China hosts dialogue between Palestinian factions

As part of its support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people, and to encourage and facilitate unity in the ranks of the Palestinian liberation movement, China hosted talks between Fatah and the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas in Beijing on April 26.

Little news has been published with regards to the talks. However, on the same day, in response to a media question, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, at the ministry’s regular press conference, noted that China supports all Palestinian factions in achieving reconciliation and increasing solidarity through dialogue and consultation.

At the April 30 press conference, spokesperson Lin Jian added:

“At the invitation of the Chinese side, representatives of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) recently came to Beijing to have in-depth and candid dialogue on promoting Palestinian reconciliation. The two sides fully expressed their political will of realising reconciliation through dialogue and consultation, had discussions on many specific issues, and made encouraging progress. They agreed to continue this dialogue process so as to achieve Palestinian solidarity and unity at an early date. They highly appreciated China’s firm support for the just cause of the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate national rights, thanked the Chinese side for its efforts to help strengthen Palestinian internal unity, and reached agreement on ideas for future dialogue.”

Also on April 26, China’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a written interview to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network.

Wang stated that the protracted conflict in Gaza has become a humanitarian catastrophe that should not have happened, adding that it has gone far beyond the bottom line of modern civilisation. The overriding priority is to realise a ceasefire as soon as possible:

“Even one more day of delay would mean further violation of human conscience and more erosion of the cornerstone of justice.”

Regarding the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire, he noted that “the resolution is legally binding, and should be enforced effectively to achieve an unconditional and lasting ceasefire right away.”

The foreign minister went on to say that unimpeded humanitarian assistance must be ensured at all times, describing this as a “pressing moral obligation.” China has firmly opposed forced transfer of Palestinian civilians and collective punishment against people in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict and continuously provided humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The historical injustice done to the Palestinian people must be redressed in a timely fashion, he said, adding that this is the right way to address the root cause of the conflict in Gaza. The Gaza calamity shows once again that the perpetual denial of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people is the root cause of the Palestinian question, and it is also the core issue of the Middle East question. 

In a highly significant passage, he added:

“China will continue to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Middle East countries and the whole international community to firmly support the just cause of the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate national rights; firmly support internal reconciliation among different factions of Palestine through dialogue; firmly support Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations at an early date; and firmly support establishing the independent State of Palestine and realising ‘the Palestinians governing Palestine.’ (Emphasis in Foreign Ministry original.)

Wang Yi also addressed a number of other major international issues.

Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, he again said that it is imperative to address both symptoms and root causes. Alluding to the steady encroachment of US-led NATO on Russia, he said: “To uproot the crisis, we must dive deeper into the question of security. Pursuing unilateral or absolute security by willfully compressing the security space of others will inevitably tip the balance of power in the region and give rise to conflicts.”

On Taiwan, he reiterated China’s long-standing and consistent position that: “We will strive for peaceful reunification with the utmost effort and greatest sincerity. In the meantime, our bottom line is also clear: we will absolutely not allow anyone to separate Taiwan from China in any way.”

He went on to note that “some countries are giving ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist elements more and more weapons behind the scenes, in stark contrast to their calls for peace and stability of the Strait. These moves will only increase the risk of conflict and confrontation, and seriously undermine peace and stability in the Strait and the region as a whole. China will not sit on its hands [in the face of] external disruptions… As President Xi Jinping has stressed, complete reunification of our motherland is the shared aspiration of the people, the trend of the times and a historical inevitability, and no force can stop it. China will ultimately achieve complete reunification, and Taiwan is bound to return to the embrace of the motherland.”

Turning to prospects for relations between China and the United States, he said that despite the agreements reached between the two heads of state at their meeting in San Francisco last November, “the United States still sticks to its misperception of China and presses ahead with its misguided policy to contain China. It has recently continued to woo its so-called allies in an attempt to provoke tensions at sea in the region and build networks to contain China at a faster pace. It has kept ratcheting up its unilateral sanctions and gone all out to constrain China’s development of science and technology. The United States should not view the world through the lens of Cold War and zero-sum mentality, and it should not say one thing but do another. The people of the world have clear eyes, and even more so for the Middle East people who can see easily who is on the right side of history and justice.”

The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency and on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading China hosts dialogue between Palestinian factions

Taiwan: An Anti-Imperialist Resource

Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China, published in February of this year an “Anti-Imperialist Resource” on the topic of China’s Taiwan province, the island’s history and its place in contemporary and 20th-century geopolitics. The resource contains a useful introduction, which is reprinted below, alongside a detailed timeline, and links to contemporary “left pro-unification” articles, summaries of economic issues, statistical analysis of public opinion, and other resources to aid understanding. This resource is the latest in a series of reading lists on topics related to contemporary China, and particularly ‘hot button’ issues frequently weaponised against China in Western media. The full list can be accessed here.

Below, Friends of Socialist China reprints the resource’s introduction, and encourages readers to explore and utilise the extensive collection of materials to gain a full understanding of the complexities of cross-straits relations, and the winding road of China’s path of reunification, which is an essential element of its projects of national rejuvenation and overcoming the legacy of colonialist and imperialist interference.

The historical context provided here is particularly useful while the current administration of Taiwan province is engaging in various forms of historical obscurantism: whitewashing the crimes of the period of Japanese occupation, while at the same time hiding the reality of the period of the Nationalist KMT’s “white terror” and military dictatorship, with martial law lasting until 1987. The introduction notes that “proponents of Taiwan independence rely on an overlapping revisionist toolkit that elides the historical context of unresolved civil war.” The full resources also importantly highlight that pro-reunification voices and organisations continue to exist on Taiwan province (despite concerted violent suppression campaigns), and that when the population are surveyed, ‘independence’ is not the preferred option for the majority. 

The introduction stresses that a proper understanding of historical context, and awareness of arguments of contemporary pro-reunification activists, can help readers unpick the frequent use of “left” language, such as that of ‘settler-colonialism’, employed by liberal advocates of independence to obscure the reality of Taiwan’s position in the intrigues of imperialism. As the CPC has asserted on many occasions, reunification will be a benefit to Chinese on both sides of the straits, stating in a recent white paper on the topic: “The future of Taiwan lies in China’s reunification, and the wellbeing of the people in Taiwan hinges on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, an endeavor that bears on the future and destiny of the people on both sides.” 

The collection of materials “serves as a starting point for understanding China’s aspirations for national reunification and Taiwan’s overdetermined status as an ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ for Western ideological, economic, and military power in Asia and the Pacific.”

Introduction

In the Western imagination, Taiwan exists as little more than a staging ground for ideological war with the People’s Republic of China—a crossroads of democracy versus authoritarianism, Western values versus Chinese backwardness, and free market capitalism versus closed-door communism. Yet for centuries, the island of Taiwan has played a rich and pivotal role in broader Chinese history. Located just one hundred miles from the mainland’s southeastern coast, Taiwan was linked to the mainland through migration, trade, language and culture long before European and Japanese colonizers seized on its strategic location as a launchpad for economic and military forays against China at large. Today, this history continues as U.S. imperialism positions Taiwan as an ideological and military base for its new Cold War against China.

Taiwan’s separation from the Chinese mainland began in 1895, when the Qing government was forced to cede Taiwan to Japan after its defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War. While Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II legally restored Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, the Chinese civil war and the global Cold War once again rendered Taiwan an instrument for imperial ambitions against China. For the ascendant postwar United States, the 1949 establishment of the PRC under the Communist Party of China marked the “loss of China”—a blow that was partially recouped by propping up the fleeing Chiang Kai-shek government in Taiwan as “Free China.” In 1950, as the U.S. waged war to prevent the socialist unification of Korea, President Harry Truman dispatched the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to similarly foreclose the possibility of a unified socialist China. The legacy of that militarized division remains today, as the U.S. enforces the separation of Taiwan from the PRC through multibillion-dollar arms sales, menacing war games, and a concerted propaganda drive which together undermine the possibility of peaceful reunification. This bipartisan campaign of hybrid warfare has intensified over the last fifteen years, following China’s rise as a major power, the corresponding U.S. Pivot to Asia, and the era of “decoupling” pursued by both the Trump and Biden administrations. As the U.S. military declares the Pacific its primary theater of war, successive U.S. administrations have marshaled enormous economic, military, and ideological resources to build up Taiwan as a focal point for this new Cold War. This program violates the letter of the one-China principle and the spirit of the United States’ own “one-China policy,” which together have formed the basis for bilateral relations since 1979. Furthermore, they neglect the centuries-long shared history of Taiwan and its people with their neighbors across the strait.

Just as Western colonialism was once justified as a “civilizing mission,” U.S. imperial designs on Taiwan and China at large march under the banner of promoting “democracy” and defending the international “rules-based order.” The U.S. claim to be acting in defense of Taiwan’s “vibrant democracy” from Chinese authoritarianism is particularly ahistorical, given that the United States is responsible for propping up the Kuomintang (KMT) military dictatorship under Chiang and his successors for almost forty years. Meanwhile, despite grandiose language about U.S. global leadership, the reality is that the majority of the world understands cross-strait relations to be an internal matter for China. Only eleven UN member states maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan (as the Republic of China), and no country recognizes Taiwan as an independent nation. This fact is unsurprising; UN recognition of the PRC as the legitimate representative of China came on the wings of overwhelming support from the Third World. Having experienced the genocidal violence and economic exploitation inherent to the Western imperial system, the Global South, like China itself, adheres to the tenets of sovereignty and non-interference. 

Though ideologically diverse, proponents of Taiwan independence rely on an overlapping revisionist toolkit that elides the historical context of unresolved civil war shaping the cross-strait relationship. Instead, China’s aspirations for national unity are cast in terms of imperialism and expansionism. The era of KMT martial law is counterfactually invoked as precedent for authoritarian Chinese encroachment, obscuring the historical KMT-CPC rivalry and the role of the U.S. in supporting the military dictatorship. Meanwhile, the history of Japanese colonialism has been systematically revised to present a relatively “benign” rule that forms the bedrock for a non-Chinese local identity. Claims that Taiwan’s democracy has “voted out” reunification as a political pathway omit the crucial context that the island’s most vocal left-wing supporters of unification were systematically purged, jailed, and murdered under Japanese colonialism and KMT rule. Efforts to co-opt Taiwan’s yuánzhùmín, or indigenous peoples, into the project of Taiwan independence rely on a similar level of obfuscation; despite the separatist camp’s appropriation of decolonial rhetoric, yuánzhùmín have historically been apathetic towards the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). And in spite of attempts to stake Taiwan separatism to a schema of ethnic difference, official demographics list 95% of Taiwan’s population as being Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group of the Chinese mainland.

