In the Free Beacon, a conservation online publication (which I don’t think is considered a very credible source of news, but still wanted to pass this along FYI), Bill Gertz reports:
HONOLULU—China has suggested arming Hawaii’s independence activists in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and recently threatened to challenge American sovereignty by making legal claims to the Pacific islands as its territory.
Chinese threats to back several groups of Hawaiian independence activists who want to restore the islands’ constitutional monarchy, ousted in a U.S.-backed coup over a century ago, has raised concerns that military facilities on the strategic central Pacific archipelago are threatened at a time when the Obama administration is engaged in a major shift toward Asia as part of its military and diplomatic rebalance.
Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon consultant and author of the recent book 100 Year Marathon, said Chinese military hawks, known as “ying pai,” told him they are ready to provide arms to Hawaiian independence activists in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
“Beijing’s extraordinary sensitivity to American arms sales to Taiwan—even one bullet or a spare tire for a jeep—often provokes angry words,” said Pillsbury who has held talks with 35 Chinese generals in recent years.
“A favorite comparison the ying pai has made to me is ‘How would the Pentagon like it if we provide arms to our friends in Hawaiian independence movement?’” he said.
The article also mentions a previous incident from 2012:
Another indicator of Chinese interest in fomenting unrest in Hawaii surfaced in 2012, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed Beijing had threatened to assert legal, territorial claims over Hawaii.
Clinton said U.S. ownership of Hawaii came up during talks with the Chinese after she pushed back against Beijing’s destabilizing territorial activities in the South China Sea.
“At one point in one of my long discussions about this, one of my Chinese interlocutors said, ‘Well, we could claim Hawaii,’” she said. “I said, ‘Well, go ahead, and we’ll go to arbitration and prove we own it. That’s what we want you to do.’”
As the article notes, the Hawaiian independence movement is non-violent. In my 20+ years in the movement, I have not met one person who advocated any kind of violence or armed resistance. This perspective goes all the way back to the actions of Queen Liliu‘okalani who in 1893 yielded her authority under protest to the U.S. invaders in order “to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life.”
So the idea of the Chinese arming independence activists is ridiculous on its face and completely unrealistic. I can’t imagine anyone in the movement accepting arms from China, both because it goes against the non-violent philosophy, and because it would be incredibly stupid and dangerous and counterproductive. This is simply Chinese propaganda and shouldn’t be taken seriously as something that has any chance of ever actually coming to pass.
But the larger point here is simply that there are certainly elements within the Chinese government who are quite aware of the history of the U.S. claim to sovereignty in Hawaii, and the movement to end the occupation.
I also found it interesting that then-Secretary Clinton responded to the 2012 Chinese threats of claiming Hawai‘i by saying “we’ll go to arbitration and prove we own it. That’s what we want you to do.” Of course we know that the U.S. has never proved that we own Hawai‘i, and all evidence that I have seen supports the fact that we do not, and have never had a valid claim. And if it was truly arbitrated, that’s what would be proven by the facts of history and law.
Also, one correction. The article says, “Some U.S. archival material shows U.S. authorities acted on their own in the 1898 annexation, [Pillsbury] said, something Congress later investigated.” First off, he’s actually referring to the invasion of 1893. Of course it was Congress that passed the Newlands Resolution purporting to annex Hawai‘i, for military purposes in the Spanish-American War, after their failure to ratify the treaty of annexation due in large part to the Ku‘e Petition (which every Hawaiian today can find ancestors who signed). It was the invasion of 1893 which Congress later investigated and claimed was the result of the U.S. Minister acting without authority in conspiracy “with a small group of non-Hawaiian residents of the Kingdom of Hawaii.” But we now know, thanks to the research of Buzzy Agard, that the U.S. planned and executed the invasion and overthrow from the very top.