A Red Dragon Christmas?
December 7, 2003
By Toby Westerman
Copyright 2003 International News Analysis Today
China has warned that Taiwan is "playing with fire" if the island declares independence. Communist troops will storm onto the island, no matter what the casualties, and the leaders of Taiwan will be treated "as war criminals," -- this according to a recent broadcast from China Radio International, the official broadcasting service of the Chinese government.
The comments came after the leaders of Taiwan appeared ready to hold a referendum on independence and before next week's visit to the United States by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Among other topics, Wen is expected to urge U.S. President George W. Bush to end weapons sales to Taiwan.
The U.S. commitment to Taiwan began in1949, when defeated Republic of China forces of Chiang Kai-shek took refuge on the island following the triumph of the communists on the mainland. The presence of the U.S. military prevented the communists from crossing the Taiwan straits and attacking the island. Until 1978, the U.S. recognized the Republic of China on Taiwan as the only legitimate government of China.
In 1979 the U.S. withdrew all recognition from the island, leaving Taiwan's diplomatic identity in doubt.
Today, the mainland remains Communist, while Taiwan has developed into a full-fledged democracy.
Present official U.S. policy seeks to have the mainland and the island of Taiwan peacefully united under one mutually agreed upon government.
Beijing, however, is attempting to intimidate Taiwan into reuniting with the mainland using the threat of force if Taiwan remains separate. The Communist Chinese demand that the people of Taiwan adopt the so-called "one country, two systems" formula, which is currently used in Hong Kong, a former British colony. Hong Kong went back to Chinese rule in 1997.
Under "one country, two systems," Beijing controls external policies, but Hong Kong supposedly is allowed to operate its own economic and domestic political system, inherited from the British.
In point of fact, Beijing is unwilling to keep its word to Hong Kong, and a recent official statement, broadcast on Radio China International, warned that "Hong Kong's structures" must develop along the lines determined by the Chinese Communist government.
The "one country, two systems" approach apparently means, one nation with two forms of Communist rule. Most on Taiwan want no part of this system.
Because of Hong Kong's experience with Beijing, many in Taiwan believe that the island must declare its formal independence from the mainland.
The cost of independence, however, would mean nothing less than war with China. Chinese authorities have already made known that no cost will be too high to keep Taiwan under Beijing's rule.
For over a decade, the Chinese armed forces have also engaged in a stunning modernization program, with a great deal of technical and material help from Russia.
From the latest missile technology to the capacity to wage cyberwarfare, China has built what top Chinese Defense Ministry officials call a "great wall of steel."
While Taiwan has not ruled out eventual reunification with the mainland, Taiwanese officials emphasis that reunification can only occur when the mainland has implemented democratic reforms.
Taiwan boasts a democratic system of government with respect for human rights, while China is still a Communist dictatorship condemned for its human rights violations.
This Christmas Season, as we rush to buy gifts for friends and loved ones, it would be good to consider where our presents came from.
China is a major exporter to the U.S., but remains an aggressive Communist regime, which is very willing to use force to destroy the liberty of other people - even at a high cost in human lives and financial loss.
Do we want our money to help finance a growing military machine? China is not the only aggressive nation that demanded to acquire "lost lands" - by force if necessary. Nazi Germany made similar demands in the 1930s. How do we know if China will be satisfied with oppressing Hong Kong and crushing Taiwan?
Pentagon experts are concerned that a thoroughly modernized Chinese military could challenge American forces in the Pacific.
No one knows how far the Red dragon will go - do we want to help finance the Chinese military?
This is a question which we will answer this Christmas Season at checkout aisles across America.
You can hear this news statement on the December 6, 2003 program of Michael Corbin's For A Closer Look.
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