Chinese and Taiwanese want peace, not war
Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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Chinese and Taiwanese want peace, not war
I am deeply disappointed by your headline “Australia ‘must prepare’ for threat of China war” (The Age, 7/3), and the opinion of the five experts. I am a Singaporean Chinese by birth, an Australian citizen, and my wife’s parents evacuated from China to Taiwan in 1948 where she was born. I fully endorse the view of those letters, published in The Age this week, expressed by mainly non-Chinese Australians, that diplomacy and peace, not weapons or war, is the correct way to resolve the Taiwan-China dilemma.
I am sure that if the common folk of both China and Taiwan were asked how Taiwan should be reunited with China, the majority would vote for diplomacy, especially those living in Taiwan. It’s far better to live with some restriction of personal freedom and rights than to die in a worthless war. (I have lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, China and Australia, and have studied, written and lectured on Chinese and western culture and civilisation in all these countries.)
Yean Lim, Toorak
Eighty years on, the terrible memories remain
I lived through World War II in England as a child. I remember being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night by my parents, swaddled in blankets for the dash across the road to the bomb shelter, sitting terrified while we waited for the bomb to drop and then hearing the “all clear” siren. No one should ever want to repeat those years of terror. I am now 84 years old and still remember vividly those times. Negotiation and level heads are now needed. Please don’t put us through another war.
Lesley Rule, Brighton East
What is the real basis of US foreign policy?
Maybe The Age could ask its panel of experts: Why is the US not prepared to risk nuclear war with Russia by direct military participation in defence of Ukraine, yet is prepared to risk nuclear war with China by using direct military force in defence of Taiwan’s sovereignty? How does Taiwan have a stronger claim to sovereignty than Ukraine, when for decades the US adopted the one-China policy and strategic ambiguity on the issue of military defence of Taiwan?
Or is it not worth risking nuclear war with Russia because it is, at best, a second-level great power whereas China, with its larger economy, is now a great power and a peer rival to the US? In which case, the real basis of US foreign policy is all about what it thinks it needs to do to maintain American hegemony over China.
Peter Holding, Seddon
Facing up to the truth about the risk of a war
The touching naivety and dangerous complacency regarding China’s belligerence is mind boggling to behold. Dear readers, we are not interested in war, but war is interested in us. So be prepared.
Jim Lewis, Doncaster
Ask the people if they want to fight another country
No government has a mandate to take a country to war unless it campaigned for that before an election. Nor does our government have a mandate to make Australia the equivalent of a buffer state for another country, let alone one as war-mongering, gun-toting and politically unstable as the US. We cannot defend ourselves or Taiwan against China. A true democracy would ask the people and the answer would be, “no”.
Penelope Buckley, Kew East
We will gain nothing if China invades Taiwan
The Age has mounted a Red Alert campaign. The main message is that Australia is complacent and unprepared to meet a threat from China. Several assumptions underlie this conclusion: that China will invade Taiwan, that the US will respond, and that Australia will also respond. Each of these assumptions should be carefully examined.
Even if Australia prepares by obtaining nuclear-powered submarines, will they make a difference? Underlying the assumptions is the stated aim of the US to contain China. The response of China has been to become stronger. Australia would gain nothing if China invaded Taiwan.
Denis Robertson, Windsor
Now for other experts
It is reasonable to understand the worst case scenario and gain an understanding on what Australia might do to thwart the threat if it is real. However, why would Australia sleepwalk into joining the US by defending Taiwan if there were the likelihood of a war between major nuclear powers in our region which would have cataclysmic consequences?
Historically Taiwan is part of China and its development is built on American capital. At its closest point, it lies 160kilometres from mainland China – closer than Tasmania to the Australian mainland. Taiwan maintains a formidable arsenal of modern weaponry. Would Australia be comfortable with a near neighbour arming an island that close to our northern borders?
I implore The Age to give some non-military experts the equivalent space to offer their views on how best to avoid any confrontation with China.
Richard Caven, Melbourne
Let’s aim for peace first
An expert panel says war with China is no longer a conjecture but a reality. I am a 90-year-old who has lived through innumerable wars, and all were avoidable. All were promoted by experts, all developed through propaganda, all were unnecessary, all slaughtered huge numbers of people and all failed to achieve any goal. I am no expert in war but I am an expert on how to avoid it. I am willing to share my knowledge with these experts.
