LETTER : Taiwan and the fear of tyranny

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From Mr Hui-Chuan Wang

Sir: The West's reluctance to condemn China's aggression ("Will China Invade Taiwan?", 9 February) is extremely disappointing. Because China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a huge market, it is able to continue with impunity human rights abuse and threatening behaviour to its neighbours. Not even Russia can get away with so much.

For the Taiwanese, the significance of independence is twofold: a distinct Taiwanese identity and a basis for democracy. Economic growth has given the Taiwanese the confidence to be more vocal on issues of social justice and political freedom. The past few years have witnessed democratic parliamentary elections, the release of political prisoners and the boom in campaigning by pressure groups from the aboriginal people to the environmentalists. These are the first steps toward a free society. The Taiwanese have lived long enough under martial law. To be taken over by China and once again live in fear of offending an authoritarian government is a prospect too bleak to contemplate.

Yours faithfully,

Hui-Chuan Wang

London, NW6

10 February