Make no mistake: Tibet is an issue for Taiwan, and it is now a hot topic. The PRC shooting people a week before an election here has forced every voter to examine where they stand on Ma Ying-jeou’s promise not to sell out the island — and is a marker of how far Taiwan has come that Ma is forced to excoriate the PRC for its behavior — the kind of abusive, authoritarian behavior that Ma, ironically, defended when he was working for the regime in the early 1980s. My how the world changes…..

Lots of commentary on Tibet in the local media. In addition to strong statements from Ma and Hsieh, the DPP presidential candidate, Taiwan News had another hard-hitting editorial on the 17th. After describing the incident, it observes:

…Unfortunately, the fate of Tibet and what is occurring in Tibet now have direct and pressing relevance to Taiwan precisely because its current fate may well be our future.

The Chinese Communist Party-led PRC regime has followed four steps in its subjugation of Tibet, which long used to be an independent kingdom ruled by a religious aristocracy, whom did, indeed, as claimed by PRC propagandists, imposed a backward and oppressive feudalist system on the majority of the Tibet population.

Nevertheless, what ultimately happened in Tibet was a tragedy for both the Tibetan religious elite and the vast majority of the “oppressed” which the CCP claimed to be “liberating.”

In 1951, the PRC forced a “peace agreement” upon the Dalai Lama led Tibetan government; in 1959, the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army moved forces into Tibet, followed by massive encouragement of immigration of Chinese into Tibet and the rising Sinification of Tibetan culture and, finally, the co-optation of the Panchen Lama as a Beijing puppet.

Right to decide

Could this happen in Taiwan, with our democratic political system and our modern society and culture?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Indeed, this process may have already started and may accelerate after the March 22 presidential election if Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou wins and returns Taiwan to the “China-centric” rule of the “formerly” authoritarian “Chinese Nationalist Party,” which remains the KMT’s official name.

The first step has already been taken in the form of the “party to party” forums between the KMT and its former bitter enemy, the CCP, initiated by KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan and PRC State Chairman and ruling CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao, who ironically was lifted to high office after a repressive term as governor of the “Tibet Autonomous Region.”

The prospect of PLA entry into Taiwan is implied in the Anti-Secession Law enacted by the PRC’s National People’s Congress on March 14, 2005, under which Beijing gave itself the “legal authority” to use force against a Taiwan that refused “peaceful unification.”

The process of Taiwan’s assimilation into the PRC may be spurred by Ma’s advocation of a “cross-strait common market” with the PRC, one of the agreements of the Lien-Hu dialogue of April 2005.

Last but not least, Taiwan may find that its elected president could well turn into a virtual puppet or “chief executive” if Ma fulfills his campaign promise to “return” to the so-called “Consensus of 1992″ and promise to accept “political integration” as a precondition of restored “consultations” with Beijing.

Of course, the fundamental reason why Tibet was open for PRC intimidation, occupation and suppression under Beijing’s new hegemony lies precisely in the fact that it stood alone against its far more powerful and massive northern neighbor.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

It should, since Ma’s notion of a “cross-strait common market” and his declaration of intent to follow “three noes” of “no unification, no independence and no use of force” posits that Taiwan will face the PRC alone without involvement by the international community or negotiation of such an agreement to end hostilities.

And only the election of Democratic Progressive Party president nominee on March 22 together with the passage of the referendums authorizing our application to join the United Nations will allow the 23 million Taiwan people the right to have a voice to express their resolve to control their own destiny and refuse the fate of Tibet.

What the sad history of the infamous 17 point agreement shows is that China simply will grab what it can take and will do and say anything to do so. Also on tap for Tibet is an online petition:

After decades of repression under Chinese rule, the Tibetan people’s frustrations have burst onto the streets in protests and riots. With the spotlight of the upcoming Olympic Games now on China, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change.

The Chinese government has said that the protesters who have not yet surrendered “will be punished”. Its leaders are right now considering a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.

We can affect this historic choice–China does care about its international reputation. China’s President Hu Jintao needs to hear that the ‘Made in China’ brand and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing can succeed only if he makes the right choice. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get his attention–and we need it in the next 48 hours.

The Tibetan Nobel peace prize winner and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world’s people to support him. Click below now to sign the petition–and tell absolutely everyone you can right away–our goal is 1 million voices united for Tibet:

Tibet also affects the Taiwan vote in another way: thousands of Taiwanese are Tibetan buddhists of one strain or another, and millions of Taiwanese, as Buddhists, revere the Dalai Lama. And now the KMT’s Chinese allies are shooting the Dalai Lama’s people in the streets…. a week before the presidential election. Taiwan and the Tibetan independence movement are closely linked, going back to the days when KMT agents infiltrated the independence movement in order to direct it at the communists but prevent it from achieving its goal of Tibetan independence, to today, when the democracy movement has forged links to the Tibetan independence movement….