An important aspect of Chinese culture is saving face. This makes it hard to tell someone that something is wrong, if that person is in a senior position to you. So if you have a system or policy in place in a school – for example – that doesn’t work well, you cannot directly criticise it. You especially cannot complain about it to the administration if it’s a policy they have put in place, for it will imply they are doing a poor job. Instead you need to come up with a new system to replace it and then propose your new system to them, explaining how it will work better, but without directly attacking the current system.
A brief history lesson:
With the communist uprising in
near the end of World War II, the government in China
fled to .
The new government in Taiwan China
chose not to pursue as they had many things to deal with in restoring after the
damage the war had caused. China
The old government arriving in
claimed to still represent
and to be the true Chinese government, living in exile. The local Taiwanese
people at that time were made up of a collection of original inhabitants and
others who had migrated over many years from the China Philippines,
southern China, and
various other islands. They tried to reject the rule of the ex-Chinese
government, so the arriving group of Chinese did what any political power would
– they committed acts of aggression and forced the people through fear and
violence to accept their rule. Japan
For a long time the United Nations (fearful of “scary communists”) accepted the Taiwanese government as the voice of
. After a time this became
ludicrous and China China
(mainland) was invited to the United Nations to take the seat representing . The
Taiwanese government was offered its own seat representing China as an independent
country, but in an act of frustration and flippancy they refused it and left
the U.N. Since then Taiwan China
has made it impossible for
to get the offer of that seat back. Taiwan
Their two main political parties also seem divided over the issue. The Nationalist Party (KMT) keep trying to build ties with
China, but whether it’s to work toward merging
the two countries or simply to appease to keep them from invading, I’m
not sure. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wants Taiwanese independence
internationally recognised. China
A problem arises with the custom of saving face.
China has declared Taiwan
is part of .
They have also put a clause into their constitution which states that if Taiwan
declares itself independent they are obliged to invade, as (for them) it will
be seen as an internal affair – a province trying to break away. China
– doing its best to stick its nose into everyone’s business – came to
intercede. In 1982, under Reagan, they agreed to “acknowledge” U.S.A. ’s ‘One
China’ policy, but not “recognise” the same interpretation of what it means.
This means that the China U.S.
could internationally agree to recognise China’s
claim, helping them save face, but also secure Taiwan’s
independence from ’s
government. They backed this up with six assurances and by posting military
bases all over the Pacific – which was their goal to begin with. China
One of the six assurances was that the
will not alter its position regarding sovereignty over . Taiwan
This is essentially a compromise. Two governments agree to a statement and then choose to interpret said statement two different ways. It’s like two people in a relationship agreeing to have a monogamous relationship and then taking monogamous to mean different things.
not surprisingly, had ulterior motives. Stepping in the middle of U.S. China and Taiwan
may have been good for Taiwan’s
de facto independence (even if not it’s
internationally recognised), but it also gave the the ability to establish more military
camps in the Pacific. It also allows the U.S. U.S.
to use its influence to ensure all of the ’ excess, low quality produce
has an outlet. They pressure the Taiwanese government to pass Free Trade
Agreements which prevent the Taiwanese government from stopping the importation
of food from the U.S., even if the food does not pass the health and safety
So why have I mentioned this now? On Monday King Pu-tsung, the representative to the
told lawmakers that he had never heard of the U.S.’
“One China” policy that Washington does not
recognise Taiwan as part of . In
essence he was suggesting that he knew only of China China’s
interpretation of the “One China” policy and that he believed the ’
interpretation to be the same. U.S.
His motives for doing this are unclear. It could be that he was simply trying to show his affiliation for the KMT political party. It could be that he wanted to stir up trouble before his next meeting, for he was in Taibei to “[brief] the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee on US-Taiwan relations.” Maybe the
is getting ready another bill they wish Taiwan
to pass for the U.S.’
benefit and want to remind
how much it “owes” them. Who knows? Taiwan