Communications and Perspectives

Responses to Comments about China and Taiwan; Re: Adam Piggott and Heresolong.

Readership: Current residents of North America, i.e. the United States of America; Westerners; Those from China or Taiwan;
Length: 1,600 words
Reading Time: 5.5 minutes

Introduction

Over the weekend, I wrote three posts related to a potential war between China, Taiwan, and the U.S.

The purpose of these writings was to give western readers a sense of context for what they are seeing on the news concerning China and Taiwan. I write from the perspective of a person living on the ground in Taiwan who is well familiarized with the culture, people, and history of Taiwan. I am not a political or military strategist, nor am I in a position to make predictions about the future, but I write because I believe western audiences are not very well informed about the situation, and I wish to emphasize that they may be misled by what they see in the news.

This post will review some of the responses these posts have received.

First of all, I appreciate the general concern over my personal safety. I understand that there are potential risks to being here, and yet, I choose to remain. Whether that is stupid or brave remains a question in point.

I was humbled to receive a full post response from Adam Piggott, Taiwan and Data Point Analysis (2021-10-09), who offered a thoughtful assessment of the risks involved with an expat’s continuation as a resident of Taiwan. (Adam’s analysis was also reposted on XYZ.) Getting feedback is important for a thorough consideration of the situation because, as Adam pointed out, it’s hard to think clearly when you have vested interests in the outcome.

I do not believe the very idea of China going to war over the island of Taiwan is absurd (as Adam wrote). China is ready and willing to do whatever is necessary for the accession of Taiwan. However, war is the least attractive option. If there is to be a war, I believe other world powers, such as the U.S. or possibly Australia, would play a hand in that somehow. One possibility is that alliances with western powers would only embolden Taiwan’s leadership to choose a path of greater resistance and prolong the conflict in an unnecessarily violent way.

Cultural Confusion in Communications

Over at Adam’s place, Heresolong wrote,

“…even if China invades Taiwan, they will not take the first shot.” One of the stupidest sentences I have seen in some years.”

A lot of seemingly stupid and contradictory statements have come out of the Taiwan leadership. This particular statement was a political appeal to mercies of China and the citizen’s sense of moral rectitude. They have also said to the Australian government that they would “fight to the last man standing” in the hope of attracting their loyalty as an ally, which is equally inane.

In practice, the Chinese are versatile and opportunistic, and will use any lead to their advantage. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The smart rabbit has two holes”, which can mean many things (based on the context in which it is used), but one meaning is equivalent to the western adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

That said, much of President Tsai’s speech is political posturing and does not represent the views of Taiwanese citizens as a whole, much like President Biden’s stances do not reflect the views of many Americans. Be aware that other Taiwanese spokespersons/statements you might see/hear on the news may have been cherry-picked to fit the narrative.

The western preference in communication is to focus on reasonability and the factual consistency of objective truth. Chinese culture views this as a naïve (if not manipulative) exercise in philosophizing which is removed from reality. Instead, Chinese communication emphasizes the importance of recognizing the context in which a statement is offered, and then reading between the lines about what that implies. Context is everything.

For example, the Chinese/Taiwanese do not believe that “A man’s word is his honor”, nor do they ascribe any mythical power of righteousness to those who pose fealty to “the rule of law” as is common in English speaking nations. This is not the same as lawlessness, but rather, they know that much evil can be done while still conforming to the nitpickings of the law, that all men lie now and then (including police, politicians, and law officials), and that it is wiser to anticipate this as being a part of life. Western readers may be surprised to read this, but it is an honest assessment of human nature.

Western sensibilities are completely unfamiliar with this form of communication, and of course any such context, no matter how important, is usually neglected in translation, and more so when reported in the news, at which point it takes on a different, and yet graver impression of “truth” according to the western understanding of it as a factual thing. One common context that can be safely assumed behind all these statements is that the Taiwanese know they are a sitting duck, and are hoping to come through this with their lives, fortunes, and dignity intact. Hence, the political theatrics.

