Illustration by Malika Favre
China continues to intimidate and threaten Taiwan with war games and blatant incursions into their airspace.
Journalist Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War, writes an eye-opening exposé in The New Yorker (Nov. 21, 2022) titled, “Letter from Taiwan, A Dangerous Game.”
His man-on-the-ground report lays out the background and current reality in Taiwan and China.
Rarely have I the patience to read lengthy articles in The New Yorker, but this one kept me turning pages.
Here are just some highlights:
- “In 1954 the U.S. signed a defense treaty with Taiwan placing troops and even, for a time, nuclear weapons there.”
- Many, in the current leadership of Taiwan, hold advanced degrees from universities in the United States.
- The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, is allowing American Special Forces to come train Taiwanese soldiers.
- China’s pressure to isolate Taiwan continues. Due to China’s efforts, “Only fourteen countries now have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”
- “What you notice when you’re in Taiwan is the profound sense of isolation.”
- A former executive of a Hong Kong bank, who now lives in Taiwan, said this about her time in Hong Kong and the current reality in Taiwan:
“When the Chinese come to Hong Kong, they brought in their surveillance cameras and their facial-recognition software. That’s what they want to do here.”
- Meanwhile, the “billionaire founder of Taiwan’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, pledged more than thirty million dollars to lay the groundwork for a territorial-defense program… Since the crackdown in Hong Kong, he has begun referring to Chinese leaders a ‘gangster mafia’.”
- China sent the following message via social media to the Taiwanese:
“Everyone must stay away from military facilities, sit quietly in their homes, and wait for liberation. If you have children in the Army, be sure to tell them if the People’s Liberation Army attacks Taiwan to hand over their guns and they won’t be killed.”
Fortunately, Taiwan and those who value independence, have no intention of caving into Chinese threats and intimidation.
There is much more in Filkins’s article about Taiwan, China, and the U.S., I urge you to read it.