While those on the left may be (rightfully) skeptical of elite rhetoric of freedom and democracy, this rhetoric of Chinese imperialism, settler colonialism, and ethnic chauvinism may be harder to parse for those unfamiliar with Taiwan’s history. Yet, whether it is couched in the moralizing language of classic Cold Warriors or self-styled leftists, Taiwan independence ultimately serves the material interests of Western imperialism. Like the European and Japanese imperialists that colonized Taiwan for access to Chinese trade from the 17th through the 20th century, the United States transparently envisions the island as an outpost for efforts to contain China militarily and decouple from it economically. More than 70 years since U.S. military leader Douglas MacArthur described Taiwan as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the nation’s Cold War against China, Taiwan remains a crude asset for U.S. military realpolitik. It is the linchpin of the so-called first island chain that links the 400 U.S. military bases spread across Asia and the Pacific and, crucially, home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest advanced semiconductor chip manufacturer. Lofty narratives of Taiwan independence thus ultimately fuel consent for militarization, intervention, and war while marginalizing anti-imperialist voices for diplomacy and peace. They also disguise the true intent of retaining Taiwan as a neocolonial outpost of Western empire to undermine China’s sovereign economic development. There is no “independence” in becoming a U.S. client regime entrapped in a capitalist world order. It would set a precedent for any country, large or small, that challenges U.S. hegemony to be balkanized with impunity. For the left to support such an outcome would be self-sabotage on an epic scale, regardless of the titanic politico-economic shifts on both sides of the strait since the Chinese Revolution of 1949.

The modern-day context around cross-strait relations is complex and evolving, and the lives of Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan strait have been negatively affected by centuries of imperialism. We recognize that there is no perfect, clear-cut path to development after colonization and civil war, but insist on China’s right to defend its sovereign project of socialist construction. Cross-strait relations should be debated and resolved on Chinese terms and in Chinese dialogues only. They should not be used as crude ammunition in the U.S.-led geopolitical assault on China.

This syllabus includes a condensed timeline of Taiwan’s history to provide historical context to contemporary discussions about China, as well as a list of resources that highlight key aspects of cross-strait relations and history. It is not intended to be comprehensive in scope, for Taiwan’s place in Chinese history extends far beyond the recent centuries of Western and Japanese imperialism in Asia. Nor is it intended to offer simple answers to questions about mainland China and Taiwan. It aims only to be a starting point for critical inquiry, and we urge readers to seek a diversity of sources and form their own opinions. A more detailed understanding requires further study into Taiwan’s history, cross-strait relations, Chinese politics, and ongoing geopolitical developments.

The full resource can be accessed here.

China and Nauru resume diplomatic relations

China resumed diplomatic relations with the South Pacific island nation of Nauru on January 24. This came nine days after Nauru independently announced that it was severing its so-called “diplomatic relations” with the authorities on the Chinese island of Taiwan. 

Nauru thus becomes the 183rd country to have diplomatic relations with China. (Nauru previously had diplomatic relations with China, 2002-2005.)

The formal resumption of ties came with the signing of a joint communiqué in Beijing by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his visiting Nauruan counterpart, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Lionel Aingimea. 

According to the joint communiqué:

“The two governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

“The Government of the Republic of Nauru recognises that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the Republic of Nauru shall sever ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes that it shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan. The Government of the People’s Republic of China appreciates this position of the Government of the Republic of Nauru.”

At the talks that preceded the signing, Wang Yi said that, bearing in mind the long-term development of Nauru and the fundamental interests of its people, the government of Nauru has made the political resolve to recognise the one-China principle, sever ‘diplomatic ties’ with the Taiwan region and resume diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. In so doing, Nauru has chosen to stand on the right side of history. The Parliament of Nauru has unanimously adopted a motion in support of this decision, which fully represents the will of the Nauruan people. China welcomes and appreciates the decision.

China will work with Nauru to take the resumption of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to increase exchanges at all levels, share governance experience, and synergise development strategies, so that the two countries will become good brothers, good friends and good partners that trust each other politically, benefit each other economically and support each other in international affairs. Together, the two sides will contribute to a closer community with a shared future between China and Pacific Island countries.

Foreign Minister Aingimea said that his country’s decision was unanimously adopted by the Parliament of Nauru, with a standing ovation by all of its members. It fully shows that this is a right decision which is welcomed by the people and serves the fundamental interests of Nauru. 

He added that the way China says what it means and does what it says has won the hearts of the people of Nauru. With their diplomatic ties resumed, droplets of friendship between the two countries will create an ocean. Nauru admires China’s remarkable development achievements and great contribution to global growth, and firmly believes in the vast and promising future of the bilateral relationship. Nauru highly commends and will take an active part in President Xi Jinping’s vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity and in the important global initiatives President Xi has put forward.

Following the signing of the communiqué, the two ministers met the press. 

Foreign Minister Wang pointed out that although China and Nauru are far apart geographically, the two peoples enjoy a long-standing friendship. As developing countries, China and Nauru face the common tasks of growing the economy, improving people’s lives and realising modernisation. As members of the Global South, the two countries share the common aspirations to safeguard sovereignty and independence, uphold the common interests of developing countries, and work for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation.

He added that China always believes that countries, regardless of size, strength, and wealth, are equals and important members of the international community. China will, following the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, treat Nauru as an equal and support Nauru in pursuing a development path suited to its national conditions and chosen independently by its people. China looks forward to working with Nauru to deepen political mutual trust, advance mutually beneficial cooperation, enhance friendship between the people, and take bilateral ties to new heights. China will share with Nauru the development opportunities brought by Chinese modernisation in a joint pursuit of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Noting that just a handful of countries still maintain “diplomatic relations” with the Taiwan region for various reasons, Wang said that this not only contravenes the interests of their own countries and people and goes against Resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly (which restored China’s seat in the United Nations), but also constitutes an infringement of China’s sovereignty. It must be redressed sooner or later. China urges those countries to be clear-eyed about the trend of the times, seize the historical opportunities, fulfil their obligations under international law, and join the international community in coming to the right side of history. It is never too late to forge a friendship. China is ready to turn a new page in its relations with those countries on the basis of the one-China principle.

The following day, Minister Aingimea met with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng. Hailing the political decision made independently by the Nauru government to resume diplomatic relations with China, Han said history will prove that this is the right decision and once again shows that the one-China principle is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.

China supports Nauru in exploring the path of modernisation that suits its national conditions, and is willing to do its best to help Nauru achieve development based on mutual respect, equality, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, he added.

Aingimea said that the establishment of diplomatic ties with China has put Nauru on the right side of history, and becoming a partner with China will make Nauru’s development prospects brighter and bring more benefits to its people. Nauru looks forward to strengthening exchanges and cooperation with China and will actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation and the three global initiatives put forward by President Xi.

Meanwhile, speaking to the Xinhua News Agency in the Nauruan capital Yaren shortly before the announcement, Joanna Olsson, director of the Government Information Office of Nauru, said that the Belt and Road Initiative brings development opportunities to Pacific Island nations, and Nauru looks forward to more practical cooperation with China after the two nations resume diplomatic relations.

She said that she is optimistic about future practical cooperation between the two nations, particularly on climate change, water supply and agriculture, among others.

Being a Pacific Island nation, Nauru is deeply affected by climate change, facing urgent challenges such as rising sea levels and land erosion. Some coastal areas are being submerged, necessitating the relocation of residential areas and some public service facilities to higher ground.

Moreover, the scarcity of fresh water for daily life is a persistent concern for local residents. Global climate change has worsened water crises, posing even more severe challenges to the islanders, she said.

Nauru’s move leaves just 12 countries having “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan. Of these, the South Pacific Island state of Tuvalu will hold an election on January 26. At time of writing, there is much speculation in the international media that it may then follow Nauru in establishing diplomatic relations with China.

Nauru won its national independence in 1968 having been under the colonial rule of Britain, Australia, and New Zealand in the form of a “UN Trusteeship”. Tuvalu achieved national independence from British colonialism in 1978.

The following articles were originally published on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.

Joint Communiqué on the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations Between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nauru

Jan. 24 (Chinese Foreign Ministry) –The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nauru, in keeping with the interests and desire of the two peoples, have decided to resume diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, effective as of this day.

The two Governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

The Government of the Republic of Nauru recognizes that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the Republic of Nauru shall sever “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes that it shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan. The Government of the People’s Republic of China appreciates this position of the Government of the Republic of Nauru.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Nauru agree to exchange Ambassadors as early as possible and to provide each other with all the necessary assistance for the establishment of Embassies and their performance of functions in each other’s capitals on a reciprocal basis in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and international customary practices.

The undersigned, being duly authorized by their respective Governments, signed this communiqué on January 24, 2024 in Beijing. Done in duplicate in the Chinese and English languages, both texts being equally authentic.


Foreign Minister Wang Yi Holds Talks With Foreign Minister of Nauru Lionel Aingimea

Jan. 24 (Chinese Foreign Ministry) — On January 24, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Nauru Lionel Aingimea held talks in Beijing and signed a Joint Communiqué on the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations Between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nauru.

Foreign Minister Wang noted that the two sides are about to open a new chapter in China-Nauru relations, which is a historic moment that will go down in history. Bearing in mind the long-term development of Nauru and the fundamental interests of its people, the government of Nauru has made the political resolve to recognize the one-China principle, sever “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan region and resume diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. In so doing, Nauru has chosen to stand on the right side of history. The Parliament of Nauru has unanimously adopted a motion in support of this decision, which fully represents the will of the Nauruan people. China welcomes and appreciates the decision.

