June 15, 2006


China Easing Its Stance On Taiwan: Tolerance Grows For Status Quo (Edward Cody, June 15, 2006, Washington Post)

Gradually and without fanfare, China has substantially softened its stand on Taiwan, according to senior officials and diplomats. President Hu Jintao, they said, has begun to play down China's long-standing vow to recover the self-ruled island by force if necessary and shifted the focus to preventing any move toward formal independence.

The adjustment, which has become clearer in recent months, has brought China's policy on the volatile Taiwan issue closer to that of the United States. Washington has long maintained that the island's half-century-old status quo -- independent in fact but not in law -- should not be changed until Beijing and Taipei can work out a mutually acceptable peaceful solution.

"Before, we never said 'status quo,' " said a Chinese academic who advises Hu's government on Taiwan. "Now we say it all the time."

As Confucius said, if independence is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2006 8:26 AM

It helps to warn them what will definitely happen to them if they attempt something. Bush has demonstrated (in contrast to Clinton's approach) that being tough gets better results than kowtowing (stroking the horse's ass, as the saying goes in Chinese).

Posted by: Brother Qiao at June 15, 2006 9:07 AM

The irony of your comment is that Bob(by) Knight said the original quote in an interview with Connie Chung, if you didn't already know that.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 15, 2006 10:19 AM

True, but then how much power and influence does Hu really have? And for how long?

(As they say in China, "Who's Hu?")

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 15, 2006 10:29 AM

Barry -- Hu alone couldn't carry out such a radical policy if he didn't have the agreement -- or at least the acquiescence -- of other major figures in the power heirarchy. The Chinese politburo just doesn't work that way -- one man doesn't just command all the others. That's why Chinese premiers are basically all so colorless -- they are the Organization Men par excellence. Maybe they've come to realize that they have other, more pressing problems, or that time is not really on their side.

Posted by: Lisa at June 15, 2006 10:43 AM

It is unlikely China wants to provoke anything before the Beijing Olympics. See what the policy is afterwards.

The big advantage for Taiwan, of course, is that amphibious invasions are hard. Even if an army can land on the beach, the US Navy can cut their supply line, and they'll be subsequently wiped out. Threatening to invade (and the resulting destruction and economic damage) will give China more concessions than any actual invasion.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at June 15, 2006 12:03 PM

Confucius said: if you can't beat them, join them.
As a matter of fact, China is afraid of Taiwan's current KMT leader, a charismatic US educated democratic mayor of Taipei. He said a couple of years ago: of course we should reunite with China under a deomocratically elected govt.

Posted by: ic at June 15, 2006 12:19 PM

Tex Antoine was fired for it.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2006 1:14 PM

I am a China lawyer AND I went to Indiana University School of Law and I do think your quote on inevitability comes from Bobby Knight regarding rape, not from Confucious.

Posted by: China Law Blog at June 15, 2006 8:49 PM


"Tex Antoine (Wikipedia)

In 1976, his weather spot came up just after a report of a violent rape of a five year old girl. Tex thereupon quipped: "With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: 'If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.'" Roger Grimsby led the 11 p.m. newscast that night with the official apology from WABC. His joke got Tex Antoine suspended, then fired.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2006 8:55 PM