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Letter for Taiwan's Independence Arrogant

As Chinese-Americans, we would readily admit that the Chinese government has made many mistakes with regards to human rights and its threats to Taiwan. However, we are appalled by the statements made in the Nov. 24 letter titled "Chinese Belligerence Toward Taiwan." While we do not wish to address whether or not Taiwan is entitled to independence, we feel that the authors of the article have done so in an arrogant manner. The authors have played up Taiwan's power in suggesting that Taiwan's independence goals are of greater importance than those of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrators.

The authors say that Taiwan is entitled to independence very largely in part due to its economic weight in the world market. They then claim that, because of this influence, China should be wary of the negative reactions of capitalist countries if it were to interfere with Taiwan's independence goals. However, economics is not a major determinant of independence. If it were, then Taiwan would have been more widely recognized as a sovereign state. In making their argument, the authors make it sound as if Taiwan's economic status exceeds that of China's in the eyes of the world, to the point that the international politics have swung in their favor.

The article cites the divergence in political views between Taiwan and China as an important cause for independence. It is true that Taiwan's democratic government conflicts with China's communist ideology. However, how can a nation in which members of its main governing body regularly break out into fights of hair-pulling and shoe-throwing possibly claim to be of fit democratic governance, more or less act as a "powerful model and catalyst for the democratic transformation of China?"

The concluding statement of the article, "The leaders of the Chinese government should be reminded that an invasion of its democratic neighbor, Taiwan, would wreck relations with capitalist Asia and the West, far more than the killing of the pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 ever did," is the offense that we find most unforgivable. How can the authors show such arrogance as to emphasize Taiwan's power by downplaying the tragedy that was inflicted on students who were fighting for the one thing that they claimed Taiwanese independence would represent: Democracy? Could the authors not have conveyed a similar message without trying to elevate their own plight above those who died for the same goals?

The authors should apologize to the Chinese community for their lack of responsibility in suggesting that their independence is more valuable than the lives of the Chinese Tiananmen demonstrators. They should also express the same sentiment to the MIT Taiwanese community for having misrepresented it with their offensive words.

Adelaide X. Zhang '99

Hua-yin Yu '00