I have been in Taiwan for a month with my wife and son, we will return home at the end of August. For work I have been visiting Taiwan regularly for about 15 years, I have people here whom I consider family and I feel at home in Taipei. For an East Asian history lover like me, Taiwan is one of the most fascinating places on the planet, having been the meeting/clash point of regional and world powers; from the Dutch East India Company, through the Qing Empire to the Japanese Empire. To describe in a few words the effervescence and plurality of Taiwanese society and its brilliant democracy today is impossible, but one thing must be said clearly: the almost 24 million Taiwanese are people with will.

When talking about Taiwan, one tends to focus on China’s extravagant claims or US strategy, one forgets the subject, i.e. the people who live in this island nation. One discusses not taking into account that the will of the Taiwanese is clear: whether they are supporters of the ruling party or the opposition parties, the Taiwanese want to continue living in their liberal democracy. To deny agency to nearly 24 million people (considering them puppets of the Americans or without will, non-people) is as insulting and frankly racist as can be. Please use the technology, talk to Taiwanese people on social media (as it is challenging to come here in person): you will find that they are people with will and want, like everyone else, to live in peace. When I read or hear opinions that, without any knowledge of the history and the present of the Taiwanese society, pass over the lives of nearly 24 million people as if they were a nuisance, a burden, well, I think people should talk to the Taiwanese more.

Perhaps the people who write in newspapers or speak on TV should simply be more honest, they should say clearly that the freedom, the lifestyle and the very lives of almost 24 million people can be sacrificed. We don’t give a damn about the will and lives of almost 24 million people, we want business as usual with China, let’s stop with these absurd Taiwanese claims. Have courage, say it clearly!