China: Taiwan's Civil War Over Independence


September 27, 2005: The Chinese government has imposed more restrictions on foreign news sources reached via the Internet. This struggle to to control the news in China is escalating in other ways. The NGO (special interest group) "Reporters Without Borders" has just issued (via the Internet) a Chinese language "Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents." This manual shows how to get your version of events onto the net, without getting arrested by the Chinese cyberpolice. The Chinese government knows that losing control of the news could easily lead to losing control of the country. So far, attempts at controlling the Internet have had some success. But the truth, or at least alternative interpretations of events, continues to get through to the Chinese people. The Chinese government is determined to tame the Internet, and their efforts in this department are very interesting to watch. But the web is still winning.

September 25, 2005: In Taiwan, pro-independence groups are trying to get defense spending boosted. Major increases in defense spending have been stalled for years by ethnic Chinese groups who favor eventual merger with China. These are the descendents of the Nationalist troops and supporters who fled to Taiwan in the late 1940s, after the Nationalists lost a civil war with the Communists. The Nationalists eventually lost control of Taiwan, to the ethnic Taiwanese who are the majority of the population. Now, the Nationalists, who always considered themselves the only legitimate government of China, seek to merge with China. The ethnic Taiwanese would rather be independent, and many are willing to arm themselves and fight to preserve that independence. This difference of opinion threatens to split the country.

September 15, 2005: Air travel is booming in China, and this has military implications. Western aircraft manufacturers see the growing air travel market in China turning into orders for at least a hundred new air transports a year for the next decade, or so. But the Chinese government sees another opportunity, to give the Chinese aviation industry, which has mainly built military aircraft, a big chunk of this new business. China has been assembling some foreign aircraft, but now Chinese designers want to build new models from scratch. This makes sense, as the aircraft manufacturing industry uses many of the same skills and facilities for both civil and military aircraft. China is already producing small, regional jet transports, and wants to scale up to larger aircraft.


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