Marion Harper, Reservoir
Not in our best interest
The alarming Red Alert series states that “India, Singapore and Thailand would sit out the conflict (over Taiwan) for fear of antagonising China”. Is this really true, or rather because they do not see entering any such conflict as being in their national interest? The question must therefore repeatedly be asked: is any involvement in Taiwan in Australia’s national interest?
And what about other countries, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, for example? Are they wrong, or simply smart, not to have a clearly stated or binding position on this matter? But good old Australia must speak its mind, foolishly, damagingly, needlessly. Fools rush in …
Darryl Cloonan, Ballarat
OK, we’ll give in, China
The British philosopher A.C. Grayling, who lived and worked in China for some years, left the lecture he gave at the Wheeler Centre just a few years ago with the advice that we should all learn to say “I surrender” in Mandarin.
Jocelyn Manuell, Red Hill
Dangerous drums of war
The Age would do better to assemble a group of experts from Australia and other regional countries to suggest ways of promoting peace and co-operation in Asia, including on Taiwan. These matters have been sadly neglected lately. Such an initiative would have greater prospect for public service in the Asia-Pacific than sounding the drums for war.
Charles Mott, Prahran
But it won’t be our fight
I am distressed to find myself starting to think like Neville Chamberlain: how horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.
Arthur Roberts, Elwood
So we are spending $100 billion on submarines to defend our country and people. Our biggest threats are climate change, environmental destruction and social inequality – we are doing a great job of destroying Australia ourselves.
Imagine if these funds were spent on attempting to fix these problems so we and our children, and further generations, have a future to look forward to, instead of turning our planet into a war zone. Learning to respect each other and our environment, and living within the limits of our planet’s resources, are fundamental elements of a sustainable future.
Jennie Epstein, Little River
The netball-footy link
Re “Footy doing it tough in bush and “burbs‴ (The Age, 9/3). In most rural areas, there are combined football-netball clubs and they share fundraising, facilities etc. If the football team is weak, it has a flow-on effect to the netball team. Some strong netball groups in country towns have been forced to move to lower-level leagues due to the lack of players in the footy section. We need to look at the impact this issue has on both genders and different sports, not just football.
Donna Lancaster, Inverloch
Australia’s great disgrace
I am not sure what argument Ross Gittins – “There’s a fate worse than debt” (Comment, 8/3) – seeks to make. I am the paradigm Baby Boomer, born in late 1945.
I attended Melbourne University from 1964 to 1968. If you were good enough to go to university then, you did so for nothing on a Commonwealth scholarship. In 1971, we bought our first home – a three-room terrace house in Toorak (yes, Toorak) – for $11,500. We paid it off in four years.
One law student I mentor has a student debt north of $100,000. I am ashamed that my nation has denied my advantages to my children and now their children – by laws made by people who had the benefit of them. It is a cruel inversion of the principle that those going before look after those coming later. It’s a disgrace in a young, affluent nation.
Geoffrey Gibson, Yarraville
Schemes must be fixed
Ross Gittins does well to point out that student loan schemes HECS and HELP take account of debtors’ capacity to pay. But, while saying that women’s taking longer to repay their debt “adds to its fairness”, he does not tell us if, when part-time workers do so, their debt is affected by inflation-driven rises in the indexation rate.
Nor does he consider whether, in a world where men usually earn more, a HECS debt that is of the same size for the same tertiary qualification may well bear more heavily on women.
I too hope “Labor can fix” any HECS and HELP inequities. I also hope it will abolish the Coalition’s unfair scheme that subsidises so-called “job-ready” courses by increasing outrageously the fees for an arts degree.
Anthea Hyslop, Eltham
Why executives need …
Re “Complaints about Qantas soar by 70 per cent” (The Age, 9/3). Perhaps if bonuses to executives were aligned to the number of complaints received, and not profits, it would ensure service levels drastically improved.