Eastern vs. Western Perspectives

Heresolong also wrote,

“Taiwan would end up welcoming China…”

“My understanding of the Taiwanese is that they mostly favor reuniting China because they view China as one country currently split due to their differences. I doubt many of the people are hoping that it happens because China invades, enslaves the free Taiwanese, and destroys their economic and political system. If that were their goal they could easily have just called the CCP at any time during the past fifty years and said, “Hey, we’re done with this whole revolution thing. Come on over”.”

I need to clarify a couple things before I can address Heresolong’s main point.

The phrase, “China invades, enslaves the free Taiwanese”, is a hypothetical scenario cooked up by western interpretations of the situation which assumes that “democracy = freedom” (of the individualistic sort). This is a uniquely western concept of freedom as I wrote about in yesterday’s post. In China, the American concept of freedom is regarded as selfish and disruptive. They will point to the civil unrest and higher crime rates in America to justify this belief.

Underneath this assumption that “democracy = freedom” lies the “us versus them” mentality, which assumes that Taiwan should be more like the west (and all of its problems) than like China (with all of theirs). This attitude is similar to The White Man’s Burden which is summarily misinterpreted as a justification of imperialism. China is well aware of this and views it as a challenge to their sovereignty.

In the past, this assumption (codified by the Marshall Plan) has been used by the U.S. as a justification for waging unwanted wars on distant corners of the planet. For example, the wars in Korea and Vietnam were essentially proxy wars with communist China. The Chinese version of history regards both of these wars as a U.S. “invasion” of Asia.* Now, about 3.5% of infants in Vietnam suffer birth defects related to Agent Orange, and this is expected to continue for another 6-12 generations! Many Vietnamese continue to carry resentment towards America to this day, and China has not forgotten either.

The recent debacle in Afghanistan only proves to the Chinese populace that the U.S. has never changed its ways!

On another technicality concerning, “we’re done with this whole revolution thing”, the government in Taiwan (KMT) traces its history back to the overthrow of the last Qing dynasty in 1911. (By that reckoning, it is now year 110 in Taiwan, and this is the date used on currency and official documents, not the Gregorian calendar year used in the west). So the KMT (Taiwan) is not currently in a revolt, the CCP (China) is, and as long as an independent government in Taiwan exists, that revolution remains unfinished. This stands as another impetus to “answer” what is called “The Taiwan Question“.

Finally, I’ll address Heresolong’s main point.

Although it is widely recognized that Taiwan is independent by any defacto measure, less than 6% of Taiwanese want to declare independence. The grand majority favor “maintaining the status quo”, which means that they want life and business to go on as usual. However, the general sentiment in Taiwan is that a reunification will happen eventually. There are a number of people in Taiwan, mostly upper class, who would prefer reunification mainly because it would make doing cross-strait business easier for them (tax structures, chains of management, regulations involving investments, visa requirements related to business trips, etc.). But the problematic issue is how, and what would that involve? If China could somehow guarantee certain conditions, then Taiwan would agree to reunification. But China continually ignores the issue of incentives to focus more on politicized issues and “saving face“. And then there is the whole question of trust, which China has not been nurturing. Hong Kong did not set a very good example for a merger. In sum, too much uncertainty in too many areas is why Taiwan has been dragging its feet towards reunification. It’s better to maintain the status quo as long as possible.

On a final note, some readers might think I am justifying China or Taiwan or “hating on America”. No, I’m simply explaining the differences of viewpoints.

* Calling this an “invasion” is not far-fetched. China has a long history of being invaded by foreign powers. For example, The First Opium War (1839-1842), The Second Opium War (1856-1860), The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), The Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), and The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). During WW2, Japan was the “invader” and KMT controlled China was allied with the U.S.

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in China, Collective Strength, Communications, Conspiracy Theories, Cultural Differences, Determination, Discerning Lies and Deception, Discernment, Wisdom, Fundamental Frame, Introspection, Manosphere, Media, Military, News Critique, Politics, Power, Questions from Readers, Racial Relations, Reviews, Self-Concept, Taiwan, Zeitgeist Reports. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Communications and Perspectives

  1. Lexet Blog says:

    Democracy doesn’t work. That’s why the west is in chaos, and lost its culture.

