It's up to Taiwan to determine its future with China

As an American and ethnic Chinese, I find Bruce Jacobs's Dec. 13 Opinion piece, "Taiwan's history – and destiny – of freedom from China," very disturbing. Though the author makes notable points about Taiwan independence, there are also many major flaws in his argument.

First, it is important to note that the official name of Taiwan is the Republic of China. Also, claims to Taiwan have been made since the Qing Dynasty.

Although it is true that the Qing Dynasty was Manchu, national identity should not be based on ethnic lines.

Modern China includes more than 40 ethnic minorities including Manchus and Hans, but most Chinese people adhere to the Chinese national identity.

Finally, as the author mentions in his commentary, Taiwan is a thriving democracy. Therefore, it is important to Taiwan to determine its own destiny without outside pressures, whether from China or other countries.

Currently, Taiwan's legislature is ruled by the Pan-Blue coalition, which is anti- independence. We in the Western world need to respect the wishes of other democracies. Voicing for Taiwan independence is not what a majority of Taiwanese want. It is irresponsible to take this view, especially as an outside observer.
Leixin Zhao
Baton Rouge, La.

After reading Bruce Jacobs's piece about Taiwan's history of freedom, I must say that I was moved by it. As a Taiwanese myself, I have watched the nation go through many ups and downs.

Mr. Jacobs wrote that the "[p]olls show that the number of people in Taiwan who consider themselves Chinese has declined from 25 percent of the population in 1992 to about 6 percent now." This is a good sign, but I'm surprised the number hasn't gone down to 0 percent yet.

I do strongly believe that we Taiwanese need greater representation and should have the right to determine our own future – without China constantly threatening us with military power.

How can Taiwanese be "splittists" when we are already an independent country in the first place? The only thing I hope is that other nations will consider Taiwan independent and allow us to join international organizations. I believe that is the only way China will give up the thought of invading Taiwan.

Thank you to Jacobs for writing the Opinion piece. It was definitely very interesting, and I look forward to having the conflict between China and Taiwan resolved one day.
Joyce Lin
Richmond Hill, Ontario

A unique view of the Iraq war

Thanks to Dante Chinni's Dec. 12 Opinion column, "The value of a pro-war blogger's reports from Iraq," Monitor readers now know about Bill Roggio's valuable reporting on the Iraq war's operations and our troops.

Without reporters such as Mr. Roggio, who are willing to be embedded with fighting troops, most of what the media have is just reports fed to them by freelancers.

Perhaps the reason that Mr. Chinni finds Roggio's reports "biased," "distinctly different," sounding like "government talking points," and "not in the mainstream" is because Roggio has left many of his "mainstream" journalist colleagues ensconced in Iraq's Green Zone and has pointedly sought out assignments with fighting units.
David Holmes
Fairfax, Va.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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