Taiwan: does democracy work in Asia? Part 6 of 6

January 24, 2016

The last alleged Asian democracy to shine a brief spotlight on is Taiwan, which isn’t really a country, since the United States and most other significant nations recognize one China and thus include the boundaries of Taiwan as being part of the boundaries of (mainland) China.

In fact, China claims Taiwan as its province, and the international community does not want to contradict China, so Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations.

Although local elections were allowed in Taiwan as early as the 1950s, the Kuomintang (KMT) ruled Taiwan with martial law under Chiang Kai-shek (1887 – 1976), and repressed democracy advocates for more than three decades—sometimes brutally.

For instance, there was another massacre “I never heard of” that I stumbled on by accident while researching another post, the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan. Estimates of the number of deaths vary from 10,000 to 30,000 or more. The massacre marked the beginning of the Kuomintang’s White Terror period in Taiwan, in which thousands more inhabitants vanished, died, or were imprisoned. Has anyone heard the U.S. media remind Americans of the massacre in Taiwan that murdered as many as 10 times the casualties that have been reported annually about the alleged 1989 massacre in China’s Tiananmen Square?

After Chiang Kai-shek’s death, in 1976, the KMT held onto power until 2000. Then in direct elections, the Taiwanese people voted for a president in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, but corruption reared its ugly head again.

In 2009, Time World reported on former President Chen Shui-bian‘s corruption trial. Chen was accused of taking $9 million dollars in personal kickbacks on a state-sanctioned land deal, embezzling over $3 million from a state fund and laundering millions to overseas accounts.

Then in 2010, the Taipei Times reported, “A former president (Chen Shui-bian) jailed for graft, a retired head of military police indicted for embezzlement, three top judges accused of taking bribes — the list goes on. Taiwan has a problem with corruption.”

In addition, New York Times reported, “Lee Teng-hui, a former president (served 1996 – 2000), who moved the self-governing island toward democracy, was indicted … on charges of embezzling $7.79 million from a state fund, becoming the second former president of Taiwan to be charged with corruption.”

One good thing to say for Taiwan is a low poverty level similar to mainland China. However, in the world’s most powerful democracy, the U.S. 2010 Census says 15.7 percent of Americans live in poverty and that is 47.8 million people—more than twice the population of Taiwan.

After discovering the track record of these so-called multi-party democracies in Asia, do you think mainland China’s growing middle class will eventually want a multi-party democracy?

For one answer, Professor Stephen Kobrin of the Wharton School of Knowledge at the University of Pennsylvania says, “We tend to assume all middle-class people have certain values.”

Kobrin points to the common assertion that people rising into the middle class will press for democracy. However, that does not seem to be happening in China where he suggests that people may be willing to accept more autocratic regimes in return for stability and a middle-class consumer lifestyle.

“The assumption has been that there’s a link between capitalism and democracy, that as incomes rise and people become educated, they will increase pressure for democracy and freedom and civil liberties,” notes Kobrin. “That may or may not be true.”

What do you think—is democracy in Asia working and should China give it a try?

Return to India in Part 5 or start with Japan in Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 5/10

January 30, 2012

In Part Four’s video, Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin deLaplante talked about the Red Herring fallacy. He says it is easily confused with the Straw Figure fallacy.

The Red Herring is anything that distracts you from following the trail (topic) of the original argument and is distracting enough to make the audience want to follow the new trail (topic), which is an irrelevant distraction away from the original argument and main issue.

For example, when Sid, in our debate, introduced something that changed the subject, which raised a new issue that wasn’t relevant to the previous line of discussion, the fallacy occurred when Sid concluded something from this different issue or presumed that some conclusion has been established.

The “Straw Figure” Fallacy. Source: The Critical Thinking Academy

“In this respect,” Professor deLaplante says, “the fallacy is very much like a Straw Figure fallacy in that you are mistakenly or misleadingly say you won the argument or refuted the argument”, which was when Sid avoided engaging with the original argument.

However, the Red Herring is different from the Straw Figure fallacy in that a Straw Figure involves distorting or misrepresenting some original argument and then knocking down the distorted argument.

Straw Figure: Arguer misrepresents an opponent’s position.

Red Herring: Arguer tries to distract the attention of the audience by raising an irrelevant issue.

