Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is Taiwan Ready for an Aggressive China?

Despite the rhetoric, Beijing still has not made Taiwan its No. 1 priority. Taipei cannot afford to wait for the day when it does, and in the meantime could made a few policy changes that would increase its chances of survival 

For all the harsh rhetoric coming out of China and growing frequency of exercises by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), it remains far from convincing that the unification of Taiwan is the top priority for Beijing. But that could change, and when it does, Taiwan had better be prepared to meet that extraordinary challenge. The problem is that, sadly, there are few signs of serious preparation in Taipei for that day. 

Things could be far worse. Notwithstanding Beijing’s saber-rattling and the lifting of term limits for President Xi Jinping, Taiwan remains one of a series of issues with which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has to grapple. Besides a looming trade war with America and spreading blowback by countries that feel threatened by China, there is every indication that the Chinese economy is headed for trouble. It is rife with contradictions and unsustainable in its present form. Although the economy will not contribute to the collapse of China or of the removal of the CCP from control, it is nevertheless sufficient to make President Xi uncertain as to his grip on power. In fact, Xi is increasingly paranoid about those who might want to unseat him—especially now that constitutional mechanisms for doing so have been dispensed with. The tightening of controls over almost every sector of Chinese society, as well as increased restrictions on the ability of Chinese to interact with their foreign counterparts, tells of a regime that feels insecure. In other words, China’s CCP and Xi is feared rather than loved. Therefore, state stability and regime survival, are the CCP’s top priority and will remain so for the foreseeable future. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Say What You Want, Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Is Not a Human Right

Expanding human rights so that visible minorities are treated as equals under the law should be the aspiration of any democratic society. The granting of such rights may clash with the views, opinions and beliefs of certain groups and individuals. But it does not, in any way, violate their human rights 

As anti-LGBT groups in Taiwan continue to warn society of the purported dangers associated with the legalization of same-sex unions, many have turned the tables on the issue by claiming that opposition to gay marriage is a human right and that it ought to be protected under the democratic principle of freedom of expression. 

By doing so, opponents seek to create a moral equivalence, one in which there is no right or wrong. This argument creates losers no matter what: as long as the issue continues to be debated, gays and lesbians remain unable to form a union like the rest of us; and should laws be promulgated that do permit same-sex unions, the losers would be the opponents, whose human rights would be “violated.”  

Continues here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

JAL, ANA Show How to Respond to Chinese Pressure

Yes, the two Japanese carriers have given in to Chinese pressure. But they may have found a formula that meets Beijing’s demands without imposing China’s ‘Orwellian nonsense’ on the rest of us 

Since April, dozens of airlines providing flights to China have been pressured by Chinese authorities to change how they refer to Taiwan on their web sites so as to avoid any reference that my suggest statehood for the island-nation. With very few exceptions, airlines have yielded to those demands and now refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China,” “Taipei, CN,” or other such designations. 

In many cases, governments have been reluctant to involve themselves in the matter, arguing that it is not their place to interfere in the decisions of private entities. Some governments have even denied being approached by airlines that sought assistance and guidance as they struggled to deal with the matter. (I’ve argued elsewhere that governments must regard this issue as a matter of foreign interference in our countries.) 

Continues here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nice Democracy You’ve Got There. Be a Shame If Something Happened to It

China's Communist Party is using thuggish proxies to disrupt Taiwan and Hong Kong 

Secret societies, criminal organizations, and triads have existed for centuries in China, but most were chased out after the victory of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1949 civil war. Triads continued to flourish in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — where many fled alongside Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Nationalists. But while the CCP drove them out of the mainland, the party has found them a very useful tool to disrupt and frustrate opponents in societies such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, where resistance to the party runs high. 

The CCP only had to turn to the Nationalists to see the benefits of secret societies. In the early days of the civil war, Chiang often relied on the Green Gang, a secret society based in Shanghai, to gather information on Communists and assault them physically when necessary. Chiang’s Nationalists had also developed a relationship with the 14K, a triad that, like the Green Gang, harassed Communists and relocated to Hong Kong after the war. 

Continues here.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Worry Not: The New AIT Compound in Taipei Will Not Derail US-China Relations

Much speculation has surrounded this month’s opening of the new de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan and the effects it could have on Sino-American relations and efforts to resolve the North Korea issue. There is no reason why the ceremony should affect any of this 

After years of delays, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S.’ new de facto embassy in Taiwan, will hold a ceremony on June 12 to dedicate its new complex in Neihu. Much speculation — and misunderstanding — has surrounded the event. This includes fears, in some circles, that the ceremony could “anger” Beijing or derail plans for a U.S.-North Korea summit the same week. 

At the heart of the issue are questions about which senior official, if any, the Donald Trump administration will send to the event, especially after the president’s signing, earlier this year, of the Taiwan Travel Act, a piece of legislation which encourages exchanges by senior U.S. and Taiwanese officials. 

Continues here.