Continue reading China and Nauru resume diplomatic relations

Understanding the elections in Taiwan

In the following article, which originally appeared in the Morning Star, Kenny Coyle analyses the results of the elections held in Taiwan on January 13.

He notes that the return to office of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which leans heavily towards separatism from China, has been warmly welcomed in Washington, London and Brussels, adding that it will “provide further combustible material to already tense cross-Taiwan Strait relations, with Washington eager to exploit Taiwan as a forward base for potential military conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

A closer look at the polling results, Kenny continues, reveals a more complex picture than that presented by western media headlines. The DPP’s candidate Lai Ching-te secured the presidency with 40% of the vote, against 33.49% for the Kuomintang (KMT) and 26.46% for the new Taiwan People’s Party (TPP). 

“Lai’s 40 per cent figure represents a massive drop from the tallies achieved by his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen, who won 57 per cent of the vote in 2020 and 56 per cent in the 2016 presidential contests. The DPP also suffered serious reversals in the legislative elections, where it polled only 36 per cent in party vote share and came second to the KMT in seats, losing its majority in the legislature.”

Noting that hopes for a single KMT-TPP presidential candidate had collapsed – following initial agreement – last November, Kenny writes that: “If the two opposition parties had set aside their differences, Western media headlines would have read very differently on Sunday morning.”

Presidential elections in Taiwan have returned the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te with 40 per cent of the vote, beating his main rival Hou You-yi of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) on 33.49 per cent, and Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) supported by 26.46 per cent of voters.

Lai, who is the incumbent vice-president, led the DPP to its third consecutive term in office, the first three-time tenure since direct presidential elections began in Taiwan in 1996.

In a victory speech, president-elect Lai said Taiwan had shown the world that “between democracy and authoritarianism, we will stand on the side of democracy.”

The result has been warmly welcomed in Washington, London and Brussels which has strongly backed the separatist DPP. It will provide further combustible material to already tense cross-Taiwan Strait relations, with Washington eager to exploit Taiwan as a forward base for potential military conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The PRC argues that Taiwan and the territories it occupies are part of China, as does Taipei’s own Republic of China-derived constitution, and that as the internationally recognised state power of China, any external interference or unilateral declaration of independence is a breach of Chinese sovereignty.

The immediate response from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council in Beijing was terse: “Whatever changes take place in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change; the Chinese government’s position of upholding the one-China principle and opposing ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism, ‘two Chinas’ and ‘one China, one Taiwan’ will not change.”

Western media coverage of the election has naturally focused on the relations across the Taiwan Strait and ignored the social and economic issues that motivate voters anywhere. On a trip I made to Taiwan last year, it was striking to see the disconnect between the calmness of everyday life and the Western depictions of an island under permanent siege.

The Establishment media in Britain and the US has predictably greeted Lai’s win as a victory for democracy and an act of plucky defiance to Beijing by Taiwanese voters:

“In a Setback for Beijing, Taiwan Elects Lai Ching-te as President” — New York Times; “Taiwan elects William Lai president in historic election, angering China” — BBC.com; “Taiwan voters dismiss China warnings and hand ruling party a historic third consecutive presidential win” — CNN.com; “Taiwan’s ruling party secures presidency as voters defy China — Financial Times.

However, a closer look at the polling results reveals a more complex picture.

Lai’s 40 per cent figure represents a massive drop from the tallies achieved by his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen, who won 57 per cent of the vote in 2020 and 56 per cent in the 2016 presidential contests. The DPP also suffered serious reversals in the legislative elections, where it polled only 36 per cent in party vote share and came second to the KMT in seats, losing its majority in the legislature.

However, the KMT did not benefit from the DPP’s losses in the presidential poll and support seems stuck at around a third of Taiwanese voters — it took 31 per cent in 2020 and 38 per cent in 2016. The KMT last held the presidency when Ma Ying-jeou won re-election in 2012 with 51.6 per cent in a straight fight with the DPP.

To put it in raw figures, Lai received 5,586,019 votes, the KMT 4,671,021 and the TPP 3,690,466 votes, a combined opposition figure of well over eight million. This is not quite the ringing endorsement for an anti-Beijing stance that Western media would have us believe but rather reflects the vagaries of a first-past-the-post rather than first-round, second-round systems favoured by other presidential systems, such as France.

In the legislative elections, though, seats are allocated in three categories; 73 through district constituencies, 34 by party vote share and six are allocated to the aboriginal Taiwanese communities.

The KMT and DPP tied for seats in both the district (36 each) and party list (13 each) but the KMT took three to the DPP’s two in the aboriginal sector. The TPP won just eight seats in the party vote segment, despite winning 22 per cent of the votes overall. Minor parties took the remaining two seats in the district and aboriginal sectors.

The most significant factor has been the emergence of a potentially powerful third force in the shape of the TPP. Since the 1990s post-dictatorship Taiwanese politics have generally been characterised by the fluctuating fortunes of the Blue (rhetorically one-China) camp, dominated by the KMT, and the Greens (essentially separatist) led by the DPP.

The TPP has painted itself as the turquoise party, neither fully blue nor fully green. It seeks to build a base among the many Taiwanese who favour cross-strait detente but are alienated from the KMT, with its historical baggage, but also from the DPP, due in part to its self-harming policy of confrontation with Beijing but also its economic performance.

Presidential candidate and TPP founder Ko was seen as an ally of President Tsai but gradually moved away from the DPP during his time as mayor of Taipei. He was first elected in 2014 as an independent with DPP support but his re-election in 2018 was opposed by the DPP. Ko then founded the TPP in 2019.

While the TPP does not subscribe to the “1992 Consensus” arrived at by the then KMT-led island and the People’s Republic of China, the TPP does promote widening “cultural, economic and political” exchanges. It also criticises the DPP for frequently manipulating “cross-strait issues excessively for election purposes” thereby causing “unnecessary conflicts with China.”

Hopes that a single joint KMT-TPP presidential candidate foundered after acrimonious negotiations last November failed to agree on a common anti-DPP platform. However, in a number of district contests the KMT and TPP did agree to co-operate. If the two opposition parties had set aside their differences, Western media headlines would have read very differently on Sunday morning.

Despite constant claims of Beijing’s interference in Taiwan’s elections, the truth is that the PRC’s influence over Taiwanese politics is considerably less than that of the US.

While the KMT, founded by Sun Yat-sen in 1912, is an openly Chinese nationalist party, acknowledging the fundamental aim of eventually reunifying the island of Taiwan with the rest of China, it does not accept the absorption of the island with the People’s Republic of China under the leadership of its twice-ally, twice-enemy the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Indeed, had China possessed any real influence over the KMT, or the TPP for that matter, there would have been a single candidate, not a split opposition.

However, this embedded propaganda point about Chinese electoral manipulation could become explosive if, as is entirely plausible, the DPP were to lose a future electoral contest, with domestic and external forces refusing to recognise the result. This is a tried and trusted State Department strategy used from Latin America to Eastern Europe. The effects in Taiwan would be catastrophic.

What of Washington’s influence on the island?

The DPP’s Japanese-born vice-president-elect elect Hsiao Bi-khim is a former US citizen, through her mother. She was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University, only renouncing her US citizenship in 2002 when she began her political career with the DPP in Taiwan. She has held positions in key bodies such as the island’s National Security Council and as representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, in 2020.

Hsiao even described herself as Taiwan’s “ambassador” to the US on her X (then Twitter) account, although formally the US does not recognise the island as a state, far less one with ambassadorial credentials.

Nonetheless, Hsiao attended the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden in 2020, the first time that a Taiwanese representative had been officially invited since the US ended diplomatic relations with the “Republic of China” (Taiwan) in 1979 and recognised the People’s Republic of China instead.

This was a calculated move signalling the Biden administration’s determination to further weaken the US’s stated One China policy. Nonetheless, we are incessantly told that it is Beijing that seeks to upset the status quo.

It’s certain that Hsiao will become the main Anglophone voice in the Lai administration, pushing for deepening Taipei’s military and security ties with Washington, what is unclear is to what extent the DPP’s loss of control over the legislature will dilute the separatists’ agenda.

Washington elite considers Taiwan an unsinkable aircraft carrier in East Asia

In the following article, Dirk Nimmegeers (Co-editor of ChinaSquare and China Vandaag (Belgium), and member of our advisory group) provides a timely assessment of the political situation in Taiwan Province ahead of the elections on the island taking place on 13 January.

Dirk gives an overview of the US’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” in relation to Taiwan – recognising the One China principle whilst simultaneously providing support to separatist forces. As Dirk points out, the “Washington elite considers Taiwan an unsinkable aircraft carrier in East Asia, just as Israel is in West Asia.”

US support for separatists in Taiwan, and its increased supply of military aid, cannot be separated from the West’s escalating campaign of encircling and containing China. Dirk cites his fellow ChinaSquare co-editor Frank Willems on the US’s motivation for beating the war drums in relation to Taiwan: “They feel that a Cold War with China is not enough and are out for a hot war with China. Taiwan is the ideal focal point for that.”

The author also discusses the positions of the major parties competing in the elections on Taiwan Province, and expresses little confidence that the island’s next administration will take a sensible and pragmatic approach to relations with Beijing. However, a move towards rapprochement, with a vision for eventual peaceful reunification, would be of great benefit to Chinese people on both sides of the strait, and would contribute towards regional peace and security.

This article was first published in Dutch on ChinaSquare and has been translated into English for Friends of Socialist China by the author.

On Jan. 13, 2024, elections of a political leader will take place on the island of Taiwan as part of the general election for a parliament. The result could have implications for peace in Asia and even in Europe.