There are many examples of Sid introducing Red Herrings into the argument where he ignored the original argument and changed the subject. In Part 2 of the debate, I asked, “How would you describe the differences you observed between how piety is practiced in mainland China and Taiwan?”

Sid immediately introduced a Red Herring with “First, as the term pertains to Taiwan, there is no such thing as mainland China. There is China, and there is Taiwan. The word ‘mainland’ denotes a connection, but there isn’t one and never really has been.”

Sid’s response had nothing to do with piety, and if I had not been ignorant of logical fallacies, I would have been aware of what he was doing and challenged it.

Then Sid asked his first of many loaded questions when he said, “Approximately 90 percent of Taiwanese want nothing to do with China, and why would they?”

What does this have to do with piety? In fact, there was no evidence with a link to support the claim that 90 percent of Taiwanese want nothing to do with China, which was often the case with Sid’s Red Herrings throughout the debate. Unfortunately, my response was to spend hours researching and writing replies.

The recent results in Taiwan’s presidential election indicate that a majority of Taiwanese may favor reunification with China or at least closer ties. On January 14, 2012, Fox News.com reported, Taiwan’s China-friendly president wins re-election with 51.6 percent of the total against 45.6 percent for Tsai Ingwen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Fox News said, “Ma’s Nationalist Party also retained control of the 113-seat legislature, though with a reduced majority. Speaking before thousands of jubilant supporters in downtown Taipei, Ma said his China policies had resonated with voters. ‘They gave us support for our policy to put aside differences with the mainland. To search for peace and turn it into business opportunities.'”

In addition, Sid introduced so many Red Herrings, that I couldn’t respond to all of them, which is why I decided to write comments and new posts and spend more time with these new topics.  When I did respond to some of Sid’s Red Herrings, he often ignored what I wrote while posting more Red Herrings that I often scrambled to respond to, which was my mistake.

Sid’s alleged contempt for me appeared to increase as evidenced by his numerous ad hominem attacks after I started to ban his logical fallacies. In addition, his use of Judgmental language – insulting or pejorative language, may have been intended to influence my judgment. Examples: “You’re an imbecile Lloyd, a soft headed moron,” andYou lack the intelligence to argue, so you ban.”

Continued on January 31, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 or return to Part 4


Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others



Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 5/5

January 9, 2012

Now that we know more about the United States and Hawaii, where Sun Yat-sen lived as a teenager, his concept of a republic would have been very different from what the American democracy looks like today.

In addition, members of the U.S. Senate were not elected to office by the popular vote until 1913 when the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was amended to provide for direct popular election of senators, ending the system of election by individual state legislatures.

If Sun Yat-sen were aware of the details of America’s political history and its limitation by the time he left Hawaii at the age of 17 in 1883, the republic and/or democracy he envisioned for China probably would have excluded many from voting—including all women.

In addition, by 1903, when Sun Yat-sen returned to Hawaii looking for support for his dream of a future republic and/or democracy in China, Hawaii was no longer a republic but was a territory of the United States—not a state—and its people were not considered American citizens.

The republic and/or democracy Sun Yat-sen might have imagined for China may possibly have included at last one House as a National Congress with its members appointed by the elected legislatures of each province, and women would have been excluded from voting and possibly considered the property of men as women were in the United States at that time.

In fact, it is possible that Sun Yat-sen would not have considered organizing a republic and/or democracy where the citizens elected China’s leader with a popular vote of the people since Hawaii’s Constitution of 1864 charged the legislature, not the people, with the task of electing the next king, who was King Kalākaua—the one forced to sign the 1887 Constitution four years after the young Sun Yat-sen returned to China.

Now that we know the differences between then and now, it is easier to accept that the Chinese Communist Party’s 1982 Constitution created a government in China closer—and maybe even better—than what Sun Yat-sen might have imagined for China.

How could Sun Yat-sen have envisioned a republic and/or democracy similar to what the United States has today in the 21st century?

In fact, under a Sun Yat-sen republic, children in China might still be considered the property of parents as they were in the United States until the 1938 Federal regulation of child labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Before 1938, parents in the US had the right to sell their children into servitude and/or slavery depending on which state one lived in.

In addition, writing of the merits of a republican or representative form of government, James Madison observed that one of the most important differences between a democracy and a republic is “the delegation of the government [in a republic] to a small number of citizens elected by the rest.

