rise of the nationalist faction of Taiwan and enumerates on its implication on the Taiwan-U.S. political relations. It has 9 sources in APA format.
The evolution of the Taiwanese has policy ramifications not just for Taiwan but also for China and the U.S.
The evolution of Taiwanese nationalism and the process of modernization and democratization
Ever since the Chinese Nationalist Party declared Taiwan as a free province after the victory of the Chinese revolution, Taiwan has remained as a political flashpoint between countries like China and the U.S. The fact that the superbly growing economic status of the country has been a factor that elicits international support does not come as a surprise because in the new world order, economic or political hegemony over such ‘profitable’ countries is a factor that can be quite advantageous to the super powers like the U.S. Off late, the tensions between countries like the U.S. And the UK on one hand and the Republic of China on the other often reached precarious levels which prompted many experts to believe that a war between the superpowers were imminent. China claims complete authority over Taiwan while Taiwan prefers to remain as a solemn and independent country. While China refuses to budge from its stance, the U.S. And similar powers would prefer to exercise control over the Taiwanese state economically, for which it is imperative that it remains as an independent nation devoid of any administrative control by China. It is in this scenario that the importance of the Taiwanese nationalist movement assumes importance, because it provides an alternative to the designs of both the U.S. And China. The fact that the nationalist movement could in future, assume a political stance that is entirely different from the U.S. And Chinese stance is a very plausible reality, which can disrupt the designs of the U.S. As well as the Chinese. This paper will try to evaluate the origin of Taiwanese nationalism, its development through the years and its present status as well as its influence in the new world order. This paper will also try to analyze the importance of the nationalist movement in the political atmosphere of the country and what it could do to the future of both Taiwan as well as China. Of course, the ramifications of any socio-political effect of the nationalistic movement will be felt by other countries in the Asian block as well
A. The Chinese influence on Taiwanese nationalism
It must be said that the aggression and the hegemonic attitude of the Chinese was a very strong factor that first initiated and then strengthened the Taiwanese nationalist sentiments. At present, there is a growing sentiment in the Taiwanese public to associate themselves with their homeland rather than consider themselves as part of the Chinese society. The poll verdicts and the rising sentiments against annexation with the Chinese mainland, all poignantly points to the fact that nationalism is a deep rooted sentiment in the Taiwanese society [Taifa Yu, 2004]. The decline of the pro-active Chinese sentiment in itself is a strong indicator of the fact that the Taiwanese society is against the annexation to the Chinese mainland. It is indeed very interesting to learn about the plethora of circumstances that led to the intensified nationalistic sentiments among the Taiwanese. The factors that led to the formation of strong nationalistic sentiments arose from so many factors among which the traditional mistrust harbored by the Chinese against the Taiwanese was a very important factor. The mainlanders never took the Taiwanese into confidence and this sentiment was reciprocated by the Taiwanese partly because of a reactionary sentiment, and partly because the sentiment was encouraged the elite and the political leadership in Taiwan, which discovered that nationalism was a powerful factor that could orient people on their sides. Whatever be the reason, it would suffice to say that the emotional chasm that developed between mainland Chinese and the Taiwanese were further aggravated by the socio political factors in the two regions [Taifa Yu, 2004]. As a further consequence, the fact that the mainlanders exercised domination over the islanders also led to a call for democracy and the popular sentiment in Taiwan was against political or administrative hegemony of any kind.
B. Taiwanese nationalism has raged though Taiwan’s political system.
While the political and social factors led to the formation of strong nationalistic sentiments in the country, patriotism developed as a strong emotional sentiment in Taiwan which resulted in a situation wherein any politician worth his name would not dare to utter anything in support of Chinese annexation. Taiwanese nationalism and the sentiment to remain independent are considered to be the popular sentiment of the people of Taiwan. In addition, the elite in Taiwan are also wary about the possible annexation with China since past Chinese actions have not been favorable to the elites. In the present political situation in which the elites have gained significant political power, political closeness to China is not tolerated in the country. In addition, the well-known atrocities of the Chinese government against free speech and political expression is a strong factor that prevents the educated elite from subjugating themselves to Chinese power even though they may be culturally closer to the Chinese [Zeitin, 2000]
The adherence to nationalistic sentiments by the Taiwanese was an important factor that is not acceptable to the Chinese government who considers Taiwan as a province of China. What the Taiwanese political leadership has understood beyond doubt is that they need to support the nationalistic fervor to remain in power and at the same time take measures to ensure that the powers in Beijing are kept in good humor so that a disastrous military showdown with China could be avoided. The fear psychosis attributed to the military might of China is in fact a strong cause that has encouraged Taiwanese policy makers to align themselves closer to other super powers like the U.S. And the UK. Taiwan has so far been able to thwart the designs of the Chinese government by insisting on preconditions for annexations, which they know will not be accepted by China. For example Taiwan has agreed for annexation if China adopts democracy.
