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« on: November 28, 2003, 02:07:33 pm »
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The Taiwan elections are in March 2004. Given the statements put out by the Chinese CCP, Mr. Chen, and the Bush administration, there could very well be a crisis on the Taiwan strait if Mr. Chen is re-elected. What do you think?
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2003, 04:56:36 pm »
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I pray each day that the demogogue Chen Sui-Bien does not win in 2004.  His is running a populist campaign to cover up his losy record on the economy.  At this stage the Lien-Soong ticket still have about a 60% chance of winning but the sly Chen could pull at lot of rabbits out of his hat.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2003, 10:44:18 am »
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I am from Taiwan Province myself.  Of course I am very biased.  I am Chinese reunifiaction and very hostile to Chen Sui-Bien.  Here is how I see the election matches up.  Traditionally the pro-unification pan-KMT parties has about 60% of the vote and the pan-DPP has about 35% of the vote.
A split in the KMT in 200 lead to a victory for Chen with 39% vote.  KMT candidate Lien got 23% and renegade KMT candidate Soong got 37%.

The breaking off of the pro-independence faction of the KMT in 2001 led by ex-KMT Chairman Lee realigned the 60-35 balance to 55-40 balance between the two blocs.  

Chen in March 2004 faces a Lien-Soong ticket.  The power of incumbancy should swing another 5% so the election should be a 50-45 affair with advantage for the KMT.  It is totally possible that Chen could provoke Mainland China ahead of the election and the resulting tensions could push Chen to victory.  

Polls either show a dead heat or Lien-Soong with a 5-10% lead.  Problem for Chen is that no poll show him with more than 40% support.  The undecided are at least 20% and in the USA most of that will go to the challanger.  But this is the Chinese province of Taiwan and not USA.  That is where the hope of the Chen campaign lies.

My prediction:  Lien 53 Chen 47.

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2003, 11:14:52 am »
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The last thing the world needs now is a war between the worlds 1st and 4th largest armies...
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2003, 11:57:01 am »
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I believe that the ROC armed forces does not number that high to be the 4th largest in the world.  For sure, American, Russian, India, North Korean, South Korean armed forces are larger.  
For sure a conflict should be avoided at all costs.  Back in 1996 it was more Mainland China's fault for increase in tensions.  This time it is 100% Taiwan with the Chen administration at the helm.
Of course the conflict might not last that long.  Most estimates have the ROC armed forces holding out between 22 hours to two weeks before utter defeat.  And that does not take into account of possible collapse of morale in the pro-unification ROC armed forces when they realize that they are fighting for Taiwan independence.   They might just defect en masse.  Diehard unificationsts on Taiwan Province like me might not number that high (5-15% dependending on how one counts it) but some will be working actively for the PLA in a conflict and bring the war to a quick resolution.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2003, 12:56:14 pm »
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I think it was 4th largest independent army(SK not counted)
I read it in an encyclopedia.
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2003, 09:04:00 am »
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Editorial from Indian newspaper The Hindu.  I could not have said it better myself.

--------------------------------------------------------------

TAIWAN'S PRESIDENT CHEN Shui-bian has embarked on a dangerous course by trying to harm the prospects of a political unification of the island with the People's Republic of China. In persisting with a plan for a referendum on proposals that will shape Taiwan's future, he seeks to reduce Beijing's role in the process that will define the character of One China. The People's Republic, which considers Taiwan as nothing more than a dissident province, has always treated the very notion of a referendum as anathema since it implies that the people of the island have a right to strive for independence. China warned Taiwan that it will resort to military action if the incipient effort to make the island a sovereign nation is not wound up. However, Mr. Chen has not abandoned his incendiary plan since he believes it will lead to his re-election. His record in office has been dismal and the Opposition had reason to believe that he could be defeated in the elections to be held in March 2004. The Opposition, which mainly consists of different factions of the Kuomintang, stands for reunification with the mainland provided the interests of its constituents are protected. In proposing that the referendum and the presidential poll be held simultaneously, Mr. Chen has tried to promote himself as the champion of an alternative scheme to protect the interest of the islanders. However, the Taiwanese are apprehensive about electing a person who might lead them into a confrontation with China. Mr. Chen has tried to convince them that the United States will come to their defence.