On principle, there is no question of a ‘presidential’ election in Taiwan: this region, which is still – thanks to the US – in practice an autonomous economic and political entity, is not recognized as an independent country by the vast majority of countries in the world. Only 12 countries of the 193 members of the United Nations (and Vatican City, an observer state of the UN) still maintain diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, the name that Taiwan has officially taken. Taiwanese political parties incorrectly speak of “presidential elections,” and media which use the same term when covering these elections in doing so give incomplete, even misleading information. Journalists often do not realize that they are thus propagandizing American anti-Chinese politics. Even progressive publicists occasionally (unwittingly?) acquiesce to the omnipotence of Western media and write about “presidential” elections in “the country” of Taiwan. Some media outlets even adopt the Taiwanese separatists’ claim that the island “never actually belonged to China. ChinaSquare.be editor Frank Willems informed Belgian journalists in a podcast “that this is totally untrue”. Frank referred to various international treaties such as the one obliging Japan, after its defeat in World War II, to cede Taiwan, which it had occupied, back to China, which effectively happened.

Ambiguous politics

The 181 countries that diplomatically recognize the People’s Republic of China, with embassies for both sides, at the same time recognize that there is only one China, with Beijing as its capital. The United States and European countries are among this number. Washington, however, as the Americans themselves say, maintains a strategic ambiguity. Words play a major role here: the US “recognizes” the Chinese position that Beijing has sovereignty over Taiwan, but does not “endorse” it. Washington regards Taiwan’s political status as “undetermined” and wants to keep it that way. This is the foundation of the current US position that the status quo must be maintained: on the one hand, Taiwan must not declare its legal independence; on the other hand, reunification of the island with China must be stopped.

The US kept the Republic of China afloat against the People’s Republic of China, and after Taiwan could “stand on its own feet,” the US continued to support the island because the Washington elite considers it an unsinkable aircraft carrier in East Asia, just as Israel is in West Asia. An autonomous Taiwan is a link in the Pacific first island chain that is of crucial strategic military importance to the US, a pillar of US hegemony, and a loyal and good customer of its arms industry.

Unambiguous militarization

The United States also dons the cloak of strategic ambiguity when it comes to war and peace, for while declaring that it is in favour of the status quo, at the same time it is strengthening Taiwan’s military capabilities, even through US Congress. Washington continued to arm the island last year, a prolonged and risky provocation. For the first time, it delivered military equipment to Taiwan under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, allowing the US to draw weapons directly from Department of Defence inventories. US military personnel are already stationed in Taiwan and their numbers will be increased. All this is of course encouraging the separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) now in power to continue scheming for total independence and thereby further challenging Beijing. The defence budget proposed by the current Taiwanese leadership for 2024 is 19.6 billion USD, roughly 2.5 percent of Taiwan’s gross regional product. Military service was extended from four months to one year.

Continue reading Washington elite considers Taiwan an unsinkable aircraft carrier in East Asia

Elections in Taiwan: Does the island choose further confrontation with China?

The following article by Wim De Ceukelaire of Belgium’s Médecine pour le Peuple, produced by Globetrotter and first published in Countercurrents, discusses the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan Province, emphasising their significance in shaping Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China.

Drawing on an interview with Wu Rong-yuan, Chair of the Labor Party of Taiwan, Wim notes the emergence of a third mainstream party – the Taiwan People’s Party – which introduces an extra element of unpredictability to the situation. Given the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s declining popularity, it would normally be expected that “the opposition would win these upcoming elections hands down”; that is, the Kuomintang (KMT), which supports maintaining the status quo with the People’s Republic of China, would win in a landslide. However, with a divided opposition, either the DPP or KMT could end up leading a minority government in the province.

Clearly, a DPP victory is the least desirable outcome in terms of preserving peace, furthering the cause of reunification and completing the historic process of reversing the imperialist division of China. Wu points out that “the independence the DPP seeks, isolates us from the mainland and goes against the interests of the workers.” The Labor Party’s position is clear: “Reunification between Taiwan and China is the only path to peace and prosperity: ‘One country, two systems’ is a realistic formula.”

Wim published a detailed interview with Wu Rong-yuan in early 2023, which readers may find helpful.

On January 13, the residents of Taiwan, an island off the coast of China, will go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament. These elections attract more international attention than one might expect for a country with only 24 million inhabitants. The outcome will have consequences for the evolution of the conflict between the United States and China, and consequently, possibly for world peace.

Two weeks before the elections, I spoke with Wu Rong-yuan, the chairman of the Labor Party of Taiwan, in the capital, Taipei. His party is contesting seats in three districts. Due to the first-past-the-post system, this is an uphill battle. Moreover, the Labor Party is marginalized due to its pro-reunification stance with China. To better understand this, I let the veteran of the labor struggle explain the history to me once again.

Taiwan lived under the dictatorship of the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek’s party, until 1987. The roots of the Kuomintang are on the mainland of China, where they were in power until the victory of the socialist revolution in 1949. Even after the end of the dictatorship, the party continued to rule in Taiwan, officially still named the Republic of China, and initiated a process of democratization. Meanwhile, the main opposition coalesced around the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

For a long time, the island’s politics were a two-way contest between the Kuomintang and the DPP. Almost all other, much smaller, political forces sided with either the blue or the green coalition, corresponding to the respective colors of the two parties. While the Kuomintang sees the island as part of China, the DPP is unequivocally in favor of an independent Taiwan.

In 2000, the DPP came to power for the first time. After an eight-year hiatus, that happened again in 2016. They not only had the president, Tsai Ing-wen but also governed with a majority in the parliament. It is under Tsai that tensions with China increased further, fueled by the United States.

Wu explained to me that the economic positions of both parties are not significantly different. Both align themselves with the U.S. “Moreover, they also find common ground in anti-communism against the rulers in Beijing,” said Wu, “but while the Kuomintang claims that the residents of Taiwan and the mainland of China form one Chinese nation, separated by the sea and different ideologies, the DPP invented Taiwanese nationalism: Since they came to power 23 years ago, they managed to create a distinct Taiwanese identity out of nothing.”

This does not mean that all Taiwanese support the DPP’s course. On the contrary, the popularity of the ruling DPP has significantly declined. Normally, the opposition would win these upcoming elections hands down. The population is divided over the right stance toward China. The extension of military service from four to 12 months makes the looming military escalation suddenly very concrete. The energy crisis, on the other hand, symbolizes the country’s poor economic performance. The population is far from satisfied with the government’s policies.

A sure win for the Kuomintang, then? Not quite, because this time there is a third party that can convince a significant portion of the voters. The recently established Taiwan People’s Party presents itself as an alternative to the blue and green alliances, putting forward a credible candidate for the presidency, the former mayor of Taipei. It briefly seemed like this party would form a joint presidential ticket with the Kuomintang, but in November, they ultimately chose to run separately.

With a divided opposition, the DPP could still win the elections. The presidential candidates of the DPP and the Kuomintang are neck and neck in the polls. No one can predict who will win. However, the rise of a third party has an important consequence: Regardless of who wins the presidential elections, they will likely not have a majority in the parliament. This means compromises will have to be made.

According to Wu Rong-yuan, these are crucial elections for the relations between Taiwan and China. The Kuomintang advocates the status quo which means that both recognize there is one China but have different interpretations about what this means. The DPP wants to assert Taiwan’s status as an independent country and can count on U.S. support for that. “The confrontational policy of the U.S. makes the status quo impossible,” says Wu, “while the independence the DPP seeks, isolates us from the mainland and goes against the interests of the workers.”

Wu finally explains the vision of the Labor Party: “Reunification between Taiwan and China is the only path to peace and prosperity: ‘One country, two systems’ is a realistic formula.” On the question of whether this would be based on the arrangement with Hong Kong, the answer is negative: “China has clearly stated that Taiwan would have more autonomy, and there are good reasons for that: Hong Kong was a colony of Britain when it was transferred to China, while Taiwan has existed for decades as an autonomous economic and political entity.”

Although there seems to be little openness from the two traditional parties for now, the Labor Party hopes that there will be room for dialogue between Taipei and Beijing after the elections: “There is no model for reunification, and it is only through dialogue and exchange that we can find solutions.”

Dee Knight: Traveling to prove China is not our enemy

This fascinating article by Dee Knight describes a recent peace tour to China by a small group of activists from the US, and includes Dee’s reflections on his visit and a number of topics related to China and the New Cold War.

The report includes mention of the group’s brief stopover in Taipei, and Dee briefly discusses the US’s recent undermining of the One China policy:

“Visiting Taiwan enroute to mainland China reveals something nearly everyone agrees on: Taiwan is very much part of China. Both Chinese governments agree, and the US government has shared this view since at least 1972, when US President Nixon and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping signed a treaty to that effect. It makes you wonder why the US is pushing for Taiwan to be ‘independent’ of the mainland, spending billions to arm it to the teeth, and sending war ships through the Taiwan Strait, thus violating China’s territorial waters, at the risk of triggering a flareup to war at any moment.”

Describing the group’s trip to Shanghai, Dee contrasts the relative affluence and modernity of the city today with the poverty and backwardness imposed upon it in the early part of the 20th century, when it was a playground for Western imperialists – a time when “the colonial powers forced China’s weak government to cede control of trade in both Shanghai and Beijing” and the streets of Shanghai’s ‘International Settlement’ concessions “had signs saying ‘No Chinese or Dogs Allowed.'”

Comparing Shanghai’s transport infrastructure with that of the US, Dee writes:

Underground, the metro hums along: more than 20 lines rival the extent of New York’s MTA, and humble it for cleanliness, courteous service and safety. All the stations I saw have escalators, elevators, and super-clean floors. They also have moving barriers between the passenger platforms and incoming trains, to protect riders.

On China’s network of high-speed rail, Dee observes: “These bullet trains now connect all of China’s major cities, following the gigantic infrastructure projects of recent decades. The US has no bullet trains, and can’t seem to find the financing for them, especially since the profit potential in military production is so much higher.”

Dee also includes some reflections on China’s system of governance, describing the mechanics of its whole-process people’s democracy and countering the Western media’s tropes about China as an authoritarian tyranny and police state.

We didn’t see homeless people anywhere in China. We also didn’t see any signs of repression or oppression anywhere – including Xinjiang. The Chinese people we encountered seemed both calm and content. Tension, conflict and stress are low.

Dee writes powerfully that “visiting China made me believe peace is possible”, that the Chinese people very much do not want war or confrontation with the US, and opining that the US’s policy of trade war and military brinkmanship is a dead-end for humanity.

