Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Vice Tightens

"Every time Lee makes a trip overseas, Beijing lodges strong protests with the host country, but to no avail. But with the law, things would be different. Beijing could convene a special court to put Lee on trial by default for instigating Taiwan's independence and issue an international warrant for his arrest. And through the extradition law, if there is one, Beijing could demand the arrest and repatriation of the criminal. That would make it extremely difficult for Lee or other hardline independence activists to go anywhere."

This from a China Post editorial. I've often seen references to the fact that Beijing's proposed "Anti-Sedition Law" would give legal cover to an invasion of the island. Prohibiting people who have expressed pro-indepence opinions from traveling abroad is something I hadn't thought about. The America/ Western Europe fissure is often framed in terms of a backward America clinging to an outdated mode of nationalistic thinking, resisting the trends toward international institutions. But until that internationalization is constructed as an explicitly pro-democracy movement, it will lack credibility with many of us. When a military dictatorship can use international law in this way against democratic Taiwan, something is wrong. I keep waiting for the Taipei Times, with its pro-independence stance and its infatuation with Guardian - style internationalism (and Ameriphobia), to address this apparent contradiction. Been waiting for a long time.