The Taiwanese leader was not deterred even after President George W. Bush endorsed China's position during Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's visit to Washington last week. Mr. Bush called on both sides to refrain from unilateral actions to change the status quo, described the referendum move as provocative, and expressed his opposition to the plan. While Beijing was satisfied with what it perceived as a clear warning to Taiwan, Mr. Chen preferred to believe that he had been left with a loophole. He was induced to do so because of the perceptible divisions within the U.S. administration on China policy. The Bush administration commenced its term by categorising China as a "strategic competitor" and swore that it would protect Taiwan at all costs. Its policy became more realistic once it understood the costs of alienating a great country that has emerged as an economic powerhouse and a leading player on the world stage. However, several key members of the administration have not subscribed to this change in approach. They take their cue from American neo-conservatives, a core component of Mr. Bush's support base, who were appalled at the apparent appeasement of China by their President. These ideologues could push the administration to change its policy in the months to come.

Beijing's opposition to the referendum proposal is based on the sound and just principle that Taiwan belongs to all the people of China, those on the island as well as the mainland. Its future status cannot be decided by those living on the island alone. China's leadership has assured the Taiwanese that it understands their yearning for democracy and respects their desire to control their destinies. However, Beijing will not tolerate any flouting of the One China principle. While force might be a last resort, the People's Republic has focussed on the actualities that promote closeness between the people of the mainland and those who live on the island. The economies of China and Taiwan are closely intertwined and people-to-people contacts are extensive. Beijing has urged Taiwan to concentrate on the development of these linkages instead of pursuing dangerous, madcap fantasies.

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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2003, 11:14:35 am »
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A conflict would obviously be bad, but Taiwan is after all a democracy and China is not. I think it is better for Taiwan to remain a good example than to be sucked into a Chinese dictature. And I am not convinced of the "two systems-talk", it doesn't seem to be working well in Hongkong. If people want to form independent nations, let them! China is essentially an imperialist state and should learn to behave themselves.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2003, 07:30:02 pm »
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A conflict would obviously be bad, but Taiwan is after all a democracy and China is not. I think it is better for Taiwan to remain a good example than to be sucked into a Chinese dictature. And I am not convinced of the "two systems-talk", it doesn't seem to be working well in Hongkong. If people want to form independent nations, let them! China is essentially an imperialist state and should learn to behave themselves.

That would be a CW position by someone from the liberal democratic West.  I am from the Orient and see things a bit differently.  First, I do not see Hong Kong as not working.   For me there is nothing any average Joe cannot do today they could do before 1997.  Sure Mainland China tried to push Act 21 down its throat.  But that act is not that much different from the American Patriotic Act the Bush administration pushed in the USA.  For sure the Hong Kong economy has not been doing as well recently.  But that has more to do with deflation related to economic integration with Guangdong province where the price gap between Hong Kong and Guandong is much larger than the productivity gap.  Deflaction and economic convergence is bound to take place regardless of the political sytsem.  I been visiting  Hong Kong once a year since the early 1990s and  on the whole Hong Kong has done quite well under One Country Two Systems.

As for my home province of Taiwan I really do not see the benifits of "democracy" and competitve politics.  I only see, since the early 1990s. competitve populism and poor economic mangement.  Funny how more "democratic" Taiwan gets the worse its public policy gets.  Corruption, the budget deficit, crime, unemployment and so on all have surged since the early 1990s.  In fact, one million people from Taiwan province have migrated to and are living in Mainland China today.  Funny how fully 5% of the population of "democratic" Taiwan prefer authoritarian Mainland China.  A poll of residents of Shanghai from Taiwan Province showed that they consider the quality of life in all respects are superior in Shanghai than Taipei.  The one exception, and I can atest to that, is health care, where the gap between Shanghai and Taipei is still large.  

It is funny that the economic mismagement of Chen Sui-Bien that drove that one million people from Taiwan to migrate to Mainland China actually helps his reelection campaign.  Reason is that most of that one million are urban, middle-class, highly educated, and ages 30-50.  That fits the strongest demographic profile of the pro-reunification Pan-Blue opposition.  The ruling pro-independence Pan-Green bloc led by Chen are strong in rual, low-income, low-education and 60+.  In other words, Chen is strong with the Bubbas and Billy Bobs of Taiwan Province, many of whom would vote for Pan-Green no matter what.  Truely ironic.  One of the first cases of elecoral politics where economic mismangement actually HELPS the incumbent.
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2003, 07:16:54 am »
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A conflict would obviously be bad, but Taiwan is after all a democracy and China is not. I think it is better for Taiwan to remain a good example than to be sucked into a Chinese dictature. And I am not convinced of the "two systems-talk", it doesn't seem to be working well in Hongkong. If people want to form independent nations, let them! China is essentially an imperialist state and should learn to behave themselves.