Cooperation, common prosperity and a shared future make much more sense. That formula has found warm welcomes across the globe. It even includes major initiatives in green development, where again China is leading the way. It has more solar and wind energy generation than the rest of the world combined. And while it still uses more fossil fuel for energy than non-polluting sources, Xi Jinping has pledged that by mid-century fossil fuels will be phased out. That would be an accomplishment worth emulating. It’s much better to save the world from burning up than continue with the current US craze of military brinksmanship!

Dee Knight is a veteran of the US peace and socialist movements, and is a member of the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group.

“China Is Not Our Enemy” was the theme of a ten-day visit to China in early November. The visit was designed to find and highlight a path to common prosperity and a shared future between China, the United States, and the rest of the world. Visiting China made me believe peace is possible.

We flew from JFK to Taipei to Shanghai. Then we took a “bullet train” to Beijing. From there we flew to Urumqi and Kashgar, Xinjiang. Then back to Urumqi to Changsha, Hunan, and from Changsha to Shanghai. Then back to Taipei and from there to JFK.

1. Taiwan is part of China.

Getting to China from the USA is easier now than it was centuries ago for Marco Polo when he traveled from Venice by camel over the old Silk Road. We boarded a jumbo jet at 1am November 1 at Kennedy Airport in New York – actually 1pm in Taiwan and China, which are 12 hours ahead of New York. The flight was a mere 17 hours, so we landed at about 6am November 2. We flew nonstop through northern Canada, then down past Japan and Korea to reach Taiwan. Service on the China Airlines jumbo jet was impeccable – two main meals, enjoyable movies, and plentiful snacks with beverage service.

Visiting Taiwan enroute to mainland China reveals something nearly everyone agrees on: Taiwan is very much part of China. Both Chinese governments agree, and the US government has shared this view since at least 1979, when US President Nixon and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping signed a treaty to that effect. It makes you wonder why the US is pushing for Taiwan to be “independent” of the mainland, spending billions to arm it to the teeth, and sending war ships through the Taiwan Strait, thus violating China’s territorial waters, at the risk of triggering a flareup to war at any moment.

Before landing in Taipei we spoke with a Chinese couple who were part of the original post-WW2 migration from the Mainland to Taiwan after the Red Army defeated Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang (KMT). Chiang transferred what was left of his army, plus thousands of camp followers and businesspeople across the strait, and took over the Taiwan government with US backing. There was no pretense of democracy – Chiang staged a military takeover and set up a dictatorship that lasted till his death in 1975, always with lavish US support. It was much the same in the southern half of Korea following Japan’s surrender at the end of WW2. There the US backed one dictator after another until the 1990s, when massive popular protests led to brief periods of democratic government – in each case ultimately suppressed by military takeovers backed by the US. Recently Biden held a summit with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to forge an alliance against China and North Korea.

Continue reading Dee Knight: Traveling to prove China is not our enemy

The West’s blueprint for goading China was laid out in Ukraine

The following article by Jonathan Cook (first published by Middle East Eye) explores the complex and contradictory policies of the Western powers in relation to China. On the one hand, Western leaders talk of wanting a collaborative relationship with China, and on this basis “US and European officials have scurried to Beijing for so-called talks”, including a high-profile visit by British foreign secretary James Cleverly in August. On the other hand, these same leaders are taking reckless steps towards confrontation: “showering Taiwan with weapons systems”; setting up AUKUS; forging a trilateral security arrangement between the US, Japan and South Korea; and developing new military bases in the Pacific as part of an ongoing strategy of encirclement. NATO last year declared Beijing a challenge to its “interests, security and values.”

Jonathan writes that “European leaders are torn. They fear losing access to Chinese goods and markets, plunging their economies deeper into recession after a cost-of-living crisis precipitated by the Ukraine war. But most are even more afraid of angering Washington, which is determined to isolate and contain China.”

The manifestation of these contradictory motivations is a policy of aggression combined with the pretence of a meaningful desire for peaceful engagement. “But the only real engagement is the crafting of a military noose around China’s neck, just as a noose was crafted earlier for Russia.” And the crafting of this military noose is justified to ordinary people in the West – who will inevitably shoulder the economic costs of the deteriorating relationship – with an absurd but carefully-curated narrative about protecting Taiwan. This “obscures Washington’s less palatable aim: to enforce US global dominance by smashing any economic or technological threat from China and Russia.”

The West is writing a script about its relations with China as stuffed full of misdirection as an Agatha Christie novel.

In recent months, US and European officials have scurried to Beijing for so-called talks, as if the year were 1972 and Richard Nixon were in the White House.

But there will be no dramatic, era-defining US-China pact this time. If relations are to change, it will be decisively for the worse.

The West’s two-faced policy towards China was starkly illustrated last week by the visit to Beijing of Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly – the first by a senior UK official for five years.

While Cleverly talked vaguely afterwards about the importance of not “disengaging” from China and avoiding “mistrust and errors”, the British parliament did its best to undermine his message. 

The foreign affairs committee issued a report on UK policy in the Indo-Pacific that provocatively described the Chinese leadership as “a threat to the UK and its interests”. 

In terminology that broke with past diplomacy, the committee referred to Taiwan – a breakaway island that Beijing insists must one day be “reunified” with China – as an “independent country”. Only 13 states recognise Taiwan’s independence.

The committee urged the British government to pressure its Nato allies into imposing sanctions on China.

The UK parliament is meddling recklessly in a far-off zone of confrontation with the potential for incendiary escalation against a nuclear power, a situation unrivalled outside of Ukraine

But Britain is far from alone. Last year, for the first time, Nato moved well out of its supposed sphere of influence – the North Atlantic – to declare Beijing a challenge to its “interests, security and values”.

There can be little doubt that Washington is the moving force behind this escalation against China, a state posing no obvious military threat to the West.

Continue reading The West’s blueprint for goading China was laid out in Ukraine

Documents show Taiwan working with FBI to prosecute Chinese Americans and intimidate US politicians

The following report by Alan MacLeod, first published in MintPress News, provides convincing proof that separatists in the Taiwanese administration are working with US intelligence agencies to drum up anti-China hostility, intimidate US politicians, influence US media, and drive a McCarthyite agenda.

The documents reviewed by MintPress reveal that Taiwanese officials are monitoring Chinese Americans and passing intelligence to the FBI with a view to having them prosecuted. Furthermore, Taiwan is spending millions in order to influence US public opinion against China and in favor of Taiwanese independence.

When Chinese American groups protested Tsai-Ing Wen’s visit to the US in early 2023, “it appears that Taiwan attempted to have these groups arrested and prosecuted as foreign agents.” In order to render pro-China or anti-Cold War campaigners liable for prosecution, Taiwanese officials aim to “collect clear and concrete evidence” that such campaigners are “directed by Chinese government”. Clearly this contributes to a broader campaign, led by reactionary US politicians and billionaire media, to stigmatize and criminalize any opposition to the pursuit of a reckless New Cold War.

The article observes that this escalating McCarthyism “has already helped create a culture of fear among Chinese Americans”, with 72 percent of Chinese researchers in the US feeling unsafe, according to a recent survey. Meanwhile, “hate crimes against Asian Americans have skyrocketed.”

With the US dangerously promoting a hegemonist agenda and using economic, diplomatic, propaganda and military means to try and put an end to China’s rise, it’s crucial that progressive and anti-war forces stand up against Cold War, against McCarthyism, and against interference in China’s internal affairs – including the question of Taiwan.

Amid a controversial visit from Vice President William Lai (the front-runner to be his country’s next leader), official documents reviewed by “MintPress News” show that the Taiwanese government is attempting to drum up anti-China hostility, influence and intimidate American politicians and is even working with the FBI and other agencies to spy on and prosecute Chinese American citizens.

Key points of this investigation
• Taiwanese officials are monitoring Chinese Americans and passing intelligence to the FBI in attempts to have them prosecuted.
• Taiwan is working with “friends” in media and politics to create a culture of fear towards China and Chinese people in the US
• Taiwanese officials claim they are “directing” and “guiding” certain US politicians.
• Taiwan is monitoring and helping to intimidate U.S. politicians they deem to be too pro-China.
• The island is spending millions funding US think tanks that inject pro-Taiwan and anti-China talking points into American politics.

Working with the feds to prosecute Chinese Americans

Vice President Lai’s journey to the United States is, officially, only a stopover on his way to Paraguay (the U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent state). He is scheduled to make appearances in both New York and San Francisco.

Lai himself is an outspoken leader of the growing movement for Taiwanese independence. Many nationalists see Taiwan as culturally different from the mainland and argue it would be better off as a fully independent state. To achieve this goal, they are attempting to gain American backing and influence American public opinion. China, however, sees the matter as purely internal, and American attempts to wrest Taiwan out of its orbit as a potential trigger for World War Three.

Continue reading Documents show Taiwan working with FBI to prosecute Chinese Americans and intimidate US politicians

DPRK expresses full solidarity with China in light of US provocations

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has expressed its full solidarity with its socialist neighbour and ally after the United States recently declared its intention to provide the Chinese renegade province of Taiwan with a further 345 million dollars’ worth of weapons.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 4, Maeng Yong Rim, director general of the Department of Chinese Affairs in the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry, noted that the US action, “constitutes a flagrant violation of the one China principle, which the US committed itself to before the Chinese government and people, and of the spirit of the three China-US joint communiqués. It is also an interference in the internal affairs of China and a grave encroachment on China’s sovereignty and security.”

According to the DPRK official:

“While talking about the improvement of relations with China, the present US administration is clinging to the Taiwan issue, the most important core interests of China. Its intention is clear.

“It is the sinister intention of the US to turn Taiwan into an unsinkable advanced base against China and the first-line trench for carrying out its strategy for deterring China and thus secure its hegemonic position in the Asia-Pacific region.

“But the US ambition for hegemony can never work on the strength of the powerful Chinese people.”

Maeng Yong Rim went on to warn: “Independent and sovereign states in the Asia-Pacific region have the strength and will to firmly defend their sovereignty and core interests from the US high-handed and arbitrary practices.”

