KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) – American citizens reading this article may well have found themselves browsing the "We the People" White House petition site during an idle moment.
If you have, you will be well aware that the site is packed with hundreds of petitions, and dozens more are added every day.
Some are petitions about serious political issues. Currently, there are petitions asking the government to repeal the National Firearms Act, not to repeal Net Neutrality laws, and urging New York State not to expand abortion services.
But these serious petitions are very much in the minority. More prominent are petitions to impeach Nancy Pelosi for treason, declare George Soros a terrorist and seize his assets, and remove Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from office.
All three of these have reached the required 100,000 signatures needed to get a response from the White House despite the fact that they have clearly been posted by cranks and have no realistic chance of success.
This is the context in which we have to put the petition posted last week which urged the US government to purchase Taiwan. It is worth noting that this petition has only attracted 575 signatories at the time of writing, far short of the 100,000-name threshold.
Whoever posted this petition presumably had the best of intentions. But the fact is that this petition is actually hugely counterproductive for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it feeds the CCP’s propaganda line that the USA is an evil empire and poses a threat to the future of China. Obviously, communist China views Taiwan as part of its territory.
The very suggestion that the USA might want to buy Taiwan adds fuel to this false narrative. Indeed, it is possible that an agent of China posted the petition for precisely this purpose.
Giving credibility to the CCP's anti-Taiwan propaganda is a bad thing for a number of reasons. Not only will help the regime dig in its heels more over the trade war but it will also help them in the spreading of pro-China propaganda and fake news in places like Taiwan.
Here, pro-KMT Facebook groups and even mainstream media outlets give credence to this kind of nonsense. They have already succeeded in influencing the views of a great many people, and this petition can only help them.
The petition also adds credibility to the notion that Taiwan is a purchasable territory like Alaska or Puerto Rico. It isn’t. It is a sovereign nation state, and the USA can no more buy Taiwan than it can Mexico, Canada, or Denmark's Greenland.
Suggesting otherwise only implies that Taiwan is a territory or region, which is, of course, exactly what communist China claims and would like the rest of the world to believe.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to the petition by stating that Taiwan is not for sale. Of course, this is right, but in a sense it is a mistake for Taiwan’s government to give such a petition the oxygen of publicity by making any public comment on it.
It is likely that we will never know who posted this petition and that it will soon all be forgotten about. But, if the petition was put up by someone with Taiwan’s best interests at heart, they perhaps need to think about the implications of their actions a little more next time.
If they really want to help Taiwan, it would be far better pushing for Taiwan to be talked about and considered as the nation state that it is rather than giving any credence to China’s false sovereignty claims by insinuating a foreign country could possibly purchase it.