The Moral Arguments for Taiwan’s Independence Have Been Made by Xi Jinping

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There are two major moral arguments for Taiwan’s independence, and surprisingly they were both recently made by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

The first is the threat of violence against Taiwan. On the eve of the anniversary of the 1911 Xinhai revolution, which ended China’s last imperial dynasty, the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, Xi stated that “reunification of the nation must be realized, it will definitely be realized.” He also noted in this address, made in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, that the Taiwan issue arose “from national weakness and chaos,” but will be resolved “with the rejuvenation of the nation.” Xi’s most recent implicit threat to Taiwan was backed by the muscle of numerous violations of Taiwanese airspace—the most recent indications of the Chinese regime’s aggression toward the island nation.

The second argument, which did not receive the attention of the first, was the CCP’s decision to make cultural assimilation the guiding principle for its policies on minority populations within China. This follows on sustained gross human rights violations of the Tibetan minority, the Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz Muslims in Xinjiang, and Mongols and Manchus as well. The policies enacted include ending the policy of allowing minority children to be educated in their own languages in favor of “ethnic unity in education.” For the CCP, these measures are necessary to reduce the possibility of resistance to their rule along ethnic lines. Xi called for creating “a collective consciousness of the Chinese nation” in education, which will further reduce the human rights of China’s minority populations as the CCP’s increasingly coercive actions are implemented to extinguish minority identity in favor of forced assimilation.

Mongolians protest
Mongolians protest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, against China’s plan to introduce Mandarin-only classes at schools in the neighboring Chinese province of Inner Mongolia on Aug. 31, 2020. (Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/AFP via Getty Images)

Given Xi’s threats and the CCP’s sustained violation of human rights of China’s minorities, Xi has provided two compelling arguments for Taiwan’s independence. Threats of the use of force against Taiwan is a violation of international norms and cannot be tolerated by the United States, its allies, and the international community. As the world learned in the last century, aggression and threats of aggression cannot be permitted to happen, and world leaders should be as one in condemning Xi for his remarks. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Taipei on Oct. 8 struck the right note due to his visit and his denunciation of the “cult of the new red emperor” that defines the CCP’s leadership, and his call for action. Abbott called on the international community to “show solidarity” with Taiwan, to investigate jointly the origins of COVID-19, and condemn the detention centers in Xinjiang.

As the CCP’s aggression against Taiwan may come far earlier and precipitously than is anticipated, there is much to be accomplished. News that the U.S. military has had a small presence in Taiwan training its military is positive. But more visits from high profile Western and other leaders to Taiwan is certainly welcome. Taipei should have been added to the busy travel schedules of former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, where they could have had the opportunity to echo Abbott’s recognition that Taiwan is on the frontline of resistance to the CCP’s tyranny and expansion. Pope Francis, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, current UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, once out of office, would be excellent candidates to reinforce the message. These visits should place the West on the path to more significant visits by leaders in office, including by French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and ultimately President Joe Biden.

The second moral argument against unification is the CCP’s human rights violations of its minorities. As with threats of aggression, the international community cannot allow unification to occur under the Chinese regime due to its abuses of its own minorities. These human rights abuses are becoming worse, with no prospect of improvement so long as the CCP is in power. Of course, this behavior is a prologue to how the CCP would abuse Taiwan’s minority population if unification occurred under the CCP’s auspices. Thus, the Biden administration should recognize that protecting the rights of minorities compels resistance to a CCP takeover of Taiwan, just as it does to the rule of the CCP over the Chinese people. The world will come to realize that the CCP is a superpower in only one respect—it leads the world in the abuse of human rights, particularly of its ethnic and religious minority population. People vote with their feet and there is a reason that the world’s refugees, most recently Afghans, seek to flee in every direction but China’s.

The international community, including world leaders and leading human rights advocates, should be focused on how to keep Taiwan free and independent, and on liberating those minorities under the grip of the CCP regime. The moral arguments for Taiwan’s independence have been provided by Xi himself. If not eloquent, they are compelling. The world must take Xi at his word and respond to prevent aggression against Taiwan.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Bradley A. Thayer


Bradley A. Thayer is a founding member of the Committee on Present Danger China and is the co-author of “How China Sees the World: Han-Centrism and the Balance of Power in International Politics.”

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