Wednesday 3 August 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, when by the way it was most certainly not a democracy, 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. Nor have they ever landed a craft on the far side of the Moon.

And what of Hong Kong? It has never been part of any free world, anyway. Until August 2020, the Chinese had only been enforcing the old British Colonial laws in Hong Kong. One country, two systems, indeed. With regard to the laws imposed since then, where, exactly, does allow secession, sedition and subversion? Hong Kong was no democracy when we ran it, although of course we never owned it. It always belonged to China. The late Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail was a bone dry right-winger, and he is much missed today. As he asked in 1997, how grateful were the Chinese supposed to have been at the mere return of their own territory?

But anyway, Hong Kong was no democracy under us, and there was more than one outbreak of serious unrest over rampant poverty, slum housing, sweatshop working conditions, price increases, corruption, and the absence of representative government. Never mind Chinese agents. Those could not have exploited the grievances if the grievances had not existed in the first place.

Our repression of those outbreaks was merciless, and we are not talking about the Edwardian Period here. In fact, we are talking about a time when Britain had a Labour Government. A Labour Government that had presided over Hong Kong’s rampant poverty, slum housing, sweatshop working conditions, price increases, corruption, and absence of representative government. At the time of the handover, which was also under a Labour Government, then no one took to the streets to ask the British to stay. They may want democracy in Hong Kong now, but that is something different.

As for the “Anglosphere” fantasists, quite apart from the fact that no part of the “Anglosphere” is doing anything for Hong Kong or has the slightest intention of doing so, it is side-splitting to watch the mutation into this of their old white supremacist ideology from the 1980s, which is heavily bound up with the cult of Margaret Thatcher. Hong Kong? You really could die laughing. Exactly the same people took full British passports away from the Saint Helenians because, “Otherwise, we’d have to give them to Hong Kong.”

They have them back now, though. Whereas the Gibraltarians and the Falkland Islanders never lost them. Go onto Google images, and see if you can spot the difference. Shades of the Ukrainians, who unlike, say, the Yemenis, “look like us”. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a riot in Saint Helena. There has certainly never been one against British rule. And Saint Helenians speak English. Not Cantonese. “Hong Kong, outpost of the “Anglosphere””? I ask you! Next you will be telling me that Hong Kong was a democracy under British rule, or at the very least that people were free to agitate for it to become one. No, it was not. And no, they were not.

India, which is supposedly crucial to a maritime alliance of freedom-loving peoples against Eurasian authoritarianism, is run by the heirs of Mahatma Gandhi’s Nazi-linked assassins, and it has always recognised among the fathers of the nation the likes of Subhas Chandra Bose, who raised an army in support of Japan during the Second World War. He has featured on stamps six times, and on coins three times. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is the aviation hub for the whole of eastern and northeastern India. There is also a Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island. Yes, an island.

Japan is also supposed to be crucial, and it is run by people who believe, “that Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers; that the 1946–1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate; and that killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were exaggerated or fabricated,” as well as that the comfort women were not coerced.

The first of those, at least, has been a widespread view in several of those countries at the time and since. Indonesia, as such, is a direct product of it, since the Japanese-backed rulers of the Dutch East Indies simply declared independence under that name at the end of the War. Park Chung-hee, the dictator of South Korea from 1961 to 1979, had been an officer in the Japanese Manchukuo Army that occupied Manchuria. And one who always regarded Japanese as his first language and Tokyo as the cultural capital of his wider civilisation was Lee Teng-hui, the first democratically elected President of the self-styled Republic of China on the island where we came in, Taiwan.


  1. "Hong Kong was no democracy when we ran it". Hong Kong had a free press, freedom of association and the rule of law including habeas corpus and trial by jury under British rule, and was the only part of China that had these features of free countries until recently (under the one party, two systems agreement). China has snuffed all that out in the past three years under the guise of a national security law, in flagrant breach of its agreement with us.

    Freedom House rates Taiwan among the most "Free" nations in the world, with a 1 in both Political Rights and Civil Liberties (on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being the highest). It remains a flourishing multi-party democracy in the shadow of its police-state neighbour.

    In supplying weapons to Taiwan and sending its aircraft carriers there, the United States is defending the principle of democracy and of freedom.

    1. That is not a strategic interest. In any case, the White House has specifically distanced itself from Pelosi's freelancing.

  2. D. Lindsay says "no part of the “Anglosphere” is doing anything for Hong Kong or has the slightest intention of doing so"

    Is this fantasist unaware we've already taken in almost 100,000 people fleeing Hong Kong since we launched the BNO visa for HK citizens last January?

    Or that Hong Kong may have had poverty and corruption, but it also had freedom of the press, freedom of association, and the rule of law including common law, habeas corpus and jury trial, freedoms no one on the Chinese mainland has?

    1. Except it didn't. And the British National (Overseas) passport does not even entitle you to register for the Registered Traveller service for clearing British immigration. For that, you would need the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport, which is issued by China. These people's connection to Britain really is rather tenuous.

      What does anyone suggest that we could possibly do about China, even if we wanted to?

  3. “Rather, its official name for itself remains “the Republic of China“

    That is because, as you well know, it cannot declare full independence from China for fear of what China would do, so has to remain in a neutral halfway-house, self-ruled but still officially attached to China (even competing in the Olympics under the ridiculous name “Chinese Taipei” ,whatever that is). Not because this peaceful free democracy has any designs on China, but because a full declaration of independence would bring on a full-scale invasion. It’s a free and democratic country that simply wishes to stay that way, without the constant menace from its police-state neighbour.

    You might want to avoid coming across as a laughable propagandist for a police-state, if you want to have the slightest credibility.

    1. I have been thoroughly proved right in the days since this post.

      Rejecting the authority of the present Chinese Government to resolve territorial disputes, Taiwan lays claim, not only to the whole of China, but also to most of Mongolia, as well as to parts of Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.

      But they are just fantasists. If China had wanted to conquer Taiwan by force, then it would have done so without difficulty in 1949. It wants a peaceful solution, and it is prepared to wait for one. Just so long as no one waded in from outside.