-called "Hans" are not a homogenous ethnic group. What was once referred to as "Han China" has been invaded so many times over so many centuries, quite frankly nobody knows who's who anymore, or cares. Confront any modern Chinese with this aspect of China's history and their puzzled reaction will invariably be, "That's interesting isn't it? Why do you mention it?"
Human beings are simply human beings. Leading edge research on human DNA has confirmed what most unprejudiced individuals already knew. Inheritable differences attributed to "race," are of insufficient magnitude to constitute distinct subspecies. In other words as far as geneticists and molecular biologists are concerned, race is a non-category, a fiction.
A HISTORY LESSON
Taiwan independence quislings routinely assert that Taiwan's economic miracle was "built on a foundation of efficient Japanese colonial rule" and owes little or nothing to mainland China, or even "mainlanders" on Taiwan. Those familiar with China's history know this is a textbook example of The Big Lie. While smugly proclaiming their total independence from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan separatist spinmeisters have consistently evaded three inconvenient realities.
One, Chinese Sweat. A mainland Chinese administration masterminded the Taiwan region's post war economic miracle.
Two, Chinese Money. Taiwan's gold reserves came straight out of the vaults of China's Central Bank in Nanking.
Three, Chinese Blood. The Taiwan region was spared an eternity of Japanese colonial overlordship, as well as Mao's collectivist excesses by pro-capitalist mainland Chinese who refused to yield to either.
A mainland Chinese administration masterminded the Taiwan region's post war
The vaunted "Japanese infrastructure" Taiwan independence zealots refer to so sentimentally, including manufacturing plants and the rail system, was destroyed during the final years of WWII by USAF B-29s. It was blown to smithereens. It no longer existed. It was gone. Lying in ruins.
So how could it have contributed anything whatsoever to Taiwan's current prosperity?
It couldn't. It didn't.
In fact Taiwan's modern day infrastructure and industrial plants were constructed from the ground up from the rubble of WWII, during the administrations of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo.
Chiang Kai-shek parceled out public land administered by the ousted colonial government to impoverished Taiwan Chinese peasants to be used for agriculture, or to Taiwan Chinese entrepreneurs, to be used as factory sites for basic industries. Even occupation era landlords, who if truth be told were Japanese collaborators, were generously compensated with shares in the newly established companies. Both peasants and former landlords prospered. Lee Teng-hui crony Ku Chen-fu's family was compensated with shares in Taiwan Cement. Ku Chen-fu today is a billionaire.
Taiwan's gold reserves came straight out of the vaults of China's Central Bank in Nanking.
When the Japanese were defeated and forced to retreat to Japan's main islands, the Bank of Taiwan was bankrupt. Japan's fascist government had squandered all of Japan's wealth on its megalomaniac campaign of hemispheric conquest, and had emptied Taiwan's coffers in the process. The Taiwan dollar in 1945 was worth roughly as much as Confederate money in 1865. In other words, it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. No one in his right mind would accept Taiwan dollars, because they were fiat currency backed by nothing, nada.
Taiwan as a result had no way to rebuild.
In 1949, when Mao's CCP defeated the KMT, Chiang Kai-shek shipped the entire gold reserves of China's Central Bank in Nanking, 920,000 liangs worth, to Taipei. This gold was used to back the New Taiwan Dollar, making possible Taiwan's economic recovery and subsequent economic miracle. In the process the vast expanses of China's mainland provinces and regions were impoverished for the benefit of one tiny offshore province, Taiwan.
Somebody owes somebody, big time.
The Taiwan region was spared an eternity of Japanese colonial overlordship, as well as Mao's collectivist excesses by pro capitalist mainland Chinese who refused to yield to either.
Had Taiwan independence activists led a successful Taiwan-based revolt between 1895 and 1945, during the half century Japan occupied Taiwan, they could argue, with some justification, that "Although China ceded Taiwan to Japan, we broke away from Japan on our own, only as Taiwanese, not Chinese, therefore we earned our independence, not only from Japan, but also China."
That however is not what happened.
Taiwan was emancipated from an eternity of degrading Japanese colonial rule in 1945 through the sacrifices of millions of fellow Chinese on the mainland. The price they paid was staggering. Between 1.3 and 2.2 million Chinese military deaths. Between 13 and 22 million Chinese civilian deaths. Taiwan is no longer under the Japanese yoke today only because millions of mainland Chinese sacrificed their lives resisting Japan's infernal war machine for eight hellish years.
The vast majority of ordinary Taiwan Chinese who kept a low profile, obeyed the Japanese occupation forces under duress, at the point of Japanese bayonets, are innocent and blameless. Taiwan Chinese were kidnap victims rescued from their abductors by their mainland relatives. Taiwan's "comfort women," like the 300,000 victims of the Rape of Nanking, were fellow victims of brutal Japanese aggression. Mainland Chinese and "mainlanders" on Taiwan feel a deep sense of solidarity with them.
Taiwan independence quislings on the other hand, not only made it more difficult for mainland Chinese to defeat Japan and liberate Taiwan, they made it more difficult for any Taiwan Chinese who dared contemplate the overthrow of their Japanese overlords from within Taiwan. The young Lee Teng-hui should count himself as lucky he wasn't prosecuted at war's end for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
The Taiwan region of China was spared Mao's crackpot Marxist Leninist misrule only because Chiang Kai-shek transferred China's national capital from Nanking and carried on his anticommunist resistance from Taipei. Had Chiang and his Nationalist Party leadership lost heart and sought political asylum abroad, as they could easily have done, Mao would have overrun Taiwan in a matter of weeks.
Their sacrifices spared all Chinese on Taiwan from the Three Antis, Five Antis "struggle campaigns" chillingly depicted in "Farewell, My Concubine," from the People's Communes, which tore infants from their mothers, from the Great Leap Forward, which reduced millions to eating grass and tree bark before dying of starvation, from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which deprived an entire generation of Chinese youth of a sound education and fulfilling career.
Craven cowardice and rank ingratitude have a name. That name is Taiwan
TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE, R.I.P.
Taiwan independence, in retrospect, was doomed from the moment of its unholy conception. Only the timing of the Taiwan independence movement's sudden implosion was unexpected, and caught everyone from Taiwan independence zealots to defenders of One China off guard. The collapse of Taiwan independence in 2000 was as unexpected as the fall of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact beginning in 1989. Yet given the larger geo-economic forces arrayed against the economic collectivism of the Eastern Bloc and the petty tribalist collectivism of Taiwan Independence, its downfall was every bit as inevitable.
"International Trade and National Security"
The beast known as Taiwan Independence is dead. It simply doesn't realize it yet. Like Dr. Malcolm Crowe in M. Night Shyamalan's masterful 1999 metaphysical thriller, "The Sixth Sense," it walks, it talks, unaware of what has happened to it. When comprehension finally dawns however, the ring on its phantom finger will fall to the floor, and Taiwan independence True Believers will awaken to the shocking truth.
Taiwan Independence, Rest in Peace.
Unlike the sensitive, compassionate child psychologist portrayed by Bruce Willis, the unexpected death of Taiwan Independence, a beast motivated at its core by small-minded bigotry is no loss to the world.
It will not be missed.
copyright reserved by the author