Thursday, July 18, 2019

Support for Taiwan triggers a brace of misquotes

Jan 11. 2019
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Re: “Chinese culture is shallow and chauvinistic”, “Claims that China seeks global domination are ridiculous”, Have Your Say, January 11.

My little screed of January 9 (“Chinese majoritarianism will have dangerous consequences for our region”) seems to have kindled wrath from both sides. Michael Setter excoriates China with a list of the crimes it has committed, and Yingwai Suchaovanich defends it by reciting the usual Chinese Communist Party line. 

In response to Michael, I did not claim that China has a great culture that is admirable in every way. I said it has a great culture that is admirable in MANY ways. And I was referring to the entire 5,000-year tradition – not the narrow, contemporary segment currently being trumpeted by the People’s Republic of China and its apologists. I think even Michael will have to admit that lifting so many millions of Chinese people out of poverty in such a short time, despite the attendant evils, is an admirable feat. 

In response to Yingwai, I did not claim that China WILL gobble up all of Southeast Asia on the grounds of its substantial population of ethnic Chinese. I said that was where the logical progression of his majoritarian thinking inevitably leads. Despite all his eel-wriggling, Yingwai has never addressed my central thesis, that the Taiwanese people ought to have the right to determine their own destiny. 

S Tsow

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