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The situation in Crimea and Taiwan is very different

Much has been said among political pundits in Taipei about a referendum — or to be more exact, a plebiscite — that may make Taiwan an independent, sovereign state like Crimea. On March 16, a referendum was held in Crimea and 93 percent of eligible voters voted for secession from Ukraine, within which it was an autonomous parliamentary republic governed by its own constitution.

Political pundits who favor an independent republic of Taiwan argue that Crimea has set an example for the people of Taiwan to follow in achieving independence from the Republic of China, which has ruled their homeland since it was restored to China by Japan in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. They point out that the situation in Crimea before its secession from Ukraine and the situation in Taiwan since 1945 are much the same. So, they ask, "If Crimea can, why can't Taiwan?"

The situations are alike, but not the same.

Crimea, a peninsula connected to Ukraine by a short isthmus, was the Bosporun Kingdom, a tributary state of Rome, in the first century BCE. Over the past 2,050 years, Crimea has been conquered by different peoples including the Goths, Bulgars, Tatars, Ukrainians, Italians, Germans and Slavs. In 1789, Crimea became part of the Russian Empire, and remained under Russian control until the breakup of the Soviet Union, except for a brief period during World War II.

In 1944, Joseph Stalin ordered the deportation of the entire Tatar population, which formed a large plurality in Crimea. The forced exodus of Tatars resulted in making the Russian Slavs a 58.32-percent majority of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, with the two ethnic minorities being the Ukrainians (24.32 percent) and the Tatars (12.10 percent). However, the Soviets transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Crimea voted to join Ukraine as an autonomous parliamentary republic.

Taiwan, however, has never been an independent state, though it declared independence in May 1895 and fought a war of independence against the Japanese occupation army invading the island to take it over as a colony. Koxinga drove out the Dutch colonialists to claim Taiwan for China in 1662. His grandson surrendered to Qing China in 1683 and the Emperor Kangxi annexed Taiwan as a prefecture of the province of Fujian. Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895 and the Japanese imposed their colonial rule until it was returned to the Republic of China as a province in 1945. Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese civil war and moved his Republic of China government to Taipei at the end of 1949. Taiwan has since been part of the Republic of China.

March 27, 2014    major_bob1@
I find it humorous that the author states, "Taiwan has since been part of the Republic of China" and that Taiwan "has never been an independent state". If Taiwan (or the ROC, which ever name you prefer) hasn't been an independent state since 1949, then what is it? Upon what other state is Taiwan a "dependent'? What other "parts" of the Republic of China are there?

The Taiwanese self imposed identity confusion can be characterized as nothing short of a personality disorder........
March 28, 2014    test@
This is unfair of the author to point out some points.
I wondered where you got the data that "Only about a third of the 70-percent Hoklo Chinese majority prefer independence, but seven out of every 10 people of Taiwan want to keep the status quo of a divided China because they know independence is impossible."
Is it just the author's opinion or is it the study conducted by a recognized research center?
This point is not very convincing!
March 28, 2014    joesun369@
Believe it or not, today's Crimea is tomorrow's Taiwan.
March 28, 2014    legerweck@
Crimea has never been an independent sovereign state or country. Taiwan has been sovereign since 1949; own president, military, etc. Hasn't been part of China; experienced or been under China or the communist china dictatorship for 120 years. That's why if given two choices, immediate union with China or Independence, vast majority choose Independence (which they already have but can't declare, or China will attack).
March 29, 2014    ludahai_twn@
The author of this piece is living in an alternate reality.

1, Taiwan was not returned to the Republic of China in 1945 by the Japanese. Only a treaty can be used to transfer territory from one state to another and there is no treaty here.

2. Koxinga's state WAS an independent state. It wasn't part of China nor was it a part of any other state. Thus, it was independent.

3. According to the United Nations Charter, the two human rights treaties Ma's administration ratified in 2009 and even China's own arguments to the ICJ in 2009 in arguments related to the Kosovo advisory opinion, Taiwan absolutely has the right to a referendum/plebiscite over its status.

4. Sad the CP still holds to the myth that a majority of Taiwanese wish to stick to the status quo. Most Taiwanese already consider Taiwan to be an independent state.
April 1, 2014    jim@
Taiwan people are not citizens of the PRC no vice versa.

Taiwan was never part of China, in fact China declared Taiwan off limits to the mainland for ages.

Taiwan is not part of China. Maybe the author will claim that all the Asian nations like Singapore who have a large Chinese ethnic populace should be part of China? Is China going to invade other Asian nations to "protect" ethnic Chinese language speakers?
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