Mark Hulls, Sandringham
… to earn a little less
It is no use importuning, through the media, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe. He has his eye on the inflation “dragon” and will not (cannot?) blink. There seems no real reason, however, why the billion-dollar profits of the mortgage-lender banks couldn’t take a slight dip by not passing on every rise to their beleaguered customers. Apart from maintaining said hefty profits. And executives’ salaries, of course.
David Baxter, Mornington
Better informing parents
I thoroughly agree with Allison that information on postpartum haemorrhages should be included in antenatal classes (The Age, 9/3). I experienced a postpartum haemorrhage in the ’90s and felt, and still feel, robbed of the precious first few weeks with my baby. As Dr Nisha Khot states, it is “one of the scariest things to have to deal with”.
Miriam Pohlenz, Highton
Calling out racism
Racism is insidious, harmful and malevolent, and when it infects public debate it can have destructive consequences. Maher Mughrabi (Comment, 3/3) discusses how racism is used by advocates of a cause when they believe they are engaged in a “no holds barred” battle.
Jewish Australians and others identified as racist certain social media posts from some invitees to Adelaide Writers’ Week. No objection was voiced to their politics in general or to other Palestinian or politically anti-Israel speakers who were invited. We also questioned why those who posted them were given a platform at an event which promoted its “truth-telling” element.
The racist language of the invitees furthered the classic anti-Jewish tropes which have plagued the world for millennia. It is untrue and offensive to portray our concern as some sort of disingenuous attempt to stop legitimate political debate. The proliferation of antisemitic imagery and tropes should concern all concerned with building respect and tolerance.
Racism and antisemitism do nothing to help Palestinians, but poison discourse concerning them and the atmosphere of debate in societies which don’t call them out.
Jeremy Jones, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
Equality and respect
I look forward to the time when we don’t celebrate International Women’s Day. I look forward to the time when we are all treated equally and have no need for special days to celebrate gender equality, sexual equality or any other type of equality. To nominate a “special day” is to say women are different and need something to make us feel special. Let’s put all our energy into respecting each other.
Wendy Daniels, Hawthorn
Protecting native species
How much longer can we tolerate VicForests – “VicForests to pay $38 for failing to supply wood” (The Age, 9/3). The comment by its chief executive, Monique Dawson, that endangered greater gliders and vulnerable yellow-bellied gliders are “very prevalent in most of the areas we operate in” begs the questions: who maps out these logging coupes and why is VicForests in them at all?
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Between two devils
The Migrant Amendment Bill 2023 failed to pass and Australia continues its cruel, inhumane and expensive offshore detention of 150 people. The UNHCR has rightly criticised us for our treatment of refugees offshore. What is worse: no hope under the Coalition or shattered hope under Labor
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
China will be at war with Australia, say the experts. What will China do in the second week?
Barry Davies, Eltham
Your correspondent says “modern China has no record of aggression against other countries” (8/3). What about Tibet?
Laurens Meyer, Richmond
Those who advocate diplomacy and negotiation with China seem to be unaware of the immovable elephant in the room: Xi Jinping.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne
Surely, Bob Menzies would be grinning in his grave at this series.
Ross Ogilvie, Woodend
The only thing missing from your Red Alert series is “sponsored by the global weapons industry”.
Geoff Collis, Eltham
The peace solution. We should buy six subs from China. By the time the order is filled, we’ll have had many more years of peace.
Winston Anderson, Mornington
Could we please have a firm date for Armageddon so I can find a secure, underground garage for my classic car collection?
Monty Arnhold, Port Melbourne
Okay, I’ve been softened up – war with China it is.
Bill Pell, Emerald
An inadequate train service to Doncaster (9/3), indeed. Spare us the mega North East Link. Bring on the promised Doncaster rail.
Cynthia Pilli, Doncaster East
I like cupcakes, but I much prefer fruitcake complete with icing and the cherry on top.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod
Carolyn Webb, congratulations for helping James Leslie Robinson’s family get his World War I diary back (9/3). The power of the press.
Michael Helman, St Kilda East
VicForests is a liability on the environment and public. It should be clear-felled.
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne
At least $100 billion for the subs. Is there any chance of the same for low-cost housing?
Kenneth Ralph, Belmont
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