That would be a CW position by someone from the liberal democratic West.  I am from the Orient and see things a bit differently.  First, I do not see Hong Kong as not working.   For me there is nothing any average Joe cannot do today they could do before 1997.  Sure Mainland China tried to push Act 21 down its throat.  But that act is not that much different from the American Patriotic Act the Bush administration pushed in the USA.  For sure the Hong Kong economy has not been doing as well recently.  But that has more to do with deflation related to economic integration with Guangdong province where the price gap between Hong Kong and Guandong is much larger than the productivity gap.  Deflaction and economic convergence is bound to take place regardless of the political sytsem.  I been visiting  Hong Kong once a year since the early 1990s and  on the whole Hong Kong has done quite well under One Country Two Systems.

As for my home province of Taiwan I really do not see the benifits of "democracy" and competitve politics.  I only see, since the early 1990s. competitve populism and poor economic mangement.  Funny how more "democratic" Taiwan gets the worse its public policy gets.  Corruption, the budget deficit, crime, unemployment and so on all have surged since the early 1990s.  In fact, one million people from Taiwan province have migrated to and are living in Mainland China today.  Funny how fully 5% of the population of "democratic" Taiwan prefer authoritarian Mainland China.  A poll of residents of Shanghai from Taiwan Province showed that they consider the quality of life in all respects are superior in Shanghai than Taipei.  The one exception, and I can atest to that, is health care, where the gap between Shanghai and Taipei is still large.  

It is funny that the economic mismagement of Chen Sui-Bien that drove that one million people from Taiwan to migrate to Mainland China actually helps his reelection campaign.  Reason is that most of that one million are urban, middle-class, highly educated, and ages 30-50.  That fits the strongest demographic profile of the pro-reunification Pan-Blue opposition.  The ruling pro-independence Pan-Green bloc led by Chen are strong in rual, low-income, low-education and 60+.  In other words, Chen is strong with the Bubbas and Billy Bobs of Taiwan Province, many of whom would vote for Pan-Green no matter what.  Truely ironic.  One of the first cases of elecoral politics where economic mismangement actually HELPS the incumbent.

The people will occassionally reject democracy like the Germans in the 30s. It is sad but not "good" or supportive of an argument against democracy.
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2003, 01:09:38 pm »
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I am not opposed to democracy.  But I see it as a means not an end.  Same could be said for the one million people from Taiwan Province that moved to the Mainland.  Most of them I am sure have no problem with democracy in the abstract.  It is that at that place, at time, that particular stage of development, the so-called "democarcy" on Taiwan Province is not delivering the correct policies for them thrive in an economic sense.  

I think there is a misconception of definitions here.  I think most of the positive aspects you think of when the word "democracy" is used should really be refered to as "civil society."  While there is for sure some correlation between the two, one does not necessary imply the latter.  Competitive electoral politics has not made Taiwan any less corrupt than the authoritarian 1980s.  In fact it is even more corrupt today.  Ditto for places like India, Philippines, and so on.  

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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2003, 04:32:12 pm »
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I am not opposed to democracy.  But I see it as a means not an end.  Same could be said for the one million people from Taiwan Province that moved to the Mainland.  Most of them I am sure have no problem with democracy in the abstract.  It is that at that place, at time, that particular stage of development, the so-called "democarcy" on Taiwan Province is not delivering the correct policies for them thrive in an economic sense.  

I think there is a misconception of definitions here.  I think most of the positive aspects you think of when the word "democracy" is used should really be refered to as "civil society."  While there is for sure some correlation between the two, one does not necessary imply the latter.  Competitive electoral politics has not made Taiwan any less corrupt than the authoritarian 1980s.  In fact it is even more corrupt today.  Ditto for places like India, Philippines, and so on.  



Well, we just disagree then. I do believe democracy in the long run out-performs other systems in all areas. It is both principally right and practically beneficial. But if you don't agree, you don't agree. I am also not convinced that Taiwan is doing as badly as you think economically, but I don't have any exact figures in my head. The only strong argument against independence that I would agree on is that China would actually be imperialist enough to invade, or something similarily stupid.
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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2003, 07:00:54 am »
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I believe in strong democracy, however I also believe in keeping out of other nations internal affairs. Leave Taiwan and China to battle it out amongst themselves for goodness sakes!
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2003, 07:10:02 am »
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I believe in strong democracy, however I also believe in keeping out of other nations internal affairs. Leave Taiwan and China to battle it out amongst themselves for goodness sakes!

