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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Taiwanese leader in China

Times are changing. They are, always, aren't they?

Not just the improbable, but even the impossible happen.

In the far east of the globe, a strange thing is happening. Something that was simply impossible a few years ago. A guy called Lien Chan of Taiwan flew across the Taiwan Strait today to Nanjing, an eastern city of the neighbouring country, China.

Why is it noteworthy? We need to know a bit of history. And, it is simply interesting.

Taiwan and China are bitter enemies; somewhat in the mould of India and Pakistan. The political existence of entire Taiwan island itself is confusing and controversial, like that of Kashmir.

Taiwan first. We begin in 1895 with the defeat of China by Japan. The price: China had to cede Taiwan to Japan. There was resistence in Taiwan to this. But this was quelled by Japanese military which occupied the island. Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan went on till 1945 when Japan was defeated in World War II. After the defeat, Japan agreed to hand over Taiwan to Republic of China.

Now to China, or the Republic of China. It was controlled by the Nationalist Party, which ruled ROC from 1912. In the Chinese Civil War, the Nationalist Party was defeated by the Communists in 1949, and they were driven to Taiwan. The Communists then called China as People's Republic of China. The Nationlists then shifted the capital of ROC from Nanjing to Taipei.

Although Taiwan is practically independent there is utter confusion about its political status. The Nationalists ruled Taiwan with an iron hand from 1949 till 2000, when in elections (following political reform) it was defeated.

The present ruler, Chen Shui-bian, says that Taiwan is already independent. China is angry since it says Taiwan is part of China. Some months back China said it reserved to attack Taiwan if it formally declared independence.

The Nationalists have a different view. They say since they once ruled what is now China, in the long run Taiwan must reunite with China, but not under Communists.

Lien Chan who has gone to China today is the leader of Nationalist Party.

Like our Kashmir issue, the political stand doesn't reflect reality. And, just like our map of Kashmir does not reflect the reality, their maps also doesn't reality. And just like the majority of our people, there too majority of people -- Taiwanese or Chinese -- prefer status quo, and getting on with their lives rather than redrawing boundaries, and shifting citizens' allegiances.

And again, like we are suspecting the intentions of Musharraf, sceptics say China is cosying up to Nationalists to create confusion in Taiwan and gain greater control!

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