Can Taiwan change China?

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A recent article by Jonathan Adams in the International Herald Tribune described a certain cult unpopular with Beijing that was recruiting mainlanders visiting Taiwan thanks to the cross-straits detente.

The Taiwan government is powerless to stop the activities due to strong laws protecting assembly of private citizens.

The broad question this raise to me is whether Taiwan will change China due to the opening of cross straits.

Hong Kong (and Macau) are unlikely to change China because they are:

– Small (Fewer than 8 million people)
– Lacking lively political debate
– Cantonese-speaking

The rule of law and free expression in Hong Kong are interesting characteristics, but my sense is that Hong Kong is still considered a culture apart.

Taiwan, on the other hand, is:

– Fairly large (22 million people, I think)
– Quite prominent on the mainland (Taiwan has long been considered a renegade province, so always part of China)
– Mandarin-speaking
– Politically lively

Taiwan is a great counter-argument to those who think that Chinese culture rejects democracy/self-rule (a view expressed on this blog recently)

Will Taiwan change China? (How could China change Taiwan?)

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4 comments

  1. Both sides of the strait will certainly affect each other (China more so than Taiwan likely). But only time will tell at this point as to how they will affect each other.

    One example for each side however:

    We’ve seen how Taiwan is already increasing land values in Shanghai as many Taiwanese move there (with resentment too).

    We’ve also seen a tampering down of political public sentiment of top leaders for independence as well within Taiwan.

  2. @Demerzel : In other hand, the mainlander are already the main cause of the amazing expensive real estate on Taipei.

    How Taiwan can change China ? As you said, by showing that after 30 years of white terror, democracy & freedom of speech is possible. During the ROC presidential election, I went to Sina.com and read comments such as : “Why Taiwanese people can vote and we can’t ? Are we 2nd class citizen ?”

    Ok, claiming that Taiwan is China (but not PRC, here is the key difference) is a fact, but now they have to explain why they are more “free” than them.

  3. Frankie Fook-lun Leung

     More likely china will change Taiwan.  It has already happened.  Taiwan's economy is integrated with the mainland's.