US Signs Law Against Chinese Interference In Tibet And Taiwan

US Signs Law Against Chinese Interference In Tibet And Taiwan

With outgoing US President Trump approving measures to bolster the position of Tibet against China, let us look at the measures approved as well as at Taiwan, which would be another beneficiary of the move.

Crux of the Matter

New Law By US – For Tibet And Taiwan
US President Donald Trump has passed the Tibet Policy and Support Act along with the Taiwan Assurance Act.

US-Taiwan Relations Strengthened
The Taiwan Assurance Act supports the inclusion of Taiwan in the UN, WHO, and other international bodies. Currently, Taiwan is not a part of such organizations as most of them recognize mainland China as the sole representative. It also calls for “regular sales and transfers of defense articles to Taiwan in order to enhance its self-defence capabilities”.

For more details on Taiwan and China read: History of Taiwan

Relief For Lhasa
The Law passed by Trump recognizes the “absolute right” of Tibetans to choose the next Dalai Lama, and levies sanctions on Chinese interference in the process. It also demands a US consulate in Lhasa (capital of Tibet).

Backdrop
The ‘Tibet Policy and Support Act’ of the US came amidst:

  • Reports of China increasing forced labour in Tibet.
  • The imminence of ‘reincarnation’ of the Dalai Lama.
  • Continued strain in US-China relationship.

Reactions

We urge the U.S. side to stop meddling in China’s internal affairs and refrain from signing into law these negative clauses and acts, lest it further harms our further cooperation and bilateral relations.

Wang Wenbin, Spokesperson, Foreign Ministry of China

This legislation sends a powerful message of hope and justice to the Tibetans inside Tibet and bolsters US support for the protection of Tibetan people’s religious freedom, human rights, environmental rights and exile Tibetan democracy like never before.

Lobsang Sangay, President, Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

Curiopedia
  • Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and Gandhi’s spiritual heir to nonviolence.
  • The Potala Palace is a dzong fortress in the city of Lhasa, in Tibet. It was the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas from 1649 to 1959, has been a museum since then, and has been a World Heritage Site since 1994.
  • McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamshala, India. It is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” because of its large population of Tibetans. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.
  • The name “Dalai Lama” is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning “ocean” or “big” and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning “master, guru”. The Dalai Lama is also known in Tibetan as the Rgyal-ba (“Precious Conqueror”).

History Of Taiwan

History Of Taiwan

As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October, let us look at its history, its relations with China and its presence in the 21st Century.

Crux of the Matter

Taiwan is an island separated from China by a 150 km strait.

Taiwan Before World War II

  • Taiwan was ruled by Qing Dynasty of China till 1895.
  • 1895: The First Sino-Japanese War occurred. Japan defeated China, with Taiwan being ceded to Japanese control.
  • 1911: Uprising started against the Qing dynasty.
  • 1912: The Qing dynasty was removed and the ‘Republic of China’ (RoC) was established. China went under the rule of the Nationalist party (Kuomintang), which was later transformed into Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) in 1919.

Taiwan After WW II

  • Japan surrendered at the end of World War 2, after which the Allied forces put Taiwan under the control of China, which was ruled by the KMT (Nationalist Party).
  • 1949: Civil war in China, going since the 1930s, ended. Communist Party of China (CPC), under Mao Zedong, won the war and declared a People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek took exile in Taiwan along with 2 million of his soldiers. He formed a Government there and claimed itself the official Government of China. Meanwhile, the CPC continued its rule in China.
  • 1971: The United Nations (UN) officially recognized the Communist Party of China as the official representative, and stopped recognising Taiwan. Several countries shifted their embassies to Beijing and considered Taiwan as Chinese territory.

Taiwan Miracle
Taiwan embarked on economic development through industrialization labelled as “Taiwan miracle”. It proved successful as its Gross National Product (GNP) grew by 360% in the period 1965 – 1986, while its Global Industrial Production output grew by 680% in the same period.

  • China provided a “peaceful reunification” option to Taiwan in 1980s. A ‘1 country, 2 systems’ was offered to grant Taiwan autonomy while uniting it with China, which Taiwan did not accept.
  • 1988: Lee Teng-Hui became the first President of Taiwan born in the country.
  • 1996: First elections occurred in Taiwan. China initiated “missile tests” amidst elections, against which the US sailed aircraft carriers to protect Taiwanese elections.
  • 2000: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian promised to not declare independence if China did not attack it and let it continue with its autonomy.

