We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Terrorism in Taiwan

Another election, another outrage, this time in Taiwan, where the President and his Vice President have been shot while out campaigning.

The injuries were not life threatening:

An unknown gunman fired at least one shot at Mr Chen’s campaign jeep as he rode in its open back alongside Vice-President Annette Lu, holding onto the vehicle’s roll bar and waving to adoring home-town crowds in the southern city of Tainan.

Mrs Lu felt a sharp pain near her right knee, then Mr Chen felt a blow to his lower abdomen, presidential chief of staff Chiou I-Jen said.

Mr Chen initially did not realise what had happened but realised he was injured when he felt blood seeping through his clothes. He ordered his motorcade to speed up and head for a hospital.

The Christian Science Monitor ponders what this might mean for the election. There is currently no word on the attacker, and what motives might be behind the attack. However, tensions in the area have been high, as President Chen is seen as a proponent of formally declaring Taiwan independent, a move that would infuriate China and possibly trigger a military confrontation.

13 comments to Terrorism in Taiwan

  • Taiwan would be very wise to go for ‘formal’ independence and reject the ghastly KMT once and for all, and as soon as possible whilst China sill lacks the ability to actually pull off an invasion… then, as each year goes by it will become harder and harder politically for the Communist regime to attack Taiwan.

  • One wonders how Howard Dean and John Kerry will pin this one on Bush and the Iraq war…

    And Perry, I wouldn’t downplay the ability of China to pull off an invasion and brazen crushing of Taiwan. They killed a couple thousand in Tiananmen square barely a decade ago, and have been rewarded, sans apology, with the Olympic Games. To my mind, the Chi-Coms ability to look us in the eye and lie their asses off, indeed, insist that China is the victim in all this, is surpassed in cheek only by the Mafia dons who insist they are “legitimate Italian American business-men…” I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Chinese invasion within a year or two, followed by Chinese protestations that it was in response to some great insult that had to be answered. I would also not be surprised by a complete lack of reaction here in the west.

    After all, as any zookeeper can tell you, the 600 pound gorilla sits wherever he feels like sitting.

  • Lemuel

    Al Maviva,

    I would love to see the gorilla sitting on a hedgehog…

  • Al Maviva: Oh I do not doubt China would be willing to invade Taiwan tomorrow if they declared independence… They have never been shy about killing people. I just think that in 2004 the Chinese would get their arses savagely kicked by the Taiwanese military in fairly spectacular fashion (ie, they will lose the cream of their navy and their airforce will be shot out of the air, in spades if the USN has anything to say about it).

    However 10 years from now I would not be so sure the military equation would be so favourable to Taiwan, so the sooner Taiwan makes it politically a fait accompli, the better.

  • Suggesting that China has the amphibious capability to mount an invasion of Taiwan is ridiculous. They simply don’t. They don’t really have much of a navy. (This is not so say they never will, of course). Any attempt to invade Taiwan and they would just get annihilated, particularly given that Taiwan would have implicit and maybe explicit support of the United States. China could nuke Taipei and Kaosiung, but I can’t believe they would actually do so.

  • MacBeth

    Steven Den Beste had an interesting article on a possible invasion of Taiwan a while back. It’s pretty interesting.

    USS Clueless – Invasion of Taiwan

  • The Wobbly Guy

    China simply cannot afford a war with Taiwan, even if it had the capability to prosecute one.

    As a chinese, I find myself split on the issue. On one hand, I feel that the will of the people be done, and if the people of Taiwan want independence, so be it.

    On the other hand, I just cannot ignore the siren call of nationalism for an united China even though I don’t hold a PRC or ROC passport either!

    Imagine the confusion the people of Taiwan are going through. The ties of blood and culture isn’t going to be ignored so easily. The last election went to the independence minded DPP because Lee Teng Hui played an active role in splitting the Kuomintang vote, or else unification minded Lien Zhan would have won. Adding up the majority opinion of Taiwanese during the last election, they were for gradual unification and against independence. This is a fact.

    It was political maneuvering at its finest, and for that Lee deserves a place in the Machiaveilli Hall of Fame. Lee wasn’t actually a chinese to many people; he was japanese educated, and there were nasty rumors being spread around of Lee desiring a divided and weak China.

    This election it gets a bit more tricky. Several years of DPP rule has meant that they get the chance to spread their own ideas via the power of the state, which means that the independence faction is undoubtedly stronger than in the past.

    Oh, as for the shooting incident, I seem to recall that the Kuomintang holds a slight lead going into the elections. Who do you think benefits most from this incident? We chinese can play politics better than you westerners can ever dream of! 😛

    Also, Ah-Bian wasn’t seriously hurt. If it had been a real attack with every intention of getting rid of him, I can think of a half dozen ways to achieve a dead Ah-Bian without much fuss.

    In other words? I would say that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you! 😀

    If the DPP wins despite the poll results so far, I would have to take my hat off to them. Nice scheme, well played. Ah-Bian would deserve a place in the Hall of Fame. I would certainly nominate him!

    The Wobbly Guy

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Well, Ah-Bian has won. Guess which event was largely responsible for that?

    [sarcasm]Another victory for democracy! Yayyyy!!![/sarcasm]

    The Wobbly Guy

  • The Wobbly Guy

    OOOOHHHH!!! Recount time!!! Shades of Florida!

    The Wobbly Guy

  • An old female friend of mine was from Taiwan and regarded not just mainland China (and Chinese!) as foreigners, but also regarded the KMT was an unwelcome alien entity as she thought of herself as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. As I have never been there myself I do not know how common such sentiments are

  • Scott

    Some interesting factoids:

    – Chen won by less than 30,000 votes.

    – The number of illegitimate votes was 300,000, triple the number of the 2000 election.

    – When Chen was shot, he activated an national emergency clause that put 200,000 military personnel on alert and kept them from voting. Taiwan’s military skews towards the Nationalists.

    An outright declaration of independence would probably be the worst thing possible — both for Taiwan and for the world in general.

    Taiwan is the one issue Beijing will not budge on. It may not have the amphibious capabilities, but it has hundreds, if not thousands of missiles pointed right at Taipei. The scenario seems not unlike North-South Korea. Taiwan may eventually be able to beat back a Chinese invasion, but only at the cost of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of lives.

    The U.S. would almost certainly have to get involved to some extent. This is why Bush gave Chen a public dressing down during the visit to the U.S. last year of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. With 150,000 troops in Iraq, a few thousand still in Afghanistan, and interesting things happening in places like Syria and Iran, the last thing Bush wants is for Taiwan to pick a fight with China.

    Taiwan should certainly have the right to determine its political future, but if they expect to do it at the cost of American lives and when America is busy fighting a war with frankly much more serious implications, they need to be told that this is not the time.

  • Perry: I have never been there either, but I have known Taiwanese people who have felt exactly the same way. It’s pretty common, I think.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    It’s almost a 50-50 split. The original Taiwanese vs those who escaped there after the KMT’s defeat.

    The Wobbly Guy