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Taiwan

Would Taiwan democracy survive union with China?

  • A Chinese plan for democratisation of the mainland might be more reassuring to Taiwan than talk of the island replicating the Hong Kong model
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 7:22pm

Alex Lo in his column, “Why the Hong Kong model will work in Taiwan” (January 5), makes no mention of democracy.

The government of Taiwan has, for some years, been democratically elected. I cannot believe that this has escaped Mr Lo’s notice, therefore I can only conclude that he does not see it as significant. He does not appreciate what democracy means to those who have experienced it: the right to take an active part in the process of re-electing or replacing a government.

While some progress has been made in Hong Kong towards giving the population a vote, we are still a long way from true democracy, a long way from what was promised, or thought by many to be promised, in the Basic Law. Looking ahead to 2047, is this going to change very much? Will Hong Kong be allowed to retain its autonomy?

So what of a “Special Administrative Region of Taiwan”? Would it be allowed to keep its democratically elected government? And for how long? Would the people of Taiwan take that risk? But what of President Xi Jinping’s hint of using force? Would he do so? If he did, would the United States come to Taiwan’s aid?

I am somewhat concerned that the hint of using force against Taiwan has come at a time close to the trade talks between the US and China. Are the Chinese president, who recently had term limits on the presidency removed, and the president of the US, who puts “America first”, going to strike a deal that gives advantages to the US in return for a guarantee that Washington will not intervene in any attempt by China to gain control of Taiwan?

Would it not be sensible if China adopted, published and expedited a realistic plan to move towards full democracy before 2047?

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Threats of using force hardly ‘democratic consultations’

Perhaps at this stage I should be used to Alex Lo’s entrenched support of Beijing. Still, his article supporting President Xi Jinping’s call for “democratic consultations” between China and Taiwan (“Reunification not only right but desirable”, January 3) made me wonder whether Mr Lo ever reflects on what he actually writes in your newspaper.

The president of Taiwan’s party recently lost a substantial number of seats in local elections on the island. I am not sure when Mr Xi’s party last took part in any election process. In other parts of the paper, we are told of Chinese plans to use force against Taiwan if and when Beijing thinks it necessary. “Democratic consultations” indeed.

Peter Russell, Tung Chung