Taiwan In 21st Century

  • 2006: Taiwan removed the National Unification Council (to manage unification with China), which drew strong criticism from the mainland.
    Relations between Taiwan and China improved in the following years.
  • 2008: China sent 2 giant pandas to Taiwan as gifts.
  • 2010: Both countries signed ‘Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA)’, the most significant pact in their history.

Tsai Era

  • 2016: Tsai Ing-wen, a pro-independence candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, became the President of Taiwan. China broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan as Tsai didn’t acknowledge “one China”.
  • In the same year, US President Donald Trump broke decades old protocol and talked to Taiwanese President on phone.
  • January 2020: Tsai claimed in January 2020 that “we don’t have a need to declare ourselves an independent state [as] we are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan”.
    Chinese aggression has prompted several nations to strengthen their ties with Taiwan.

France discussed supplying upgrade to the French warships Taiwan bought in 1991 in May 2020 and told China to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic when it criticized the move. US put a demand to include Taiwan in the UN in May 2020 as Taiwan successfully managed the Covid-19 pandemic, with 524 total cases and 7 deaths as of 8 October.

Did you know that the Chinese embassy in India has written a letter to Indian media to not refer to Taiwan as a nation or its leader as the President after several Indian newspapers featured an ad by the Taiwanese government ahead of Taiwan National Day, which featured President Tsai Ing-wen with a slogan “Taiwan and India are natural partners”? Quench your curiosity here: Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

Curiopedia
  • The Blue Sky with a White Sun serves as the national emblem of the Republic of China. In the “Blue Sky with a White Sun” symbol, the twelve rays of the white Sun represent the twelve months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours.
  • Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 until 1989. The system of “one country, two systems” was formulated by Deng himself.
  • The Taiwan consensus is a Taiwanese political term, which was coined in 2011 by Tsai Ing-wen, and is intended to replace the “1992 consensus”. The “1992 consensus” is based on the “One-China policy”, which is a policy asserting that there is only one sovereign state under the name China.

Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October, China directed Indian media to modify their reporting of the day, continuing its attempts to interfere in media of other nations.

Crux of the Matter

Taiwan National Day
Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October every year to mark the Wuchang Uprising of 1911, which ended the Qing dynasty in China and established the ‘Republic of China’. However, a controversy has occurred over Chinese interference in coverage of the event in India.

Indian Media Reporting Taiwan
Several Indian newspapers featured an ad by the Taiwanese government ahead of Taiwan National Day, which featured President Tsai Ing-wen with a slogan “Taiwan and India are natural partners”.

Chinese embassy in India issued a letter to Indian media as it considers Taiwan its territory. In the letter, China asked Indian media to “not violate the One-China principle”. It also asked Indian media to not refer to Taiwan “as a ‘country(nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘President’”.

Taiwan Hits Back
In response to the Chinese letter, Taiwanese foreign ministry tweeted that “Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST!” (to China).

Ironically, China interfered in the Indian territory a week back when the Chinese foreign ministry claimed that “China has not recognised Ladakh union territory illegally set up by the Indian side”.

To read about the history of the formation of Taiwan and its relationship with China and world nations, check this story: History Of Taiwan

Curiopedia
  • The Blue Sky with a White Sun serves as the national emblem of the Republic of China. In the “Blue Sky with a White Sun” symbol, the twelve rays of the white Sun represent the twelve months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours.
  • Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 until 1989. The system of “one country, two systems” was formulated by Deng himself.
  • The Taiwan consensus is a Taiwanese political term, which was coined in 2011 by Tsai Ing-wen, and is intended to replace the “1992 consensus”. The “1992 consensus” is based on the “One-China policy”, which is a policy asserting that there is only one sovereign state under the name China.

Taiwan in Geopolitical Hotseat

Taiwan has recently, with its actions against Coronavirus and its engagement with France, US and China imported international spotlight on it.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Arms from France
France and Taiwan have entered in a dialogue to provide arms to the latter. The provision would be the part of an upgrade to the French warships bought by it in 1991. China has expressed contempt for this.

