Monday, October 05, 2009

Taiwan Demystified

A friend of mine from high school now lives in Taiwan. Actually, he is from Taiwan, but his family moved to the US at some point (he may have been in middle school?) and we've just reconnected through mutual friends.

He recently commented that friends from mainland China kept asking him if Taiwan has a day off for mainland China's national holiday. I repeatly told them that people typically don't take a day off and celebrate for being overthrown...

This statement totally confused me, so I asked from some clarification on the China/Taiwan situation. Here is what he said:

To PepGiraffe: Let's use United States and Confederate States of America in a fictional scenario... Imagine:
  • The Confederacy didn't want just to secede from the Union, they intended to replace the government in Washington DC and be the sole legitimate government of the land.
  • The Confederacy conquered all but State of New York
  • The Union Government, now in Albany, never relinquish the territorial claim of entire United States, even though in effect it only controls New York State.
  • While no ceasefire/armistice was ever signed, there has been no hostility for past 40-50 years.
  • New York State, being a lot wealthier, invested heavily throughout the Confederacy.
  • 1/3 of population in the Union (i.e. State of New York) want to "secede" from the Confederacy, 1/3 want to preserve the United States, and 1/3 just want to live their daily lives.
  • The Confederacy, on the other hand, claims that New York is just a renegade State, representing an unfinished business which will be resolved, hopefully peacefully, but with force if necessary.

That is essentially the story. :)

So tell me: is the Union and Confederate, under this fantasy scenario, a completely different country or not?

I asked him if it was ok to post his explanation on my blog and he said yes, with the caveat that he skipped a lot of historical background which would have helped to explain why people get very emotional about this. Although honestly, just the explanation he gave seems good enough for me.

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