Now that the UN has embraced the principle that people have a right to self-determination and independence, such as witnessed in Kosovo and East Timor, there is one other nation that needs attention in the most urgent way.
The island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, was inhabited by aborigines before the 17th century, when Dutch and Spanish colonies opened the island to mass Han immigration. After a brief rule by the Kingdom of Tungning, the island was annexed by the Qing dynasty, the last dynasty of China. The Qing ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895 after the Sino-Japanese War. While Taiwan was under Japanese rule, the Republic of China (ROC) was established on the mainland in 1912 after the fall of the Qing dynasty.
Following the Japanese surrender to the Allies in 1945, the ROC took control of Taiwan. However, the resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the ROC's loss of the mainland to the Communists, and the flight of the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. Although the ROC continued to claim to be the legitimate government of China, its effective jurisdiction had, since the loss of Hainan in 1950, been limited to Taiwan and its surrounding islands, with the main island making up 99% of its de facto territory. As a founding member of the United Nations, the ROC represented China at the UN until 1971, when it lost its seat to the communist People's Republic of China (PRC).
Communist China is a very large and very belligerent nation which has an unenviable record of systematic human rights abuse and genocide. Its record of invasion and murder of so many innocent people in places such as Tibet is very well documented. However, Taiwan, a small nation which has been totally independent for around 70 years, is NOT part of China, but is a separate and sovereign nation in its own right. The people of Taiwan consider themselves to be Taiwanese, not Chinese and the only commonality between the Taiwanese and the mainland Chinese is the Mandarin language.
Taiwan has its own government, its own laws, its own borders and its own democratic system of government. It is ludicrous for communist China to claim any sovereignty over Taiwan and the only reason China is doing this is because of Taiwan's proximity to the mainland and the fact that it called itself the Republic of China after the nationalists were driven from the mainland in 1912.
This nation has desired the world to recognise this independence, even though China has been threatening invasion for many decades. The Taiwanese have created an industrial giant from a small impoverished island, with a phenomenal industry base and Taiwan has become one of the largest producers of electronics and computer equipment in the world. No wonder China desires to annex this country by any means and acquire its wealth and expertise.
The USA very conveniently supported Taiwan throughout the Cold War, until it saw the advantage of growing trade with China, so true to its usual form regarding the lure of the almighty dollar, the USA sold Taiwan down the river. Notwithstanding its history of freedom and the wishes of the Taiwanese to remain independent, indicating this with the series of elections of pro-independence governments, the USA, UN and even Australia will not support Taiwan, as was done with Kosovo and East Timor, a most disgraceful policy.
The double standards of the western world powers was graphically seen at the Sydney Olympics. Instead of the Taiwanese team being able to march as proud citizens of their own independent country, they were forced to call their nation "Chinese Taipei" as if they were somehow part of the communist mainland. It was most surprising that Taiwan did not refuse to acquiesce to this blatant abrogation of their basic human rights of freedom and independence.
What difference is there between the East Timorese gaining independence from Indonesia with the help of the UN, Kosovars gaining autonomy from Yugoslavia with the assistance of NATO, and Taiwan wishing to be truly independent of China? The problem is that China has stated that as soon as Taiwan declares independence, it will be immediately invaded.
Notwithstanding the whitewashing and kowtowing by many western countries eager for the perceived amount of trade with the world's most populous nation, the current regime in China has to be castigated in the strongest manner for the brutal way its own people are treated. A good indication of the repression by the communists is the banning of the Falun Gong yoga movement. It is the height of lunacy for this regime to perceive an organisation that promotes nothing but good health and meditation as being some sort of political threat, but the Chinese government has managed to do so and is torturing and jailing practitioners of Falun Gong for nothing more than asking for the right to exercise and meditate.
Australia must take the lead on this issue and firstly revoke its ludicrous and politically expedient "One China" policy, then demand that the UN, the USA and every other democratic country recognises Taiwan as an independent nation and immediately votes to give it membership of the UN, a status that was shamefully stripped from Taiwan for no other reason than appeasement of China for the almighty dollar.
If China does not take heed of this, the strongest trade and political sanctions should be instituted to cripple its economy and to make China a pariah state. Unfortunately this is highly doubtful, as the Chinese Olympic Games bid should have been totally rejected, but the almighty dollar prevented that. Also, economic pressure upon the Chinese population is virtually impossible, as the USA owes China a debt of over $2 trillion and looks to generate ever-increasing trade. However, the nations of the world that are really interested in furthering the cause of the true freedom of people everywhere should recognise Taiwan as an independent sovereign nation and ensure its rightful seat in the United Nations.