CM – « You don’t bring politics to the family table »: How the tensions between China and Taiwan are felt in Australia

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The ACT has registered 41 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19. Five spent time in the community while contagious

From her home in Melbourne, Isabel Zhang kept an eye on escalating tensions between China and Taiwan some 7,000 kilometers away.

For three days, China sent nearly 100 fighter jets over Taiwan’s defense zone, a buffer outside the island’s airspace.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, but Taipei as sovereign. The increasing militarization in the region and geopolitical talk of the threat of war have unsettled some.

« Everyone will be concerned when a war breaks out. As migrants, we worry about our loved ones, » she said.

Ms. Zhang has strong ties to the Chinese and Taiwanese communities in Australia – she was born in mainland China, lived in Malaysia and Singapore, and married her Taiwanese husband in Melbourne.

« I think it’s a political one Piece, and you don’t bring politics to the family table, « she said.

 » The last thing we need is war. I really don’t think war can resolve these political and historical differences and conflicts. « </ The People's Liberation Army of China sent fighter jets into Taiwanese airspace for 199 days this year. Here's why.

Austin Tuon, president of the Australian Taiwanese Friendship Association, said the community is concerned about the Chinese government’s « violent rhetoric » and the increasingly sophisticated military equipment.

« Many of us have still strong roots in Taiwan. We have close family members – grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles who live in Taiwan, « he said.

 » Despite the CCP’s authoritarian behavior, I don’t think people in China actually want war.

Ms. Zhang, a cultural and economic research specialist, said the Australian Chinese community may be affected by overarching geopolitical tensions.

« It’s hard to ignore this issue because of our roots, our heritage and ours Culture are associated with us, « she said.

 » Chinese Australians come from many different countries, such as mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. We’re not part of the politics there.

« The better way is to think we’re Australian Chinese, no matter where we come from. »

In the last few months, war rhetoric has increased: Apart from the jet fighter said Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, should China start a war against Taiwan, Taipei would “fight to the end” and asked Australia for help with security and intelligence.

On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised the “full Reunification of the motherland « and promised to » smash « all » Taiwan independence plans « .

This week, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wrote for the Foreign Office that the island had invested in its military arsenal, but » not a military one Strive for confrontation « .

 » It hopes for a peaceful, stable, predictable and mutually beneficial coexistence with its neighbors, but if its democracy and way of life are threatened, it will Taiwan will do whatever it can to defend itself. « 

In Australia, a new defense pact with the US and the UK, including nuclear submarines, was widely interpreted as a move against China.

The warned earlier this year Home Secretary Mike Pezzullo before the « drums » of war, and Defense Secretary Peter Dutton said a potential conflict over Taiwan cannot be ruled out.

Dr. However, Jade Guan, a strategic expert from Deakin University, said that talk of an impending war should not be exaggerated as the prospect of conflict was greater at other times in Taiwan’s history.

« In the third crisis in the Taiwan Strait from 1995 to 1996, China launched rockets on islets around Taiwan, « she said.

Yang Han, a former Chinese diplomat and political commentator from Sydney, said Mr. Dutton’s comments and remarks about the « Banging the drums » is « provocative ».

« In no situation will Australia be the main factor determining whether there will be a war [cross-strait]. It’s a US-China thing. »

Lina Chen moved to Sydney from Taipei nearly 50 years ago and believes that Taiwan – officially known as the Republic of China – is basically an independent state.

She says the geopolitical problem affects local communities n, indicating that she was encouraged to sign a petition urging Australia to recognize Taiwan as a country.

A spokesman for the ruling Oceanian Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan said the petition was from local Community groups have been set up and it is « not convenient » for the party to get involved directly, but they are « helping » to get the message across.

« But it is also okay if we can maintain the status quo so that people from Taiwan and the mainland can become friends. « 

Mr. Yang said that most western countries, including Australia, recognize the » one China policy, « which recognizes the position of the Chinese government that Taiwan is a province of China while maintaining trade and cultural ties.

« If Taiwan does not change its current status, there will be no excuse or provocation for invasion n in mainland China. We want to maintain the status quo and find a peaceful solution in the future, « he said.

The Australian government could also use national security to » look tough on China « before a national survey, said Jenny Leong, which NSW Green MP.

« This is straight from John Howard’s playbook – National Security Issues Escalating Before Going to an Election, » she said.

« This is a very frightening reality, to see a contactless Australian Prime Minister escalate the situation with China and this relationship in this way.

« Any escalation of war and violence and talk of military escalation or whipping of warmongering … has real effects not only in the countries and communities in which it is the focus, but also on different communities here in Australia. « 

Erin Wen Ai Chew of the Asian Australian Alliance said she was concerned about increasing tension e around Taiwan could deepen the racism that Chinese Australians are already facing due to the pandemic and trade disputes between Australia and China.

« Anti-Chinese rhetoric has been swirled around in recent years, particularly in Australia, » said she.

She said the confrontational talk about war will « exacerbate the problem of racism, » and a lack of nuance meant that everyone of Asian descent was thrown into a homogeneous group.

« Just because we look Chinese … we have to pledge our loyalty to Australia, otherwise we will be seen as enemies, « she said.

Another problem was that » China experts « speaking on defense and security » were usually middle-aged white men, many of whom have certain racial privileges and actually don’t understand the nuances and cultural sensitivities, « she said.

Ms. Leong said the public unity Advocating for peaceful solutions as a woman with Chinese Malaysian heritage meant she was often exposed to racism – an offensive email was sent to her this week calling her “communist junk”.

“It’s not uncommon for me to be accused of being a front for the CCP or the Communist Party, or alternatively to be asked to go back to where I come from, « she said.

 » And I assume they are don’t mean Adelaide where I was born. And that’s a sad reality for people in public life. « 

When Taiwan’s foreign minister warns of fighting to the end of an impending war with China, we should be careful.

Taiwan isn’t waiting for mainland China to attack; As far as he is concerned, the fight has already started.

She said there should be no room for anti-Asian sentiments in Australia, which was repeated by Ms. Chew, who added that it was a « misunderstanding » that everyone in Australia with a Chinese background was concerned about the geopolitical events.

« The general sentiment is that a lot of Asian Australians are just more busy living everyday life and surviving the pandemic, » she said.

In a statement, the Home Office told ABC that ‘social cohesion’ was a priority but made no mention of tensions between China and Taiwan.

« Asian Australians are an integral part of Australian society and make a significant contribution to the nation, « they said.

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