by Ian Tuttle
"Taiwan, for its part, only grows more independence-minded. In January, the country reduced the Kuomintang (KMT) to just 35 out of 113 seats in the country’s national parliament, giving the “opposition” Democratic Progressive Party control of the parliament for the first time in the country’s history. Taiwanese voters also elected Tsai, a DPP president. The DPP and smaller, like-minded parties, as opposed to the KMT and its allies, generally believe that Taiwan is de facto independent, and they eschew the KMT’s conciliatory approach to Beijing, preferring an approach that is more cautiously antagonistic. Given that younger voters feel little to no connection with mainland China, a more independence-minded politics is likely to gain ground in coming years.
This is a movement the United States should support. There are economic reasons, certainly: Taiwan occupies an integral place in the global technology supply chain, for example. But, more important, Taiwan is a country of freedom-loving people who are governed by legitimately elected representatives, who operate a free press, and who seek to work amicably with a community of international partners. China is a large, sprawling, complex country, in which many people are flourishing economically; but it is ruled by a one-party dictatorship that seeks to maintain — and is presently working to consolidate — power. The contrast between the two countries is perhaps most visible at the entrance to Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan and formerly the tallest building in the world: Visitors will see Falun Gong adherents practicing their religion openly and protesting the Chinese government. But just 110 miles to the west, across the Taiwan Strait, Falun Gong practitioners are imprisoned and used to source a state-run organ-trafficking trade."