I wonder how that would turn out for Taiwan? I believe in international law. If China would interfere with the internal affairs of what should rightly be a sovereign state, the international community should back up Taiwan. Sadly, we lack the moral force to do this. Even president Bush, so often praised for his moral approach to dictatorial regimes has betrayed Taiwan. Sad how far western politicians are ready to go in order to appease China.
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2003, 07:54:41 am »
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I agree, I back Taiwan's stance completely. Democracy should always be encouraged. That said, I would not favour military involvement. It would be catastrophic. Peaceful means of cohersion should be used instead (Sanctions etc.)
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2003, 08:35:25 am »
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I agree, I back Taiwan's stance completely. Democracy should always be encouraged. That said, I would not favour military involvement. It would be catastrophic. Peaceful means of cohersion should be used instead (Sanctions etc.)

Yeah, I'm not advocating a war with China, believe me!
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2003, 11:16:34 am »
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China does worry me enormously. They have a diabolical human rights record and a dreadful attitude to the environment. This has included flooding the 3 gorges and displacing millions of people. Shameful. Hopefully however, as the Chinese become wealthier and more vocal there will be a strong demand for reform and democracy will prevail. Military action of any kind is out of the question. Not only does China have the worlds largest army, but they also have nukes and wouldn't need much provokation to use them I'm sure.
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2003, 03:46:35 pm »
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But that is a problem.  TAIWAN IS NOT A SOVEREIGN STATE.  Republic of China(ROC) is a sovereign state.  As per the Constitution of the Republic of China, Taiwan and Mailand China both belong to ROC.  As per the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of China(PRC), Taiwan and Mainland China belong to PRC.   This is a classic CIVIL WAR.  International law for sure does NOT apply.  If a PRC attack on Taiwan Province violates international law then when PRC took over Hainan Island in 1950 from ROC armed forces and ROC, that act should also be considered a violation of international law.  As of March 1950, the legal status of Hainan Island (same place the US spy plane was forced to land back in April 2001) and Taiwan Province were the same.  Do not see why the attack by PRC in 1950 was legal and an attack today on Taiwan Province is illegal under international law.

The UN got it right: "There is only One legal govenment of China and Taiwan is part of that One China."  

This is a domestic affair of the Chinese.  International law does not apply.
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2003, 03:50:20 pm »
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China does worry me enormously. They have a diabolical human rights record and a dreadful attitude to the environment. This has included flooding the 3 gorges and displacing millions of people. Shameful. Hopefully however, as the Chinese become wealthier and more vocal there will be a strong demand for reform and democracy will prevail. Military action of any kind is out of the question. Not only does China have the worlds largest army, but they also have nukes and wouldn't need much provokation to use them I'm sure.

I actually think in the opposite.  If democratic politics were to take place on Mainland China today, then for sure rapid populist ultranationalist parties will for sure win in an election.  Most urban Mainland Chinese are for a war ASAP to take over Taiwan Province.  The ruling Chinese Communist Party is taking a long term view and holding back such outbursts.  Democracy now would most likley mean war over Taiwan Province.  

I still hold out hope that Chinese reunification can be achieved via peaceful means.  But a pre-requsite of that would have to be NO FREE elections on the Mainland for a while.  Democracy would lead to populism and then lead to war.
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2003, 04:02:14 pm »
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On the issue of Mainland Chinese human rights.  I have been visiting the Mainland once every couple of years since the mid 1980s.  I can report they made huge progress in that area.  Of course I define it as what an averge Joe can do and what the government will let him do.  I still strongly object to their "One Child Policy" and their policies on "Religion."  I found those two policies more than any other getting in the way of everyday life for the average Joe.  But again, whereas I used to be very hostile to the Communist regime back in the 1980s I find myself approving of this regime more and more over the years in this area.
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2003, 07:18:36 am »
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But that is a problem.  TAIWAN IS NOT A SOVEREIGN STATE.  Republic of China(ROC) is a sovereign state.  As per the Constitution of the Republic of China, Taiwan and Mailand China both belong to ROC.  As per the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of China(PRC), Taiwan and Mainland China belong to PRC.   This is a classic CIVIL WAR.  International law for sure does NOT apply.  If a PRC attack on Taiwan Province violates international law then when PRC took over Hainan Island in 1950 from ROC armed forces and ROC, that act should also be considered a violation of international law.  As of March 1950, the legal status of Hainan Island (same place the US spy plane was forced to land back in April 2001) and Taiwan Province were the same.  Do not see why the attack by PRC in 1950 was legal and an attack today on Taiwan Province is illegal under international law.