His statement concluded: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will fully support any measure of the People’s Republic of China to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and achieve the sacred cause of the unification of the Chinese nation.”

The following article was originally carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Maeng Yong Rim, director general of the Department of Chinese Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK, issued the following press statement on August 3:

Recently, the U.S. made public “Weapons Aid Package” for providing Taiwan with weapons worth 345 million U.S. dollars, thus driving the military tensions in the Asia-Pacific region to another ignition point of war.

In less than three years since the present U.S. administration came into power, it provided military aid to Taiwan as times as the preceding administration had done.

The U.S. is planning to provide Taiwan with military aid worth 10 billion U.S. dollars for the coming five years and emergency defense aid worth a billion U.S. dollars every year.

This constitutes a flagrant violation of the one China principle, which the U.S. committed itself before the Chinese government and people, and of the spirit of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It is also an interference in internal affairs of China and a grave encroachment on China’s sovereignty and security.

The U.S. says in public that it abides by the principle of one China but instigates in the rear the “independence” of Taiwan, inseparable part of China. Such shameless duality and double-dealing of the U.S. are a dangerous political and military provocation totally destroying the stability of the regional situation and an anti-peace reckless act which must be condemned by the world people.

Continue reading DPRK expresses full solidarity with China in light of US provocations

Arming Taiwan is an insane provocation

In this incisive article written for AntiWar.com, John V Walsh exposes the utter recklessness of the US’s policy of increasing arms supplies to Taiwan.

Walsh describes the US’s longstanding First Island Chain strategy – a collection of military bases, weapons and troops deployed specifically in order to project US power and to contain and encircle the People’s Republic of China – and notes that Taiwan is at the center of this strategy. Indeed Taiwan is considered by Washington’s hawks as “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier”.

Walsh observes that while the US officially adheres to the One China Policy, which recognizes that Taiwan is part of China, it has been arming Taiwan for decades and is increasingly flagrant in its encouragement of secessionist forces. For obvious reasons, this is a red line for Beijing. “A secessionist Taiwan, as an armed ally of the US, represents to China a return to the Century of Humiliation at the hands of the colonial West.”

The US should adhere to international law and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. “Taiwan and Beijing can settle their disagreements by themselves. Frankly put, disagreements between the two are none of America’s business.” Furthermore, the US should put an end to provocations and militarism in the region, and take China up on its oft-repeated offer of mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two economies.

Those in the West who are concerned with building a lasting peace should pressure their governments to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and to stop arming Taiwan.

The Island of Taiwan has been turned into a “powder keg” by the infusion of U.S. weaponry, pushing the Taiwanese people into the “abyss of disaster.”  These are the words of the Chinese Defense Ministry in reaction to the recent $440 million sale of U.S. arms to the island. And now the U.S. is also giving, not selling, arms to Taiwan, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

The “First Island Chain” Strategy of the U.S.

Taiwan is but one in a series of islands along the Chinese coast, often called “The First Island Chain,” which now bristles with advanced U.S. weapons. These are accompanied by tens of thousands of supporting U.S. military personnel and combat troops.  The “First Island Chain” extends from Japan in the north southward through Japan’s Ryukyu islands which include Okinawa, to Taiwan and on to the northern Philippines. (U.S. ally, South Korea, with a military of 500,000 active duty personnel and 3 million reserves is a powerful adjunct to this chain.) In U.S. military doctrine the First Island Chain is a base to “project power” and restrict sea access to China.

Taiwan is at the center this string of islands and is considered the focal point of The First Island Chain strategy. When the fiercely hawkish Cold Warrior, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, conceived the strategy in 1951, he dubbed Taiwan America’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier.”

Taiwan is now one source of contention between the U.S. and China. As is often said but rarely done, the pursuit of peace demands that we understand the point of view of those who are marked as our adversaries. And, in China’s eyes, Taiwan and the rest of these armed isles look like both chain and noose.

Continue reading Arming Taiwan is an insane provocation

US anti-imperialist delegation meets with Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League

Delegates from the US Workers’ World Party and the International Action Center visited China in May as part of a program organised by the China-US Solidarity Network.

In this first report on their trip, which was originally published in the Workers World newspaper, Arjae Red reports on the delegates’ Beijing meeting with the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. The League is one of eight democratic political parties in China that accept the leadership of the communist party and work alongside it in the governance of the country. 

The visitors were briefed on the League’s origins in the Taiwanese Communist Party, which was formed when the Chinese island was under Japanese colonial rule. When the people in Taiwan rose in struggle against brutal repression by the Kuomintang, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands, the communists were in the forefront of organising and waging the armed resistance. The League was formed in 1947 by survivors, who had been forced to flee to Hong Kong. Today it works for the reunification of China and the well-being of the people in Taiwan.

Workers World Party and International Action Center delegates traveled to the People’s Republic of China in May as part of an educational and political exchange organized by the China-U.S. Solidarity Network. The purpose of the delegation was multifold: to conduct research that brings truth to expose the lies of the U.S. empire, as well as to strengthen international friendships and forge a more resilient global anti-imperialist movement. Among the many stops on this tour was a meeting in Beijing with representatives of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (Taimeng).

One of eight parties in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a united front under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, Taimeng works alongside the CPC to formulate the government’s policy in regard to relations between the mainland and Taiwan. 

Taimeng holds 13 seats in the National People’s Congress and three seats in the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The League consists of members of Taiwanese descent and with connections to Taiwan residents. It supports the reunification of Taiwan with the People’s Republic of China mainland.

The meeting between the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League and Workers World Party May 14 took place at a time when U.S.-China tensions are at an all-time high. Both parties exchanged friendly messages expressing a common interest in de-escalating the U.S.-led war drive against China, in which Taiwan is used as a pawn by U.S. imperialism.

The U.S. empire promotes Taiwan separatism, despite its stated agreement to the “One China” policy that supposedly forms the bedrock of U.S.-China relations. It simultaneously uses sanctions and other methods of economic warfare, in tandem with military encirclement and weapons imports, to turn the region into a powder keg. 

Members of Taimeng brought the delegates from Workers World Party through a tour of their three-story exhibit, showcasing the history of their organization from its inception in 1947, with roots in the Taiwanese Communist Party, to the present day.

Beginning on Feb. 28, 1947, the Kuomintang-led government of Taiwan began massacring people who had become fed up with the brutal administration of the island. Taiwanese communists organized resistance to this KMT violence. Xie Xuehong, a key leader in the Taiwanese women’s movement and founding member of the Taiwanese Communist Party, created a force in Taichung dubbed the 27 Brigade, a communist-led guerilla unit comprising some thousands of fighters.

The violence of the KMT resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. In the end, many left forces were violently suppressed and forced off the island. Surviving members of the Taiwanese Communist Party relocated to Hong Kong and formed the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. Two years later in 1949, Taimeng witnessed the victory of the communist forces on the mainland and participated in the birth of the People’s Republic of China.

As an ally in the United Front with the CPC, Taimeng works resolutely toward a united China and promotes policies that mutually benefit people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Su Hui, chairperson of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League’s Central Committee, said at a press conference in March: “With the word ‘Taiwan’ in our party’s name, one of our missions is to carry on Taiwan compatriots’ noble tradition of loving our nation and homeland, and try our best to realize the motherland’s reunification.”

Chen Weihua on the New Cold War, Taiwan and Ukraine

On the road in Brussels, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong caught up with the prominent Chinese journalist Chen Weihua (China Daily’s EU bureau chief) for a very interesting interview.

Chen comments at length on the New Cold War and the deterioration in US-China relations during the Trump administration. Having worked in the US for several years during the Obama years, Chen witnessed a far healthier bilateral relationship, characterized mainly by cooperation – in spite of the launch of the Pivot to Asia, which obviously heralded a strategic shift on the part of the US. However, Trump dismantled the policy of engagement that had been in place since the restoration of relations between the two countries in the 1970s and, sadly, the Biden administration has been no improvement when it comes to US-China relations. Biden on the campaign trail criticized Trump’s trade war, but in office he’s continued and deepened it.

Regarding the Taiwan issue, Chen Weihua appealed to US politicians to not undermine the One China Principle or attempt to change the status quo over Taiwan. He stated that there is a consensus in China in favor of peaceful national reunification, and a general understanding that this process may take considerable time. For the US to encourage Taiwanese separatism and stoke the flames of conflict in the region is dangerous and ill-advised.

Interview: China is governed in the interests of working people, the US in the interests of capital

In this interview with Global Times, Sara Flounders – a contributing editor to Workers World and a member of our advisory group – shares her analysis of the escalating New Cold War and the US’s global hegemonic project. Comparing the West’s approach of war, sanctions, coercion and destabilisation with China’s vision of a human community with a shared future, Sara observes:

The very concept of shared future and cooperation has a profound impact. It’s not threatening to other countries, and it has the win-win idea, meaning if your economy is growing and our economy is growing, that’s better for both of us. That’s the basis of building further and deeper trust.

Sara points out that the differing approaches to international and domestic politics taken by the US and China can ultimately be explained by their differing social systems. In socialist China, the government operates in the interests of working people, whereas “the political parties in the US operate in the interests of the top corporations and banks.”

The interview concludes with a note of caution: with US hegemony in decline, the US ruling class is hitting out in all directions in a bid to prevent that decline. “It’s a very dangerous juncture, because this is very threatening to US imperialism and we have to be prepared what they will do to try to preserve their role.” The situation calls for maximum unity of the global working class and oppressed nations, to defend our collective interests and press ahead to a multipolar future free from imperialism.

GT: The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dragged on for more than a year. What lessons can the world draw from this conflict?

Flounders: Hopefully, they will draw the conclusion not to go along with US provocations, intentional disruptions, and efforts to create crisis.

Now, out of this war in the past year, Russia has not only survived economically, its currency and its trade with the Global South have been reinforced and are stronger today. However, for the EU, they’re in a much weaker position. We shouldn’t forget that even though they are US allies, they are also competitors. The euro is now weaker than the dollar, the war has benefited the US and yet has been very harmful for all of the EU countries that went along with the war.