II. Chinese hegemony over Taiwan- Military, political and economic domination
Over the past years, the political and military overtures of the Chinese in a bid to wrest control over Taiwan has also contributed significantly to anti-Chinese sentiments. For example, China has resorted to military aggression against Taiwan at least on three different occasions. In addition to military might, China has also resorted to diplomatic pressures against the Taiwanese and has often caused considerable embarrassment to the Taiwanese cause in the international forum. Rather than breaking the resolve of the Taiwanese, these measures have only considerably strengthened the resolve of the Taiwanese government to defy the proposal of an abject surrender to China. In the economic front, China has always encouraged a policy that has sought to heighten the economic dependence of Taiwan on China. However this may also backfire because if adequately supported internationally, Taiwanese firms will be able to withdraw their investments from China, which runs into billions of dollars. This is also a very great concern for China as well as Taiwan and throws open many possibilities if the current hostilities between the two nations continues unabated. It is believed that China is Taiwan’s third largest trading partner and that much of the investment that Taiwan undertakes in other countries like Hong Kong, finally reaches China [Leach, 2003]. National identities have also played their part in underlining the country’s economic freedom from China since many believe that China is dependent on Taiwan rather than Taiwan being dependent on China. It must be said that the fear and palpable aversion for the Chinese have kept the Taiwanese at bay and have prevented them from openly embracing the opportunities provide by China in the business sector [Wachman, 1994, pp 168, Maguire, 1998]. A cursory analysis of the trade proceeds between the U.S. And Taiwan will show that the country’s vulnerable military position has been capitalized by the U.S. For economic gains.
III The Shifting U.S. policy towards Taiwan
The stance taken by the U.S. government is also significant in this account. While the U.S. would like to see Taiwan as an independent country, due to the economic potential that it has, it has often sought a dialogue between China and Taiwan and even cajoled Taiwan for a dialogue with China, because it was mindful of the significant political relations with China. This blatant support for Chinese policies has significantly alienated the mainstream Taiwanese population from the U.S. because they believe that the U.S. may not be genuinely interested in their affairs and would be playing a political gimmick to keep the Chinese happy. In addition, no political party in Taiwan can take the politically suicidal stance of accepting a negotiated settlement with China because that would mean considerable erosion of support for them within the country.
IV: Taiwan’s refusal to comply with Chinese principles and U.S. Policies
From 1988 Taiwan’s political segregation from its military dominancy has given way to more openness to general bodies for election. With the election and president of President Lee the threat of interference from the military has decreased. With the majority of the Taiwanese population supporting general election, the constitution has been revised to cater to the masses [Ku 2002]. The recent actions of the U.S. especially after the relations between Taiwan and the U.S. have become closer are encouraging to the Taiwanese because the U.S. has been progressively taking a pro-independence stance with regard to Taiwan. On the other hand the Taiwanese government will also look to the U.S. As a protector of democracy since it has an established anti-communist policy [Baker, 2003]. The heightening of tensions between China and Taiwan will ultimately benefit the U.S. because Taiwan will have to depend on U.S. arms and ammunitions for creating a deterrent force that can at least moderately resist a possible attack from by the Chinese. The mutual defense treaty plan between the U.S. And Taiwan in 1954 was a significant shift in the U.S. policy that previously supported the concept of a unified China of which Taiwan was a part [PRC White Papers, 1993] As far as the U.S. is concerned, though many experts believe that China is a more important strategic partner for the U.S., the importance of Taiwan cannot be ignored particularly in the changing economic scene where Taiwan seems to be forging ahead much faster than China in the business sector [Lasater, 2000]
The rise of nationalistic movement in Taiwan has affected the country’s relationship with mainland China and recently other super powers of the country. In a global scenario where politics and economics play very vital roles, the effect of Taiwanese nationalistic sentiments can have many repercussions in the balance of power in the Asian region. However, the altercations between China and Taiwan will be most felt by Taiwan, China and the U.S.: the three countries that seems to be the most embroiled in the controversy over Taiwan’s independence. While most Taiwanese would want freedom from China, the stakes for achieving this object is high considering the fact that Taiwan’s most powerful ally, the U.S. might prefer to maintain a cordial relationship with China. However, the changing international equation has not affected Taiwan’s policy and resolve to detach itself from China’s control.
Taifa Y, (2004). Rise of Taiwanese Nationalism and Ramifications for Cross-strait Relations, retrieved at http://www.cnponline.org/Press%20Releases/Events/AbstractYu.htm. On March 5, 2004
Zeitlin A (2000). China-Taiwan conflict endangers Hong Kong free media, journalists charge, The Freedom Forum Online, retrieved at http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=2964on March 6, 2004
Baker, WB (2003). Cross-Strait Paradox: The China – Taiwan Tensions,” retrieved at http://students.washington.edu/wwbaker3/Documents/School/ChinaTaiwan.htm. On March 6, 2004
Leach, PT., (2003) “Bridge Across the Taiwan Strait”; ProQuest-Journal of Commerce
PRC Taiwan Affairs Office & Information Office State Council (1993). “The Taiwan Question and the Reunification of China”; People’s Daily-PRC White Papers, retrieved at http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/whitepaper/7.html
Wachman AM. (1994). Taiwan: National Identity and Democratization M.E. Sharpe. Armonk, NY.. Pp. 168.
Maguire K (1998). The Rise of Modern Taiwan, Ashgate Publishing Company.
Lasater ML., (2000). The Taiwan Conundrum in U.S. China Policy, Westview Press; Boulder, Co. pp.317
Ku, SC.Y. (2002).The political economy of regime transformation: Taiwan and Southeast Asia. World Affairs, Fall.
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