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April 27, 2006


John Hardy

Spot on again, Jamie.

It's one of those complicated feelings that overseas Chinese have about China and wherever they are living. It's both disturbing and reassuring at the same time as my wife discovered at the airport on her first visit to China. "Welcome home" was the greeting, she's fifth generation Malaysian-born.

Everyone in SE Asia remembers those rescue boats being sent to Indonesia during the 1960s, there a large colony of former Malayan insurgents still living on Hainan (some are not even of Chinese descent).

It's a comfort to know that when things go really bad "there's always China" as a place to go... although this comes way down on the list of preferences after the America, Europe and Australia.


I agree that this seems to be the Taiwanese government's thinking, but the general reaction of the international (ethnic) Chinese community seems to illustrate that most Chinese see themselves as part of a same ethnic grouping with ties of resonsibility to each other. Given that Taiwan's the recognised diplomatic partner, it should perhaps have intervened (as I'm sure the UK would have helped Swedes or Italians if it had been the only EU country with representation in a country exploding into civil strife). That it didn't may hav more to do with the fact it doesn't want to draw attention to its role its stimulation of corruption has played in fueling the violence.

And incidentally, the Chinese intervention in Indonesia in the 1960s caused such huge difficulties (accomodating an expensive bunch of capitalist small business folk in the midst of the cultural revolution) that the subsequent Chinese response to Indonesian pogroms has been steadily less impressive on every occasion. China's response to Pol Pot's persecution of Cambodia's Chinese minority was also less than stellar.


I assume by "ethnic Chinese" you're talking about Han Chinese. It's a distinction, and one that the government in Beijing takes pains to make.
On a related note, have you seen this piece on Han migrants in Tibet? Shows the discussion on "the Chinese nation" in a whole new light.

Paul Lyon

Re Indonesia and Suharto's atrocities

It probably did not pass unoticed in Beijing that the U.S. was backing Suharto.

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