In the face of bullying by Mainland China, Taiwan stands firm.
To refresh your memories: Like Korea, China is split into a Communist dictatorship and a free-market democracy. The former is the People’s Republic of China, generally called China, or Mainland China; the latter is the Republic of China, colloquially called Taiwan. This week, the Taiwanese had their presidential election. The result is a big deal — for them, and for us.
Beijing’s dictators insist that Taiwan is part of China and that they are, therefore, Taiwan’s legitimate rulers. Taiwan’s official position is similar — that there is only one China, and Taiwan is part of it. But in practice, within Taiwan there is a democratic divergence of opinion on the subject: The Kuomintang party — which founded the pre-Communist Chinese Republic, and which fled the mainland when the Chinese Communists won the civil war — is adamant in its support for eventual reunification, once Communism has been defeated. The Kuomintang regards Taiwan not as a separate country, but as the seat of China’s legitimate government-in-exile. The Democratic Progressive Party, on the other hand, sees Taiwan as a de facto sovereign country and would prefer it to shake off the restrictions of the one-China policy — namely, Taiwan’s inability to join international bodies like the U.N. or have diplomatic relations with any country that wants diplomatic relations with Beijing. The DPP is Taiwan’s primary and perennial opposition party; since the island’s bloodless democratic revolution in the Nineties, the DPP has won just two four-year presidential terms, and has never had a majority in the (one-house) legislature.
And that’s how Mainland China likes it. Despite having been the Communist Party’s mortal enemy in the civil war, the Kuomintang is functionally pro-China: It supports close relations with the Mainland, to keep the two territories culturally and economically connected in anticipation of an eventual free-market reunion. (Which, of course, is no ignoble ambition.)
These days, powerhouse that it is, Beijing believes it should always get what it wants. Mainland China responds to independent stirrings on Taiwan with military build-ups or war games on its side of the Taiwan Strait, and has even gone so far — in 2005 — as to pass an “anti-secession law,” which calls for the People’s Liberation Army to keep Taiwan in line, if necessary. And China’s threats are not idle. China has Taiwan outnumbered 60 to 1. Despite Taiwan’s having Israeli-style conscription, China’s military has 10 times more men than Taiwan’s, and spends 15 times as much. Even so: This election season, China overplayed its hand. As Taiwan’s presidential campaigns warmed up, China’s dictator, Xi Jinping, warned the island’s voters away from the DPP, saying that if he sees Taiwan moving toward independence, the “earth will move and mountains will shake.”
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Source: Taiwan Stands Firm