Driving through the Centurion Country Club on the 107th National Day of the Republic of China-Taiwan (official name of Taiwan) was quite an experience. Accompanied by a friend, I was greeted by another friend as we stepped on the red carpet from the east side of the country club. We were introduced to Taiwan’s Ambassador to South Africa and his wife. I found them a very confident ever smiling couple who gave us a very warm welcome – the handshake of solidarity among comrades in struggle.
After the speech of His excellency the Ambassador of Taiwan, it dawned on me how time flies. As it is now 107 years since the founding of Taiwan. The Ambassador gave a great encomium that highlighted the strength, might, unity, value of freedom and the economic might of Taiwan. As I blinked, I asked myself has it really been that long – 107 years? And why is there so much delay for Taiwan to gain its political independence and be recognized globally as sovereign nation? I also realized through the lens of living stories and memories that Taiwan still exist as a striving nation amidst all odds.
I kept pondering on the same question, why is Taiwan still fighting for independence? I then revisited the political history of Taiwan. I stumbled on a piece of literature written by Ian Williams. Not only that I concur with the argument of Ian Williams, I also became more determined to support the struggle for the independence of the Republic of China-Taiwan. In this article, Ian Williams argues that, the People’s Republic of China which is a repressive state only existed in the late 1940 while Taiwan had existed long before. Even though Beijing argues against Taiwanese independence, the argument of Beijing has no legal, ethical or moral grounds.
The argument that Beijing puts forward against Taiwan has a colonial rhetoric in the sense that Beijing has tabled to claiming Taiwan, China mainland is a home for over a billion people, has a huge economy and over 900 missiles pointing at Taiwan.
The rhetoric and manoeuvres of Beijing so far are similar to that of the Western Sahara as presented by Kingdom of Morocco. Hence, Beijing like Rabat, illegally maintain its grip over Taiwan’s political interest. But the approach Beijing is using through military industrial complexes; rockets and ammunitions as a display of eventual readiness is problematic.
Beijing clearly understands the dynamics of displaying military assets while wrangling on historical and legal claims over Taiwan. It is certain that Taiwan as a collective know the price of their independence and that they are ready. If Beijing is confident of its claim, there is only one legal route to take on the subject. The route is none other than a Referendum. I will like to pose this question to Beijing. Why don’t you allow the United Nations Security Council to conduct a Referendum on the question of Taiwan. Let the results of the referendum disproves everyone.
Besides, if you look at contemporary international practice and the principles of democracy, Taiwan has every right to declare that they are an independent, sovereign state. If Taiwan has existed for up to 107 years, it is a clear indication that Taipei politically does not belong to Beijing. It is very obvious that, if all the threats China is making against Taiwan are removed, and a Referendum is called, I am most convinced that all the people of Taiwan would vote for an outright independence.
While Taiwan has been trying to shore up its global position by joining international bodies, notably the United Nations (UN) and others, we see that only brave nations like Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) still maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
It is normal for all African states to condemn Beijing over Taiwan. This sentiment comes strongly because the history of Africa is one of material human suffering and colonial and neo- colonial oppression. Thus, by virtue of Africa’s oppressive history, it is noble for Africa to stand with every nation that is facing colonization or annexation. Nations like South Africa, should live up to their democratic ideals. The South African foreign policy towards Western Sahara for example should not be different from that of Taiwan. What Taiwan like Western Sahara is requesting is not a taboo. The right to Self-determination is a universal rights enshrined in the UN Charter – All peoples have the right to self-determination.
Featured image | TAIWAN’s 14th-term President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen attend inaugural ceremony activities | 總統府 | flickr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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