I think countries around the world will draw their conclusions. Do they want to be roped into this? Especially in Asia, who can US imperialism rope in in terms of their own sovereignty? Who can resist the US pressure?

GT: Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen was in California and met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. While the US contains Russia through the Ukraine war in Europe, does it also want to provoke a war in the Taiwan Strait to contain China?

Flounders: This meeting was a direct and intentional violation of signed agreements that the US has made with China. China is one. Taiwan is a province of China. This is agreed to by the world, by the United Nations, by the US and by Taiwan’s “constitution.” For Kevin McCarthy to line up other congressional members and meet with Tsai Ing-wen is a direct violation of past agreements.

In the same way that Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last year was a direct and deliberate violation of the agreement. There’s no reason to do this, except to attempt to create provocations, to create further disruption of what had been an orderly process of reconciliation and of Taiwan becoming part of China, which is the wish for great majority of the people, even in Taiwan.

China’s approach is to continue to use diplomacy to not be baited into an intentional provocation. However, it is becoming a difficult situation because one offense after another, one arms shipment after another. And US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, destroyers, sail into the Taiwan Straits. These are all intended provocations, and any one of them could be a dangerous jumping-off point. 

GT: The US pursues hegemony by provoking conflicts. China promotes a human community with a shared future. What do the two differing governance concepts bring to the world?

Flounders: The very concept of shared future and cooperation has a profound impact. It’s not threatening to other countries, and it has the win-win idea, meaning if your economy is growing and our economy is growing, that’s better for both of us. That’s the basis of building further and deeper trust.

Continue reading Interview: China is governed in the interests of working people, the US in the interests of capital

US uses Taiwan as pawn for war on China

In the following article, which originally appeared in Workers World, Sara Flounders, a contributing editor to the newspaper and a member of our advisory group, unmasks and dissects the US plans for war against China, notably with Taiwan as a pretext.

Sara notes that, “Taiwan, like Ukraine, is a pawn. The military and economic threats on both China and Russia are a desperate bid to quash the emergence of a multipolar world.” She proceeds to outline how, “US imperialist hegemony is being challenged from every side,” citing de-dollarization, the strength of China’s economy, its position in international trade, and the Belt and Road Initiative.

“China,” she notes, “and a growing number of countries are in an increasingly stronger position to resist the U.S.’s unequal demands. Countries with three-quarters of the world’s population refused to go along with sanctions on Russia. Will they be willing to accept US sanctions on China?”

Sara explains that, “Taiwan’s trade with China is far bigger than its trade with the US. Mainland China and Hong Kong accounted for 42% of Taiwan’s exports last year, while the US had only a 15% share, according to official Taiwan data. For Taiwan’s imports, mainland China and Hong Kong again ranked first with a 22% share. The US only had a 10% share, ranking behind Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia. South Korea and Japan have greater trade levels with China than with the US.” For US imperialism, the problem is how to make countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific act against their own economic interests.

Explaining the US military moves in some detail, Sara writes that the US is frantically seeking to stop China’s economic rise by militarily encircling it, aiming to create an Asian version of NATO. In its drive to find an excuse for war, the US is reversing the One China policy to which it has committed over the last 50 years.

Her article ends with the militant call: We must mobilize! US hands off China!

While the U.S.-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine continues unabated, the U.S. is preparing at breakneck speed for war with China, using Taiwan as the excuse. Taiwan, like Ukraine, is a pawn. The military and economic threats on both China and Russia are a desperate bid to quash the emergence of a multipolar world.

U.S. imperialist hegemony is being challenged from every side. De-dollarization among major economies of the Global South is a component of trade agreements among the powerful emerging economies of China, Russia, Iran, Brazil, India, Malaysia and South Africa. Even Saudi Arabia, a reactionary bulwark of U.S. domination in West Asia, is willing to seek new agreements with Iran and is interested in trading their oil in Chinese yuan renminbi, rather than be wholly dependent on U.S. dollars. 

Even more threatening to U.S. capitalists is that China is developing trade relations with the 40 countries sanctioned by Washington, and they are doing this by barter and direct currency exchanges. This works around the almighty dollar, the international reserve currency that has dominated global trade and capital flows for 100 years.

These are not the first efforts to find a replacement to U.S. dollar domination. There is no crime that U.S. imperialism wouldn’t commit to preserve the U.S. dollar. Both oil rich Iraq, which proposed a currency based on the dinar in 1990 and Libya, which attempted an African currency in 2010 found they had fabulous resources but no protection from U.S. bombs. Their efforts at sovereignty led to their brutal destruction by U.S. imperialism.

The aspiration to break free of U.S. corporate control is today being challenged by many more countries. China is a more formidable opponent.China is surpassing the U.S. in gross domestic product and the development of its economy. China is the top trading partner to more than 120 countries and the largest external trading partner of the European Union. 

Continue reading US uses Taiwan as pawn for war on China

Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Tsai Ing-wen’s ‘transit’ through the US

The following statement, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on 6 April 2023, expresses China’s strong objection to the US’s facilitation of Tsai Ing-wen’s transit through the US, during which she had a high-profile meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The statement points out that this visit forms part of an increasingly consistent pattern by the US of undermining the One China principle and encouraging Taiwanese separatism, with a view to stoking cross-Strait tensions and weakening China.

The statement urges the US to return to a framework of international law and to its obligations under the three China-US joint communiqués.

Through the past few days, in disregard of China’s serious representations and repeated warnings, the United States deliberately greenlighted the transit of Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Taiwan region, through the United States. US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the number three in the US government, had a high-profile meeting with Tsai. Other US officials and lawmakers also had contact with Tsai and provided the platform for her separatist rhetoric for “Taiwan independence”. This is essentially the United States acting with Taiwan to connive at “Taiwan independence” separatists’ political activities in the United States, conduct official contact with Taiwan and upgrade the substantive relations with Taiwan, and frame it as a “transit”. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués. It seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends an egregiously wrong signal to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it.

The one-China principle is a prevailing consensus of the international community and a basic norm in international relations. It is also the prerequisite and basis for the establishment and development of China-US diplomatic relations. In the three China-US joint communiqués, the United States made a clear commitment of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. Over the years, however, the United States has obdurately attempted to contain China by exploiting the Taiwan question and betrayed its commitments. The United States has been crossing the line and acting provocatively on issues such as US-Taiwan official exchanges, arms sales to and military dealings with Taiwan and creating chances for Taiwan to expand its so-called “international space”, and kept fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle. Since taking office, Tsai has refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle. Instead of reining in separatist rhetoric and activities in Taiwan for “Taiwan independence”, Tsai has supported and encouraged them, and sought to push for “incremental independence” under various pretenses. This has put cross-Strait relations in serious difficulty.

The Taiwan question is at the core of China’s core interests and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. “Taiwan independence” and cross-Strait peace and stability are as irreconcilable as fire and water. The pursuit of “Taiwan independence” will lead nowhere. In response to the egregiously wrong action taken by the United States and Taiwan, China will take strong and resolute measures to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We once again urge the United States to adhere to the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués, act on the US leader’s assurances of not supporting “Taiwan independence” and not supporting “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop at once any form of official exchanges with Taiwan, stop upgrading substantive relations with Taiwan, stop creating factors that could cause tensions in the Taiwan Strait, stop containing China by exploiting the Taiwan question, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path.

Is Taiwan the next Ukraine?

Interviewed on BreakThrough News by Eugene Puryear and Rania Khalek, Professor Ken Hammond gives an extremely clear explanation of US policy in relation to Taiwan. Ken points out that the corporate media has reached fever pitch, encouraging the Western public to think that China is on the cusp of launching a military invasion of Taiwan Island; that this is a prima facie example of China’s disruption of the peaceful “rules-based order” that the US so benevolently presides over. This narrative functions to raise public support for a New Cold War, and to silence those voices making the rather obvious point that US-China cooperation over climate change and other global problems is both urgent and necessary.

Ken points out that China’s position in relation to Taiwan has not changed. China has always reiterated its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the issue, whilst maintaining its right to use force in the face of interference or any unilateral attempt by separatists to declare Taiwan’s independence. The issue is a fundamental concern of China: for hundreds of years, Taiwan has been part of China, and the only reason Taiwan is administered separately today is that the US Navy positioned itself in the Taiwan Strait following the victory of the Chinese Revolution in order to protect the remnants of the Nationalist regime and prevent national reunification under the CPC-led government in Beijing.

The US continues to provoke China over the Taiwan issue – and other issues – in the hope of triggering an incident that can be parlayed into a conflict which the US can somehow leverage to stall China’s development and its emergence as a major player in global affairs. Ultimately, Ken points out, this is done in order to protect US hegemony, and would certainly not benefit the ordinary people of the US. It’s a profoundly dangerous strategy which must be exposed and opposed.

The interview is embedded below.

Blinken attacks China for seeking peace in Ukraine

In this insightful article for Fighting Words, Chris Fry summarizes the latest efforts by the Biden administration to slander – and escalate tensions with – China.

The article starts by describing Antony Blinken’s recent accusations that China is sending – or “contemplating sending” – military assistance to Russia. Chris notes the twisted irony of this accusation, given that “the US has supplied more than $100 billion in military aid to Ukraine so far, with more on the way,” and given that the US government is quite clearly implementing a strategy directed not at bringing about peace or saving Ukrainian lives, but at defeating and weakening the Russian Federation and expanding NATO’s hegemony in Europe.

It is presumably not a coincidence that this accusation is being amplified at a time when China has put forward an important position paper on the Ukraine conflict, calling for the abandoning of Cold War mentality, a resumption of peace talks, and an end to illegal sanctions. China’s peace proposals – grounded firmly in international law and consistent with the principles of the UN Charter – are resonating with governments throughout the world, particularly in the Global South. Therefore the US is doing what it can to tarnish China’s reputation as a responsible power.

Chris also highlights the US’s increasingly desperate attempts to stoke tensions in relation to Taiwan Province. With the anti-independence Kuomintang having scored an important victory in Taiwan’s local elections last year – and having good prospects in next year’s presidential elections – the US is fast-tracking its provocations, which “seek to provoke a justified but costly Chinese military attack on Taiwan and thus ‘justify’ a US war against China.”

