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An open letter to the people of taiwan

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An open letter to the people of taiwan

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An open letter to the people of taiwan

  1. 1. An open letter to the citizens of a democratic Taiwan We the undersigned scholars, former government and military officials, and other friends of Taiwan, who have witnessed and admired Taiwan’s transition to democracy for many decades, wish to express to the people of Taiwan our sense of urgency to maintain unity and continuity at this critical moment in Taiwan’s history. It is obvious that during the past two years, the People’s Republic of China has left no stone unturned in its attempts to squeeze Taiwan’s international space, threaten it with a buildup of military power, and make it appear as if Taiwan’s only future lies in integration with an authoritarian China. This pressure culminated on January 2nd 2019 with a speech by Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, telling the Taiwanese people that “the Taiwan question” was a Chinese internal affair, that unification under China’s “one country, two systems” principle was the only option for the future, and Taiwan independence was a “dead end.” In her response the same day, President Tsai Ing-wen emphasized that the vast majority of the Taiwanese people strongly rejected the “one country, two systems”, and that her government had never accepted the so-called “1992 Consensus.” She then reiterated her “Taiwan consensus” based on the “four musts”, elaborated in her New Year’s address the day before. These include that China must accept the reality of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and respect the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy. As international scholars, writers and former officials we believe this is the right response. It is also illustrative of the stable and responsible leadership President Tsai has displayed in the face of the mounting threat from Communist China. We applaud the courageous stance of the Taiwanese people in resisting Chinese pressures and protecting their own democratic system. But we express our concerns that Beijing's latest subversive techniques of deception and disinformation could sow division and confusion in Taiwan's body politic and create the kind of civil unrest that Beijing lists as one of the pretexts for using force against Taiwan--which would nevertheless constitute aggression in violation of the United Nations Charter. In our view, President Tsai is a most effective and knowledgeable statesperson. With her quiet demeanor and careful balancing she has not only significantly advanced Taiwan’s place in the international community, and elevated Taiwan’s profile on the international radar screen, but also stood firm in defending Taiwan’s hard-won freedom and democracy. Just as Taiwan has made itself a democratic model for the region, President Tsai has earned the respect of other nations for her courageous and composed response to the aggressive bullying of Taiwan's powerful neighbor. We urge our own governments to make clear to Beijing that Taiwan does not stand alone.
  2. 2. Taiwan is at a crossroads as never before. It is under an existential threat by the People’s Republic of China. While we respect the reality that Taiwan, like all democratic polities, has a range of domestic issues that must be resolved, that democratic process should proceed in a manner that does not detract from the overall national unity in the face of the larger threat to Taiwan’s existence as a free and democratic nation. If Taiwanese across the political spectrum fail to understand this threat, and go on with business as usual, this provides Beijing’s repressive leaders with an opportunity to divide Taiwanese society, and increasingly make it an inevitability that Taiwan is incorporated into China. This happened with East Turkestan in 1949, Tibet in 1950-51, and Hong Kong in 1997. The repression and lack of freedom and democracy there should serve as a wake-up call for Taiwan. We thus appeal to the people of Taiwan to maintain a clear vision for their future as a free and democratic nation that is a full and equal member in the international family of nations. The process may be slow and cumbersome, but it is essential to maintain unity and to be supportive of a democratically elected President who has demonstrated balance, flexibility, and toughness. These are the qualities Taiwan needs to navigate the stormy seas ahead towards a brighter and more secure future. Signed, 1. John J. Tkacik, International Assessment and Strategy Center, Retired US Foreign Service Officer, Alexandria, VA 2. Clive Ansley, International Lawyer, Courtenay, BC, Canada 3. Thomas Bartlett, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 4. Joseph A. Bosco, Georgetown University (ret), formerly at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense, Washington, DC 5. Kevin Carrico, Monash University. Melbourne, Australia 6. Gordon G. Chang, author The Coming Collapse of China, NJ 7. Frank Chiang, Fordham University Law School, New York, NY 8. Peter Chow, City University of New York. NY 9. Jerome A. Cohen, New York University Law School, New York, NY 10. Michael Danielsen, Taiwan Corner, Copenhagen, Denmark 11. June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami, Coral Gables FL
  3. 3. 12. Feng Chongyi, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia 13. Carl Ford, former US Assistant Secretary of State, National Park University, Park AR 14. Brock Freeman, American Citizens for Taiwan, Seattle, WA 15. Michael Rand Hoare, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK 16. Thomas G. Hughes, Former chief of staff to the late Senator Claiborne Pell, Washington DC 17. Michael A. Hunzeker, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 18. J. Bruce Jacobs, professor emeritus of Asian Languages and Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia 19. Paul Jobin, Academia Sinica, Taiwan and University of Paris Diderot, France 20. Richard C. Kagan, professor emeritus, Hamline University, St. Paul MN 21. Michael Y.M. Kau, professor emeritus, Brown University, Providence, RI 22. Bruno Kaufmann, European Democracy Foundation, Switzerland 23. Saša Istenič Kotar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia 24. Paul Kovenock, US Department of State (ret), Washington, DC 25. André Laliberté, University of Ottawa, Canada 26. Perry Link, professor emeritus of East Asian Studies, Princeton University, NJ 27. Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 28. The Very Rev. Dr. Bruce Mcleod, Former Moderator, United Church of Canada 29. Wayne Pajunen, writer and former legislative aide, House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada 30. Timothy S. Rich, Western Kentucky University, KY 31. Shawna Yang Ryan, University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI 32. Michael Scanlon, Shih Chien University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 33. David C. Schak, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia 34. James D. Seymour, Columbia University, New York City, NY
  4. 4. 35. Fang-long Shih, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK 36. Michael Stainton, Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada, Toronto, Canada 37. William A. Stanton, former Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan 38. Peter Tague, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC 39. Ross Terrill, Fairbank Center Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 40. Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 41. Gerrit van der Wees, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 42. Jack F. Williams, professor emeritus, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 43. Yenna Wu, University of California, Riverside, CA 44. Ambassador Stephen M. Young, US Department of State (ret), Londonderry, NH