TAIPEI, Taiwan ( Associated Press) – US officials say the gunman was behind an attack on a church in Southern California that killed one and injured five, fueled by hatred for Taiwan.
Although born in Taiwan, David Chou nurtured resentment towards Taiwan and reportedly had ties with a China-backed organization, which would further Beijing’s goal of annexing the self-governing island by force if necessary. was dedicated to.
It has revived questions about the complex and sometimes antagonistic relationship between the two sides, which were torn apart in 1949 amid civil war and have followed very different paths since then – one towards liberal democracy, the other towards Chinese towards an increasingly repressive authoritarian regime under the Communist Party, which claims Taiwan despite never ruling the island.
The following is a look at that background and the current state of affairs between the parties.
What is the history between China and Taiwan?
Taiwan was a Chinese province for only 10 years before being assigned to Japan as a colony in 1895, and later to Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China at the end of World War II. Taiwan again separated from China in 1949 when Chiang moved his government to the island as Mao Zedong’s Communists came to power on the mainland.
While they have established strong economic ties, political reconciliation efforts have faltered in recent years as Taiwan asserts its identity and China accepts its demands that the island accept its terms for integration between the sides. .
What about divisions within Taiwan?
Native Taiwanese and mainland immigrants were initially divided by language, culture and politics, with the people of the mainland continuing to identify closely with China and dreaming of Chiang returning home as an eventual conqueror. Under nearly four decades of martial law, political power remained primarily with the mainland ones while Taiwanese dominated the private sector.
While there were some intermarriages, friction, confrontation, and bullying between them were not uncommon. Some mainland youth formed gangs with links to organized crime, the government, and the military, partly as a means of protecting their interests. Among the young islanders, such divisions have largely diminished as Taiwan’s distinct identity flourished.
Now 68, Chow appears to be quite typical of the “second generation mainland” group, who have never fully integrated into Taiwanese society or viewed the island as anything other than a province of China. came, with whom he continued to identify.
Chow appears to have left Taiwan before the process of democratization and that Taiwanese identity had taken hold, so “by Taiwanese standards, his participation in the reunification group is largely fringe,” at the university. Said James Lin, the historian of Taiwanese history. Washington.
Taiwan’s politics, Lin said, “is different from foreign expatriate politics.”
What are the policies of the government?
China says Taiwan is a part of its territory that has no right to independent recognition as a state or representation on the world stage. Beijing has denied all contact with her government since Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.
China regularly sends military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identity, which it calls advertising its threat to the use of force. It has adopted increasingly dangerous language, warning that Tsai, her ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party and others will pay a dire price for rejecting its demands and attacking Taiwan if it declares formal independence. Will go
Tsai maintains that there is no need for Taiwan to make such a declaration as it is already de facto independent, and has refused to meet China’s original demand that Taiwan be part of the Chinese nation. recognizes as. It has built Taiwan’s traditionally strong ties with the US, Japan and other allies as it has sought to boost the armed forces’ ability to resist a potential Chinese invasion.
How do their people see the situation?
China does not allow free voting on this question, but public sentiment runs strongly in favor of its arguments on the need and imperative of integration between the parties. This is in line with the relentless campaigning of the Communist Party on the issue and the vigorous nationalist tone adopted since the abandonment of orthodox Marxism.
In contrast, support for integration has fallen to a single-digit percentage in Taiwan’s opinion polls, with the vast majority in favor of continuing the status quo of de facto independence. Most now exclusively identify as Taiwanese, with the government and many social organizations supporting that view. The Presbyterian Church, whose parishioners were attacked in the Church of California, is closely associated with the pro-democracy movement and promotion of Taiwan’s independent identity. It is still unclear whether the gunman targeted the church because of Presbyterian affiliation.
There have also been concerns about the Chinese influence on Taiwanese media and the impact of suppressed propaganda campaigns by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party, aimed at promoting China’s political agenda, in foreign Chinese communities and below-the-radar in Taiwan. Works. At a news conference in Taipei on Wednesday, Presbyterian pastor Chen Shin-liang said the government should seize the incident “to counter the hate speech spread by some United Front groups in Taiwan”.
Are there frequent conflicts?
Tensions are higher now than in years, but outside China’s military threats he has been charged with rampant rhetoric and diplomatic fighting.
Foreign, Chinese and Taiwanese communities are similar in some situations, but Beijing’s demands for political loyalty create deep rifts. Taiwan and the Chinese maintain their own student groups on campus, with China maintaining strict controls on its citizens. This position is reflected in the business community and politically aligned groups such as the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, with which Chou reportedly had ties. Since the shooting, photos have surfaced of Chow speaking at a group event at his Las Vegas home.