The EarthRights podcast is back with new music and an insightful conversation with Ray Chang about living in Taiwan under the threat of Chinese invasion. Ray is a recent Taiwanese graduate in political science, who we met in Prague awed by his break-dancing moves.
Today's episode begins with a historical account of the relationship between Taiwan, China and the South China Sea. Tensions revolve around disputes over land and territory.
The first known settlers in Taiwan were Austronesian tribal people, who are thought to have come from modern day southern China. Since AD239, when the then Chinese Emperor sent an expeditionary force to explore the area, Beijing has sought to maintain territorial claim over Taiwan, even until today.
Whilst relations between China and Taiwan started improving in the 1980s after a process of democratisation had begun discussions with China about Taiwanese autonomy if it accepted reunification. Taiwan rejected this proposal and throughout the 1990s and 2000s it continued its pursuit of independence from China. Beijing disliked this, and their relationship soured again.
According to Ray, the bitter relationship means that Taiwanese people live in fear of imminent invasion. He is concerned because, despite mandatory military service, he and other young men do not feel at all prepared if invasion were to take place.
The U.S.A. has also pledged to support Taiwan and supply them with defensive weapons and has stressed any attack by China would cause "grave concern". Whilst Ray is very open-minded about U.S. support, Pippa and Mel question whether the U.S.A. would really step up in face of international conflict? And, what is the U.S. real motive in supporting Taiwan against China?
Over the last few years, China has continued to infiltrate its power in Taiwan and Hong Kong, creating uprisings, protests and concern for people like Ray. Please tune in and hear Ray's personal story about living and growing up in Taiwan, under the threat of China.