    China and Russia are trying to preserve what culture they have left, and keep their societies intact. They also reject degeneracy.

    What I don’t understand is how Americans who recognize the failings of our system all of a sudden want it exported and imposed on outsiders.

    Even the neocon haters are promoting tension with China as the new Cold War. It’s idiotic.

    A glimmer of good news is that no one in congress is talking about sanctioning China over the cough anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oscar says:

      “Democracy doesn’t work.”

      On a long enough timeline, the same is true of every from of government. That’s a feature, not a bug. It’s supposed to remind us that our hope is not in government.

      Some forms of government work better in some cultures than others, but ultimately, they all fail, because they’re all fatally flawed, because humans are fatally flawed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lexet Blog says:

        Democracy stopped working for Americans shortly after it was founded. All governments fall but normally society stays the same. Not so with democracy. It’s a cancer and destroys the moral fabric of nations that once existed for thousands of years.

        Like

      • Oscar says:

        “Democracy stopped working for Americans shortly after it was founded.”

        You mean republic. Different form of government, which worked pretty well for a long time, and not just here.

        “All governments fall but normally society stays the same.”

        That’s false. Societies change dramatically as their political systems degrade. Just read 1st and 2nd Kings for some great examples.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Random Angeleno says:

    Whatever the difference in communication modes between China and the West, Xi doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for nuance here:
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10075113/President-Xi-Jinping-says-reunification-Taiwan-happen-addresses-National-Day.html

    A primary issue IMO is that Taiwan hosts the top chip companies in the world: Foxconn, Taiwan Semiconductor et al. While these companies are big investors in China, the brains of the operation remain in Taiwan. China will need that kept intact. So they won’t go military if they can get it done by other means. But the way China has handled Hong Kong so far doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the Taiwanese.

    One more: look at the geography of the East China Sea and the South China Sea with Taiwan occupying the strategic position between the two seas. Then one may understand how China see Taiwan as a big thorn and why China is contesting possession of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as well as the reefs in the South China Sea. It isn’t only the natural resources, it’s also a potential naval defense zone expanded outward from China’s shores.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oscar says:

      “So they won’t go military if they can get it done by other means.”

      Bingo!

      “The first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden.” ~ Colonel Qiao Liang

      Every option is always on the table. In fact, because Chinese doctrine defines war to include lethal, and non-lethal means, military, and non-military means, that means that they see a lethal, military response against a non-lethal, non-military action as perfectly legitimate, and vice-versa.

      The CCP wants to rule Taiwan, and they will compel everyone else to accept their interest. How much violence they’ll use to accomplish that goal remains an open question, but the outcome is pretty much inevitable. I mean, really; who’s going to stop them?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. zeonicfreak says:

    [Jack: This comment was obviously intended for the conversation under Whipped Dogs, and has been copied into the discussion there.]

    When I read this article my instant thought was, “Well, this is a two edge sword, both parties are guilty of blowing hot air. It’s not just conservatives.” Then I started to think it over, my emotions on being offensive died down, and it began to make sense.

    Yes, the left are taking the ball and running as fast as they can with this country, and the conservatives expect someone just as fast to come up behind and tackle them before they reach their goal. The conservative voices blowing hot air are just warning us where the left are running us to. It’s more about raising awareness of what the right already knows what’s going to happen, and yet it makes us feel we/they are doing everything they can to keep up and to try and sway that by whatever means.

    It’s down to the right in what actions they need to take to make things right. If the left can burn down cities in the name of “peaceful” protests, then it’s clear that the end result is what matters to them — getting what they want, despite the backlash. If the right were to revolt in the same way the left does, then the right would be labelled “national terrorists.” But despite the labels, this would be the same as what we see the left doing, except that it would make a clear statement on getting the country to steer back from where it’s headed. I don’t advocate for violent acts but it seems violence always moves the agenda forward.

    Like

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