Monday 23 May 2022

Unsimplified Chinese

Everyone has a One China Policy. It is a question only of which China. The position of President Xi Jinping that Taiwan “must and will” be reintegrated into China is precisely that of the other side.

That does not style itself “Taiwan”, which is merely the name of the island on which it is located, as if the losing side in a British Civil War had been holed up on the Isle of Wight for the last 70 years. Rather, its official name for itself remains “the Republic of China”.

After all, 70 years in the history of China is scarcely the blink of an eye. But however strong its legal or moral case may once have been, in practical terms it now gives those who continue to advance it a reasonable claim to be the biggest fantasists on the face of the Earth. And as of 2020, on the face of the Moon as well.

Nor does that fantasy extend merely to China as it now exists. Rejecting the authority of the present Chinese Government to resolve territorial disputes, Taiwan lays claim to most of Mongolia, as well as to parts of Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.

Although he himself does not press the claim, there are still those who maintain that the Duke of Bavaria is the rightful King of England, Scotland, Ireland and France. They have been saying that about a series of often quite colourful characters ever since the eighteenth century. In my time on Telegraph Blogs, one of my colleagues was an absolutely serious Jacobite who used that platform to express that view. Several more will have been partisans of the Kuomintang via the Washington “Blue Team”, which is itself a key aspect of neoconservatism. They were exactly as realistic as he was.

In their time, not unlike the considerable achievements of Taiwan since the early 1960s, the Jacobites have controlled much of French and Spanish banking, they have maintained a network of merchants in every port circling Europe, they have founded the Russian Navy of Peter the Great, they have dominated the Swedish East India and Madagascar Companies, and they have done a very great deal more besides, including in North America and the West Indies, which were the New World of their day just as space exploration is opening up New Worlds to us in our own time.

But they have never succeeded in putting any of their claimants on the Throne of England, Scotland, Ireland or France. And they have never landed a craft on the far side of the Moon.