Translation: Mainland Student on Taiwan Independence

As more than 4,000 young Chinese Internet users were gearing up for a mostly “civilized” anti- trolling campaign on the Facebook pages of Taiwan’s newly elected president Tsai Ing-wen, an anonymous post from a self-identified “mainlander” now living in Taiwan began circulating on Taiwanese social media network Dcard. CDT has translated the post, which makes an argument for the validity of a pro-independence point of view in a free and open democracy:

I’m Mainland-Born, and I Don’t Oppose Taiwanese Independence

(To protect the author’s identity, we have removed the name of their school.)

Like most mainlanders, I spent my school years going through that same old assembly line of brainwashing. Maybe it was because I had a rebellious streak, but I was always suspicious of the Chinese Communist Party. Of course, when it came to the problem of Taiwan, I always hoped that one day China could be unified into one all-powerful nation.

But then, slowly but surely, I started to realize that the “China” of my dreams wasn’t the People’s Republic of China. The country that was founded in 1949 suddenly became one of the victors of World War II back in 1945; the 66th anniversary of National Day was celebrated with a military parade for 70th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance. When the War of Resistance began, the Red Army had less than a hundred thousand troops; by the time it ended they had a couple million. And now your textbooks want to tell me that the Communist Party was a pillar of the War of Resistance?

What a load of bunk! Isn’t it obvious? At best, the CCP devoted maybe a tenth of its troop strength to actually fighting the Japanese, two tenths to looking like they were fighting them, and seventh tenths to grabbing territory! (To be honest, when I was a little kid I used to think that Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese had joined forces to kill Chinese people and that the only group still holding out, no matter the cost, was the CCP.)

Lies like these became the basis of my middle school exams, my university exams… even my master’s degree exams! Not only that, but all these tests act like a filter for professionals! I’m 100% unwilling to keep on memorizing for a government like this.

And the whole business with Chou Tzu-yu? Even if she does support Taiwanese independence, who cares? Doesn’t she have the right to freedom of speech? If this country only allows one kind of speech, then we might as well overthrow it and start over again! If one party wants to promote unification, that’s fine. But they’ll have use charm to win over their opponents instead of relying on barbaric crackdowns.

Aside from misleading the people and making the ruling party look better than they actually are, what’s the point of using your influence to oppress people around the world, while at the same making domestic propaganda that says things like “the people of Taiwan dream of unification and detest Taiwan independence”? If “Taiwanese unification” is something worth standing up for, then should you really have to use lies to support your point of view?

Back when I was in school on the mainland, I’d often chat with classmates from the other side of the political spectrum. I’d always take the side of Taiwan, because I thought that Taiwan could provide a model of democracy for when we mainlanders make the inevitable move towards democracy. After coming to Taiwan I’m more familiar with things here now. I feel like even though democracy has reached all corners of the country, there’s still room for improvement. For example, members of the Legislative Yuan seem to be relatively lacking when it comes to political debate, and the ruling party and the opposition party sometimes seem to oppose each other just because, rather than actually considering the pros and cons.

But the fact that democracy is imperfect doesn’t cancel out its importance. Given the present cross-Straits power imbalance, Taiwan’s democracy would be an unavoidable sacrifice of any possible unification. That would be a tragedy for the entire Chinese-speaking world! So that’s why I can say without the slightest hesitation that with the way things are now, I’m absolutely opposed to “unification!”

In the future, I’m optimistic that the mainland will be reformed into a complete democracy. Whatever happens, we can’t have autocracy. If when democratic China arrives we are still talking about unification, then it’ll happen as a matter of course. At any rate, there’s one thing I know for sure: Taiwan doesn’t belong to the People’s Republic of China! May Heaven protect democracy! May Heaven protect the Chinese people of the world! [Chinese]

While Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has traditionally advocated formal independence from China, she has pledged to maintain the peaceful status quo. Following Tsai’s victory, Beijing voiced its opposition to “secessionist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence,” and a retired Chinese major general warned of inevitable war if the self-governing island sought full independence.

Translation by Nick.