China’s response to such provocations has been measured and proportional; as such the US strategy is failing. Nonetheless, notes the author, “progressives and anti-war activists must prepare now to muster their forces.”

Unable to intimidate the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over its balloon being shot down by U.S. Air Force jets along with three other balloons in a missile-firing frenzy, President Biden, through his war hawk Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is now accusing China of “contemplating sending lethal aid” to the Russian Federation.

Speaking to “Meet the Press” on February 9 after meeting with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi in Munich, Blinken arrogantly attacked China for its relations with the Russian Federation while it maintains strict neutrality in the conflict:

“Publicly, they present themselves as a country striving for peace in Ukraine,” he said … “But privately, as I said, we’ve seen already over these past months the provision of nonlethal assistance that does go directly to aiding and abetting Russia’s war effort.”

Continue reading Blinken attacks China for seeking peace in Ukraine

War fever: after Ukraine, Taiwan?

The text below is the English translation of an interview with Dirk Nimmegeers, co-editor of ChinaSquare.be and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member, originally published in De Wereld Morgen.

The interview focuses on the prospects for peace across the Taiwan Strait, particularly in the light of the recent comment by US General Mike Minihan that “my gut tells me” there will be a war over Taiwan in 2025. Dirk gives a summary of Taiwan’s 20th century history and the evolution of US policy in relation to the province, which since the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972 has officially been that “the United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.” Dirk notes that, in spite of this official adherence to the One China policy, the US has been encouraging “the most reckless separatist and militaristic politicians on Taiwan” and increasing arms sales to the province. Furthermore President Biden has repeatedly (and unilaterally) stated that the US would would intervene militarily if the People’s Republic attempted to change the status quo by force.

With China and Russia in particular in the crosshairs, Washington is boosting its ‘defence’ spending, modernising its nuclear arsenal, and escalating its militarisation of the Pacific – via AUKUS, its encouragement of Japan’s remilitarisation, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and more. “It is clear, and Washington does not deny it, that all this is primarily directed against China.” As part of this overall campaign of China encirclement, “one could argue that Taiwan has been assigned the role of a kind of military base by the US”. Additionally, Dirk opines that US strategists seem determined to use Taiwan against China in much the same way as they are using Ukraine against Russia, stoking conflict in order to weaken the emerging powers and thereby protect US hegemony.

Dirk concludes with a call for the peace movement in the West to make its voice heard loud and clear in forceful opposition to the US policy of escalating tensions over Taiwan. While the media presents the issue as one of Chinese bellicosity, the truth is that China’s position on the Taiwan question has not changed for many decades: “China is aiming at a peaceful reunification. But it also wants past agreements to be respected.” However, China will naturally defend its sovereignty against rising provocations. Peace can only be guaranteed if the US and its allies cease their provocations and return to a framework of cooperation, respect for international law, and respect for China’s sovereignty.

To fully understand what exactly is going on, it is important to grasp Taiwan’s special status. Can you explain that status a bit?

Taiwan does have its own government and parliament, but it is not a sovereign or independent state because it is part of China. Almost every state in the world, including the US, recognises that. Taiwan, for instance, has no seat in the UN.

There is only one China, with its government based in Beijing. The Taiwanese political entity was installed in 1949 by the losing side in the Chinese civil war, whose leaders fled to Taiwan.

Legally, the island has been part of China for centuries – like Flanders is part of Belgium, or Friesland is part of the Netherlands. In a way you can see Taiwan as a rebellious province.

What is China’s relationship towards this ‘rebellious province’?

China’s policy has been unchanging for decades: Taiwan should be reunited peacefully with the rest of the country. Beijing would like to see economic ties between the mainland and the island province restored to the same level as they were until recently. More social and cultural contacts would also be beneficial.

However, Beijing has always warned – and does so every time it is gravely provoked – that any declaration of Taiwanese independence or serious moves towards it would lead to a military response. Essentially, the ‘Taiwan issue’ is a domestic one, which the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will settle between themselves.

Continue reading War fever: after Ukraine, Taiwan?

Stop US interference: Interview with the Labour Party of Taiwan

We are very pleased to republish this important and informative interview with Wu Rong-yuan, Chairperson of the Labour Party of Taiwan, the island’s main left-wing political party.

Wu explains that the Labour Party was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people: veteran political prisoners from the martial law period who had persisted in the struggle through long years of incarceration; progressive intellectuals who had grouped around journals published in the 1970s and 1980s; and some leaders of the ongoing labour and social movements. Through this regroupment, the party saw itself as re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China.

Reflecting on his own experience as a student in the 1970s, Wu explains that he and his contemporaries had a strong Chinese national identity, but began to question its representation by the contemporary Kuomintang (then the ruling party on the island), being inspired instead by the more pro-socialist orientation of its founder Dr Sun Yat-sen, along with the student movements in Japan, Europe and North America and the struggle against the Vietnam War and for African-American civil rights. “My personal political views didn’t stop at criticising capitalism and advocating anti-imperialism but were also characterised by a strong identification with our motherland.”

As a result, he was arrested and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life imprisonment and then to 15 years. It was in prison “that I met many renowned political prisoners who, despite having been imprisoned for almost 20 years, were not demoralised. They were still in high spirits.” In words that will resonate with revolutionaries from Ireland to South Africa, and from Chile to Palestine, he quotes Lin Shu-yang, who was the honorary chairman of the party until his death in 2012, and who was imprisoned for 34 years and seven months: “Prison is a school for revolutionaries, so we must stick to our principles and maintain our fighting spirit.”

“Lin once said that when looking at the Taiwan issue from the historical perspective, the complete unification of the country would complete the liberation movement of the entire Chinese nation. This is the continuation of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-colonial Chinese national liberation movement that goes back to the 19th century.”

Responding to a question as to what kind of party the Labour Party is, Wu explains: “Since its founding, the Labour Party has represented the interests of the working class in Taiwan. Therefore, we have been fully involved as a political party in the Taiwan workers’ movement, the movement against imperialist domination and interference, and the movement for reunification…

“In the Labour Party of Taiwan’s analysis of the social and economic situation in Taiwan at the current historical stage, the contradiction between unification and independence is the main contradiction in Taiwan’s society, while the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie is the basic contradiction. The Labour Party has always adhered to the One China principle… The main contradiction has not changed regardless of which political party has been in power in Taiwan.”

The interview also addresses how the Labour Party sees the present war in Ukraine, and Wu Rong-yuan notes: “We believe that the Russian-Ukrainian War was caused by the expansion of the US-led NATO military alliance to the east. However, we oppose the use of war as a means of resolving this dispute and we call on both sides to sit down for negotiations and talk. It is now clear that this is a proxy war, and Ukraine is just cannon fodder for Washington.”

However, the situation is different from that of Taiwan: “Taiwan is not Ukraine, because Taiwan is a part of China. Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are one country. It is an internal political issue.”

Wu links last summer’s provocative visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to a renewed wave of repression on the island, including tightening so-called ‘national security’ legislation and cooking up supposed ‘espionage’ incidents, whose targets have included mainland students, retired military personnel, Hong Kong businesspeople and political figures advocating reunification.

The interview was conducted by Wim De Ceukelaire of Belgium’s Médecine pour le Peuple and was previously published in English on the website of No Cold War.

In the West, very little is known about the politics and history of Taiwan. Some will remember the island was ruled by the Kuomintang dictatorship for decades during the latter half of the 20th century. Others will know that, since becoming a presidential democracy in the 1990s, the island has had a two-party system with the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the main political parties. Few will know of your party, the Labour Party of Taiwan. Can you tell us about its history?

Wu Rong-yuan: The Labour Party of Taiwan was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people. First, the veteran political prisoners of the martial law period in Taiwan who persisted in their struggle while they were imprisoned for a long time. Second, a collection of progressive intellectuals who were united by the well-known magazine “China Tide” (夏潮) in the 1970s and the equally prominent publication “The Human World” (人間) in the 1980s, including Chen Ying-zhen (陳映真), Su Qing-li (蘇慶黎), Wang Li-xia (汪立峽), and others. Third, there were some leaders of the labour and social movements at that time, such as Luo Mei-wen (羅美文) (now a member of the Hsinchu County Council), Ngan Kun-chuan (顏坤泉), and others.

The establishment of the Labour Party of Taiwan initiated the third period in the history of the Left in Taiwan. The first period, from the early 1920s to 1931, was defined by the resistance against the Japanese Empire’s colonial rule;[i] the second period, from 1945 to the 1950s, was marked by the participation of the “Old Classmates” in the New Democratic Revolution[ii] in Taiwan; and the third period, from 1988 onwards,[iii] has been characterised by the re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China. Therefore, we can say that the Labour Party of Taiwan has inherited the history of the left-wing movement of the Taiwanese people since the 1920s, and has continued the history of its patriotic anti-imperialist and unification movement, which was interrupted for nearly 40 years due to the so-called “White Terror”.

Every fall, the Labour Party of Taiwan and many pro-unification groups pay tribute to the victims who died during the “White Terror” in Taipei City. Can you tell us more about what happened to them?

Wu Rong-yuan: My heart is heavy when I talk about this historical tragedy. Most of the victims of the White Terror in Taiwan during the 1950s were local patriotic progressives. Thousands were killed and at least 140,000 were imprisoned in harsh conditions.

During Taiwan’s martial law, the former political prisoners linked up across the island after their release from prison through mutual aid associations. Immediately after the lifting of martial law in October 1987, the Taiwan Political Prisoners’ Mutual Aid Association was established and in March of the following year, Lin Shu-Yang (林書揚), the longest-serving political prisoner in Taiwan, was elected chairperson. They called each other “Old Classmates” and worked hard to continue the tradition of the anti-imperialist patriotic movement of the Taiwanese people.

These “Old Classmates” had been eyewitnesses to Japanese colonial domination and to the civil war between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang. After the lifting of martial law, they laid the basis for a number of unification organisations, including the Labour Party of Taiwan.

Continue reading Stop US interference: Interview with the Labour Party of Taiwan