ROC - Republic of China, de facto government of Taiwan
PRC - People’s Republic of China, de facto government of China
CCP - Chinese Communist Party, largest political party in China
My case here will be relatively straightforward. I will show that the ROC has a strong claim to Taiwan, that the ROC does a better job of governing than the PRC, and that handing over control of Taiwan to the PRC would result in a lot of unnecessary strife. To establish these, I’ll examine historical claims, benefits of democracy, each government’s commitment to protecting human freedoms, the economic systems of both countries, and Taiwanese views of unification.
1. Historical Claims:
The PRC Never Governed Taiwan
The PRC was founded in 1949 after a violent civil war
. Essentially, the PRC took the mainland by force. However, the PRC failed to take Taiwan. Violently seizing part of a country does not entitle the aggressor to the rest of that country. If the Confederacy had succeeded in taking the southern half of the United States, it would not entitle them to the northern states.
Current Taiwanese Government
The Republic of China (ROC) was established in 1912
and began governing Taiwan in 1945
. Both of these events happened before the existence of the PRC. The ROC did not cease to exist, it just relocated its central base of power. Taiwan is a sovereign state.
2. Democratic Rule:
Democracy is Preferable to Authoritarianism
As Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.” We should prefer democratic governments to authoritarian ones for a number of reasons:
- The interests of the government align with the interests of citizens
- Free elections prevent the abuse of centralized power
- Various parties can represent the interests of various voting blocs
- A free press can support opposing views, especially those that expose corruption in the government
The PRC is Authoritarian
Taiwanese Officials are Democratically Elected
3. Recent Track Record on Human Freedoms:
When the PRC took Hong Kong, they did not let Hong Kong self-govern, and their treatment of Taiwan would no doubt be similar. This means that the PRC would have no qualms about committing the same human rights abuses in Taiwan that they commit on their own citizens.
PRC Detainment of Uyghur Muslims
PRC Restrictions on Freedom of Speech
ROC and Freedom of Speech
4. Economic Consequences:
PRC seizure of Hong Kong has led to major economic pitfalls. We can expect similar consequences if they take Taiwan.
Cautionary Example of Hong Kong
The National Security Law
is a hazard for foreign businesses. Hong Kong was once an international financial hub
and an inspiring example of economic prosperity when it was free of the PRC’s draconian economic restrictions. But recent attempts to exert control on Hong Kong by the PRC undo much of the progress of the last hundred years.
has been an essential part of the world economy, with the growth of the semiconductor industry and the more recent shift toward software. China, in contrast, relies on manufacturing
and child labor loopholes
. In the short term, China would benefit by hijacking the production of semiconductors, but the PRC’s command economy puts a major burden on innovation
. Taiwan ranks above China
on technological infrastructure, scientific infrastructure, and innovation capability.
5. Keeping the Peace:
Taiwanese View of Unification
Consequences of Unification
If Taiwan was ruled by the PRC, it would be an extremely unpopular regime imposed by force. We would see extreme political strife, similar to the kind that occurred in Hong Kong
. Consent of the governed is necessary to prevent conflict and unhappiness
, and the PRC’s overreach has continued to prove this.