The UN got it right: "There is only One legal govenment of China and Taiwan is part of that One China."  

This is a domestic affair of the Chinese.  International law does not apply.

When Hitler holocausted the Jews it was not a domestic affair. When Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds it was not a domestic affair. And if China invades what is for all practical purposes an independent democratic state, then it will NOT be a domestic affair. If you read my post you will notice it says "what should rightly be a sovereign state". I know it isn't, but it should be. They have a different political system and should be allowed to pursue it. You have previosly drawn comparisons with the imperialistic policies of Western powers in the nineteenth century and I am inclined to agree. But that was a hundred years ago and China should start readjusting itself to a modern world where you don't use out-dated imperialist arguments to force yourself on other peoples. Like Tibet, Hongkong or Taiwan.
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« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2003, 12:10:23 pm »
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I am afriad we will have to agree to disagree.  All those events you spoke of I also consider domestic affairs.  However I condem those events, I feel that they are the affairs of others.

I view a PRC attack on Taiwan Province the same as the USA assult and suppression of the in 1861-5 Southern Independence movenment.  Same as the 1995 crushing by Croatia of the Serb Republic of Krimnia.  Why not demand these acts of "violation of international law" be reversed, if we were to take your logic?

If a PRC attack of Taiwan Province is an international affair, then the PRC takeover of Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, SzeChuan, GuiZhou, Gansu, and XingJiang provinces in late 1949 after the formation of the PRC are also international affairs.  Ditto for the PRC takeover of Hainan Island in 1950.  Why not demand the return of such provinces to the Taipei based ROC regime? Why do we allow such violations of "international law" not to be reversed?  By not reversing them are we not encouraging futher violations of such "international law"?

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« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2003, 03:15:04 pm »
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I am afriad we will have to agree to disagree.  All those events you spoke of I also consider domestic affairs.  However I condem those events, I feel that they are the affairs of others.

I view a PRC attack on Taiwan Province the same as the USA assult and suppression of the in 1861-5 Southern Independence movenment.  Same as the 1995 crushing by Croatia of the Serb Republic of Krimnia.  Why not demand these acts of "violation of international law" be reversed, if we were to take your logic?

If a PRC attack of Taiwan Province is an international affair, then the PRC takeover of Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, SzeChuan, GuiZhou, Gansu, and XingJiang provinces in late 1949 after the formation of the PRC are also international affairs.  Ditto for the PRC takeover of Hainan Island in 1950.  Why not demand the return of such provinces to the Taipei based ROC regime? Why do we allow such violations of "international law" not to be reversed?  By not reversing them are we not encouraging futher violations of such "international law"?



I agree that we will probably have to agree to disagree!
Reversing and preventing aren't the same thing. You would have to agree that the unwarranted Swedish assault on Denmark in 1657 was a violation of international law (to give one odd example). Does that mean we should return the terrtory we claimed in the peace of 1658? No, history is history. The future is another issue.
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jaichind
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2004, 10:13:15 pm »
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Economist Intelligence Unit predicts a Lien-Soong victory over Chen-Lu 55-45 in March 2004.  Most bookies in Taiwan Province itself handicaps Lien-Soong 6% or so implying a 53-47 victory.  Due to confusion in the Chen-Lu camp over the harsh words of USA President Bush on the DPP proposed referendum polls has moved in the direction of Lien-Soong.  Whereas the gap used to be around 5-10% in the polls it is now around 10-15%.  Chen's recent momentum has been broken.  Eventually the Chen camp will re-group but might have to call off the referendum due to threats from Mainland China and USA or at least water it down so it becomes meaningless.
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Chinese from Taiwan Province.  Now in New York City suburb of Scarsdale.  Ex-GOP now Libertarian.
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2004, 11:00:49 pm »
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Definently a situation that no-one wants.

Although I hope you are right, jaichind, and Chen loses, but i'm going to be a pessimist for this vote.

Chen and a crisis.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2004, 11:01:24 pm by hughento »Logged

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