I recently saw how now China is demanding that airlines across the world stop listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate countries. And it is succeeding somewhat, with several, the most prominent of which is arguably Delta, having already succumbed. When I just looked at the countries of visitors of my site, I was pleased to see some hits from Taiwan. Could the Chinese government start demanding the same from WordPress? Well, WordPress would have no reason to care, because it is already banned in China anyway, so it has nothing to lose, and also nothing to gain unless the Chinese government offers in exchange to un-ban it, which seems exceedingly unlikely. And because of that, I am hosting this on another domain, while still using WordPress as the content generation and storage tool. To be honest, I also refer to Taiwan as separate from China, because it really is different. It’s been under its own system since 1950 when the KMT fled there, and has obviously developed its own political culture. There is also that it was colonized by Japan and was really only settled by Han Chinese from the 17th century on, not to mention that it was also briefly colonized by the Dutch and Spanish, until Koxinga. So I guess the place is not so integrally Chinese. The aborigines there were displaced, with the Han population in Taiwan’s being higher than it is in mainland China, and nobody really cares about that, even less so than people care about what happened to the Native Americans.
Apparently, China is more aggressive now on Taiwan, well obviously because it can. Some people seem exceedingly anxious that the fall of this last bastion of the free world seems imminent. They seem way more emotional about it than I am; I personally am pretty apathetic about Taiwan. Though maybe that’s because Taiwan will fall (or be liberated) sooner or later. Maybe if there really was a serious chance of Taiwanese independence, I would be a little worried, who knows.
I’ve noticed how so many Taiwanese have been massively successful in the US, especially in technology and academia. Jensen Huang of Nvidia, the stock of which has almost 10x’ed the past couple years. Jerry Yang of Yahoo. Steve Chen of YouTube. Horng-Tzer Yau as math professor at Harvard. And a few days ago, I learned to my great surprise that one of the main developers of AlphaGo is Taiwanese too, and his name is Aja Huang. Pretty impressive. A guy I know well, whose grandparents fled as KMT officers to Taiwan, was, on this, like: “well, those evil capitalists who fled to Taiwan sure weren’t a random cut of the population.” 😉 Obviously so, and believe me that it had occurred to me that the IQ distribution in Taiwan and Hong Kong is fat right-tailed for that very reason before he noted this. Many of the wealthy and highly educated fled there, either because they were in the KMT, or to preserve some of their wealth, or out of fear of prospects under the communists. Though surely, most of the cognitive elite stayed, with arguably most of them strongly against the KMT, and the newly established PRC was in fact quite successful at luring back those elite Chinese studying or working in the West at that time. I think it was great that those uber talented Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong were able to study in the West during that period, mostly in United States, where many of them reached astonishing levels of success, which means Chinese civilization maintained some really beneficial contact and exchange with the advanced Western countries despite the conflict. Relative to their counterparts in the mainland, they were certainly advantaged in this regard, at least individually, though surely, the elite Chinese who studied in the USSR also gained tremendously, for themselves yes, but much more for the expertise that they brought back to China, with all of them returning eventually by default, in contrast to those Taiwanese, who stayed in America as professors or engineers or technology entrepreneurs. Taiwan economically also seems to be doing quite well, with its semiconductor industry sufficiently prominent. Unfortunately for certain people, China is poised to gobble up all that, with Taiwan’s economy already dependent on the mainland.
Politically, obviously the regime that fled there, by virtue of their having to flee there, was full of sore, incompetent losers. Turns out Chiang Kai-shek et al. cared more about preserving himself than about preserving his mother country. Apparently, there was also a secret agreement between Chiang and Stalin right after the war where Stalin would promise not to support the communists in exchange for Chiang’s letting Mongolia become independent which would bring any Chinese nationalist utter humiliation. That Moscow did not support the Chinese communists in their war against Chiang, with the exception of sort of letting the Chinese communists capture the city of Harbin that the Red Army had occupied after they left, only makes the Chinese communists more formidable. In the following video, in a UN meeting, the Republic of China representative arguing in favor of his regime in exile says something along the lines of, in English: “it was not the purpose of the statement of Cairo and Potsdam to give Formosa to a puppet regime in China, so that that regime might as make it to its imperial master at Moscow, to use the resources of Formosa to destroy the freedom of the world and to break the peace of the world.” Expectedly, the PRC representative responded with rage, referring to the then 475 million Chinese, as an indication of just how genuinely democratic the Chinese communists actually were ;). Well, what he says has some truth to it, aside from the puppet regime part, by the aforementioned. We all know that those conferences at the end of WWII were mostly about how the US and USSR, the emergent superpowers, would share power after the war, with each wanting to get a bigger piece of the pie for himself. Since Chiang was pro-US, the US gave him a pretty damn good deal, especially relative to what he had actually contributed to the defeat of Japan in the war. I don’t think occurred to those Americans responsible for that the possibility that all of mainland China would fall to communism just 4 years later. Astonishingly, it did, even when America armed the KMT, whereas the USSR, by agreement with Chiang, had not armed his enemy. So all that for America backfired disastrously, and in fact, America was in reality indirectly arming its own enemy, the possibility of which probably also hardly occurred to those morons. On the other hand, America did an excellent job keeping its allies, the most important of which were in Western Europe and East Asia, especially relative to the USSR, which was critical for America’s winning the Cold War. In the region that China’s trying to take over now, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore all developed very well economically with America’s aid, for which America essentially bought their anti-communism in exchange. The thing is that now all that had been well-nurtured and seemingly secured is increasingly on the verge of being transferred away to a force that America has failed to tame. So backlash is perfectly expected, as there is much to lose. I don’t have anything to comment on this really other than what is roughly the objective situation. After all, I don’t like to be too politically opinionated. Though surely, I have quite a casual interest in politics, from a more scientific viewpoint. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens in the next X years.