Monday, 20 August 2012

Rewriting The "Obligatory" Paragraph

"However, the economic prosperity of the People’s Republic and the close trade ties between it and Taiwan now mean both are happy to maintain the status quo and not bring up the thorny issue of Taiwan’s political reintegration with the mainland."
So writes Phil Muncaster in the Register concerning the completion of two new submarine fibre-optic cables between Xiamen and the Kinmen islands.

The problem with it is that, although neither the CCP or KMT leadership may "bring up" the issue in public, it would be naive to settle upon the obvious implication of Muncaster's sentence - that annexation is not an end toward which the CCP and the PLA are continuing to move; not only does the PLA maintain an arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles among the 2nd Artillery in Fujian, but those political-economic moves of recent years signalling "warming relations" according to the western press can also be easily interpreted as mid-game chess moves toward annexation.

Remember: the totalitarian past of the KMT in Taiwan has not yet been cleansed, all democracy fanbois bullshit aside. Consider just one example: the government still puts military thought police in the senior highschools and universities to ensure curfews and political conformity. That would be utterly unthinkable in the west (although largely because overt coercion is no longer necessary to ensure broad conformity to the "social contract" bullshit).

The supposedly obligatory political background paragraph for these kinds of stories would be better as follows...

"However, the cross-strait trade between China and Taiwan appears to have caused the CCP to relegate plans for overt military annexation for the time being."

... or, alternatively such articles might be better off without any such background paragraphs. The web is a big place, and the Reg shouldn't be in the business of offering second hand history-wheelchairs for the ignorant.

Edit: the phrase "trade between China and Taiwan" in my rewritten paragraph might be misunderstood as resting upon the sort of implicit collectivism taken for granted within the mainstream of political opinion (e.g. wherein a "nation" is said to have "resources"), yet what I actually had in mind was nothing other than a simplistic statement of geographical-economic fact, i.e. that trade takes place across the strait and therefore between people in both areas.   

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