“We stand against foreign arms sales to Taiwan…[and] urge France to abide by the one-China principle”

Zhao Lijian, Spokesperson, Chinese Foreign Ministry

France has retaliated by stating that its step abides the 1994 One-China agreement. France has also urged China to deal with the pandemic first.

United States’s Demand
United States has demanded Taiwan’s inclusion in the United Nations (UN).

China responded to the demand by labeling it as an “internal matter”, and that it considers Taiwan as an “inalienable part” to be represented by China itself. The US also sailed a missile-destroyer ship in the disputed Taiwanese strait after Chinese fighter planes were spotted inside the Taiwanese area. The development has come near the re-swearing of Tsai-Ing-wen as the nation’s President.

History With China

  • 1945: Kuomintang (KMT) party of China begins ruling Taiwan after Japan concedes after World War II.
  • 1949: KMT flees to Taiwan and establishes its rule there as civil war reaches an end.
  • 1950: Civil war continuing from the 1920s ends up, with KMT losing to the Communist Party of China (CPC) under Mao Zedong.
  • 1980s: China proposes “1 country, 2 systems”, granting autonomy to Taiwan if it unifies with China. Taiwan rejects the offer.
  • 1996: Effectively ruled by one party till the point, first direct presidential elections take place.
  • 2016: Tsai-Ing-wen from Democratic People’s Party inclining towards independent Taiwan elects as President.


Dealing with Coronavirus
It is also in news following its success in curbing the Coronavirus outbreak.
Total Cases: 440
Deaths: 7
Recovered: 387

It started monitoring flights from Wuhan from 31 Dec 2019 and banned entry from Wuhan on 23 Jan 2020, and closed all entries from China from 6 Feb 2020. It even piled up over 44 million surgical masks and 1.9 million N-95 masks by January.

What Next?
People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers it as its own part. Therefore, there it is not included in the WHO and UN. Due to the successful control of Coronavirus spread, there is an increased demand for it to be recognized formally by the WHO and the UN. The move is headed by the US.

Curiopedia
  • Taiwan on 8th May donated one million face masks to India to help protect frontline medical personnel engaged in the fight against Covid-19. Its officials said, “The Coronavirus respects no national borders or races, and assistance should not be limited by nations”.
  • In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization. This rapid growth is termed as The Taiwan Miracle or Taiwan Economic Miracle. The growth saw a start after the $4 billion in financial aid and soft credit provided by the US over the 1945–1965 period.
  • After experiencing the rapid growth during the Taiwan Miracle, the nation became known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers” alongside Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong. The success of these economies has served as role models for the Tiger Cub Economies – dominant developing nations of Southeast Asia including. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Taiwan President Rejects China’s “One Country, Two System” Formula

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen rejected the political formula given by China by saying, “we would not accept a ‘one country, two systems‘ political formula that has been suggested to unify the democratic island; it has already failed in Hong Kong.

Crux of the Matter
  • Taiwan considers itself as an independent country called the Republic of China whereas China claims Taiwan as its territory and is trying it got under its control by force if necessary.
  • In the on-going election campaign, President Tsai vowed to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, saying her government would build a mechanism to safeguard freedom and democracy.
  • After anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, the fear of China has become a major topic in the election campaign.
  • Referring to the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong President Tsai considers ‘one country, two systems’ as the government’s abuse of power which is not feasible in Taiwan.
  • Taiwan parliament passed an anti-infiltration law on December 31 to combat threats from China.
  • The law aims to protect Taiwan’s democracy and cross-strait exchanges will not be affected amid worries that the legislation may damage business ties with China. 
  • Though President Tsai denies seeking independence and reiterated that she would not unilaterally change the status quo with China; it is suspected that her Democratic Progressive Party is pushing for the island’s formal independence.
Curiopedia

Taiwan–China relationsare complex and controversial due to the dispute on the political status of Taiwan after the administration of Taiwan was transferred from Japan at the end of World War II in 1945 and the subsequent split of China into the above two in 1949 as a result of civil war, and hinges on two key questions: whether the two entities are two separate countries or two “regions” or parts of the same country that were split by civil war with rivalling governments, and whether the transfer of Taiwan to the Republic of China from Japan after being forced to give up Taiwan in the aftermath of World War II was legal. More Info