When James Madison wrote this, the number of US citizens allowed to vote in federal elections was limited to white property owners (excluding Jews), which represented about 10% of the population of the US in 1776, which was similar to the voting rights in Hawaii during most of Sun Yat-sen’s life.

Return to The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 4 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 4/5

January 8, 2012

If you recall from Part 1, Hawaii was not a democracy modeled after today’s United States when Sun Yat-sen lived there from the ages of 13 to 17 [1879 – 1883].

In fact, when Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii, it was a kingdom ruled by a king and was a Constitutional Monarchy similar to but not the same as Great Britain at the same time.

It wouldn’t be until 1887, that the Hawaiian King Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution [after Sun Yat-sen had returned to China] of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped him of any authority he had making him into a figurehead.

In addition, there was a property qualification in 1887’s Hawaiian Constitution for voting rights similar to what the Founding Fathers wrote into the US Constitution in 1776, and resident whites, who owned the property since Asians were not allowed to own property or could not afford to buy it, were the only ones allowed to vote.

Meanwhile, the American Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 excluded skilled and unskilled Chinese from entering the United States for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. In the US at this time, many Chinese were relentlessly beaten just because of their race.

Therefore, when Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii as a Chinese teenager, it was not a republic or a democracy and he was a second-class person barred from entering the United States.

The structure of the political system in the United States was also dramatically different from the one America has today.

In 1790, the Constitution explicitly says that only “free white” immigrants could become naturalized citizens.

In 1848, Mexican-Americans were granted U.S. Citizenship but not voting rights.

In 1856, voting rights were expanded to all white men and not just property owners.

In 1868, four years after the end of the American Civil War, former slaves were granted citizenship, however only African-American men were allowed to be citizens and the right to vote was left up to each state.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed saying the right to vote could not be denied by the federal or state governments based on race [this still did not include women], but some states restricted the right to vote based on voting taxes and literacy tests.

In 1876, the US Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans were not citizens and could not vote.

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act barred people of Chinese ancestry from naturalizing to become U.S. citizens.

In 1920, the right to vote was extended to women when the 19th Amendment passed. Source: U.S. Voting Rights Timeline

What do you think Sun Yat-sen learned from these facts about a democracy?

Continued on January 9, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 5 or return to Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 3/5

January 7, 2012

Mr. Parfitt is either ignorant or playing on the IGNORANCE Factor to further his cultural and/or confirmation bias, which runs through his book, Why China Will Never Rule the World, as if it were a thick artery of coal in a coalmine.

From everything I have learned of Parfitt’s book from reading many of the reviews on it by people that have read it, I know this much—he’s a talented and powerful writer driven by either a cultural bias and/or possibly a personal vendetta against Chinese culture and China.

Did something personal happen to Parfitt while teaching ESL in Taiwan that caused him to declare war on Confucianism and the Chinese culture?

Troy Parfitt asked, “One of the tenets of Sun’s philosophy was democracy. Has China achieved democracy?”

The answer to Parfitt’s question has nothing to do with the democracy of the United States, as it exists today.

However, it does have everything to do with the politics of Hawaii when Sun Yat-sen lived there for four years of his young life, and of the United States at that time.

Sun Yat-sen attended a Christian British Bishop’s school in Hawaii for four years. His model on a Chinese republic may have been based on the beliefs of America’s Founding Fathers, who despised democracy as mob rule. Since Sun attended a British school, we may assume safely that he also learned about the British parliamentary system where the prime minister is not elected to office but is the leader of the majority party and there is no term limit. In fact, there was no term limit for the president of the U.S. until 1947, long after Sun’s death.


According to Sun Yat-Sen Hawaii Foundation, he arrived in Hawaii in 1879 at the age of thirteen. He then spent four of his teenage years being educated in Hawaii. China’s first revolutionary society, the Xing Zhong Hui (Revive China Society) was organized in Hawaii in 1894 more than a decade after Sun left.

Sun Yat-sen would later be involved in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 and a failed attempt to establish a republic in China. He never achieved his goals during his lifetime.

Whatever Sun Yat-sen’s vision of a republic might look like was formed during the four years he lived in Hawaii as a teen.  The Sun Yat-sen Timeline shows that he returned to China in 1883.

To discover what Sun Yat-sen may have believed means learning about the political structure of Hawaii and the United States between 1879 and 1883.

Continued on January 8, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 4 or return to Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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