|Hong Kong Ripple Effect||
13 January 2020
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The people of Taiwan voted to return Tsai Ing-wen as President of the Republic of China on Saturday. She captured 57.1% of the vote, and her Democratic Progressive Party retained its majority in the legislature. This was first and last a snub to the People's Republic of China. She stands for Taiwanese sovereignty, although not quite de jure independence. "With each presidential election, Taiwan is showing the world how much we cherish our democratic way of life," she said at a news conference in Taipei. "We must work to keep our country safe and defend our sovereignty." That is a far cry from reunification.
This election was, in many ways, won in Hong Kong, or more accurately, lost by the PRC. Finishing second in the election was Han Kuo-yu, the standard bearer of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang. He pledged closer ties to Beijing, but the events in Hong Kong and Beijing's actions toward the protesters damaged his efforts. Like any good politician he took the blame for his loss, "I can only say that I didn’t work hard enough to live up to everyone’s expectations." However, President Xi on the mainland more than did his part to ensure a tide for the incumbent.
Ms. Tsai deliberately linked Hong Kong and Taiwan in a speech right before the polls opened. On Friday at a rally she said, "Young people in Hong Kong have used their lives and blood and tears to show us that ‘one country, two systems’ is not possible. Tomorrow it’s the turn of our young people in Taiwan to show them that the values of democracy and freedom will overcome all difficulties."
She said on Saturday, "The results of this election carry an added significance," a characteristically restrained Tsai told reporters here after her landslide win. "They have shown that when our sovereignty is threatened, the Taiwanese people will shout our determination even more loudly back."
The idea that one country, two systems is dead strikes at the heart of the PRC's irredentism. It wants Hong Kong back under the same legal system as the mainland. It wants Taiwan to be re-integrated into the mainland. The pleasant fiction that it is part of the PRC but is a rogue province is dying. And the PRC needs to come to grips with that. The Chinese Communist Party is ill-equipped to admit defeat.
But the people of Taiwan saw what has happened in Hong Kong, and they drew their own conclusions. "Having seen what’s happening in Hong Kong, I get it: the so-called one country, two systems is a Communist lie," said Allen Hsu, a student in Hong Kong who returned home to vote. "I hope Taiwan doesn’t end up sharing the same fate, with my children having to take to the streets 20 years from now to oppose the Communist Party."
The ChiCom leadership is terrified by this kind of thinking. The germ of democracy is alive and well on Taiwan, and every day the Republic of China survives, it is proof that the Chinese people don't have to settle for the unprincipled Marxist-Leninist-Maoist nonsense Beijing has used to keep the mainland in line. Ironically, independence for Taiwan might be better for the survival of the PRC. If the island were re-integrated, the freedoms and democratic habits the people have developed there may well persist under the PRC flag. How long the ChiCom government could survive without resorting to force would be measured in hours.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, "No matter what changes there are to the internal situation in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change." Perhaps, but the question is whether Taiwan's ballots represent China's future or whether Beijing's bayonets do.
© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.