將來某一天臺灣應該加入中國大陸嗎？ ~ Should Taiwan Some Day Join Mainland China?
Should Taiwan Some Day Join Mainland China?
Author: James Smyth
Editor: Shen Ruo-yu
Whether Taiwan should some day become a part of China is a very complex question, one which the Taiwanese people themselves have big disagreements about, but hopefully this short essay can make some small contribution to analysis of this subject.
First we should ask, why would one government willingly give up authority to another? Three chief reasons are improvement of national defense, social order, and trade. Under the right conditions, although a government gives up its legal freedom, its citizens’ opportunities increase, and their threats decrease. These were the circumstances for the 13 American colonies that joined together to make the United States. Would Taiwan’s entry into China meet these conditions?
1. National Defense – Taiwan cannot completely defend itself, but rather ensures its defense through international alliances, but this is normal: the democracies of Europe and Asia all depend on some extent on the American security umbrella. Besides North Korea, the biggest danger to Taiwan is mainland China itself. China’s argument, simply put, is “because we can hurt you, you need our protection.” This clearly shows China does not respect Taiwan’s rights, it’s a bad omen for what would occur if the two united. (I must mention one good consequence of a united China, though: Taiwan could finally end its mandatory conscription policy.)
2. Social Order – Jackie Chan said “Chinese people need to be controlled.” For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan “are too free and too chaotic.” It seems he has high standards because I consider Taiwan one of the world’s safest countries. One might say Taiwan’s internal situation is much more settled than China’s. Taiwan isn’t a third world country; it’s a peaceful enough society that it doesn’t require the PRC’s law and order.
3. Trade – The Taiwanese and Chinese economies depend on each other more with each passing year. This seems to be good for both sides, but Taiwan’s independence is an important bargaining chip. If Taiwan becomes a part of China, it will have to obey Beijing’s orders.
That duty of obedience to the capital would be Taiwan’s biggest problem if it joined China. Even if the mainland becomes a free democracy, if Taiwan joined the country its 23 million citizens would be only 1.7% of the total population. If Taiwan and the rest of the country had a conflict of interest, Taiwan could do nothing but give in.
Because my time is limited, I can only discuss the above questions, but the ones below also merit reflection: (1) Could Taiwan preserve its freedoms and social security system? (2) Whose textbooks would the public schools use? (3) Mainland China suppresses Tibetan culture; would it do the same to indigenous Taiwanese? (4) Would a vast number of immigrants from the mainland paralyze Taiwan’s social network? (5) Would the Taiwanese have to pay higher taxes?
I personally believe politicians use nationalism to manipulate the people. Having the same master is not a necessary condition for brotherhood. In order to justify their own claims to the throne, the Ming and Qing dynasties expanded the definition of China. Are the differences among the Han people smaller than the differences between Germans and Austrians? Even Confucius did not consider himself a Chinese citizen: rather, he said he called himself a citizen of Lu. Taiwan can preserve both Chinese culture and its own government at the same time. Its model should not be the continent but rather Singapore.