If I ever have to be shot, I hope it goes down like this. The idea that nobody in the crowd seemed to notice the shots or the President's bleeding seems utterly incomprehensible. Of course, here in America, we have had three successful assassinations, and a number of attempts (although none in recent years).

He and other police officials said the bullets were of a type fired by a handgun and that the gun or guns involved appeared to be of low quality, possibly homemade. But they emphasized that any conclusions were premature.

This evidence seems to support the "insane maniac" theory, rather than "Chinese assassins getting the nationalist (as in promoting independence, as opposed to the Nationalist Party) candidate out of the way before the elections. As the same time, the idea that the police believe that multiple gunmans and guns were involved seem to preclude the possibility of a loner trying to attract the attention of Jodie Foster, and point to a more general conspiracy.

My position on China and Taiwan is quite simple. If the people of Taiwan decide that they want independence, China would not be justified in using force to stop them. Furthermore, China's belligerence toward Taiwan is just another part of the PRC government's opposition to basic liberal democratic principles, despite some claims to the contrary:

Another consideration is that China?s missiles are a non-issue. Russia today has thousands of nuclear warheads targeted at America. Yet we hold no referendums in response, probably due to a realistic understanding of the situation coupled with the futility of such an action. China simply will not withdraw its missiles. They are part of its military leverage against Taiwan?s independence, an independence that they refuse to consider.

The analogy of Russia is almost completely invalid. During the entire extent of the Cold War, the single greatest threat to the Soviet Union was the United States. Thus, the selection of American targets served as a necessary deterrent to a possible American invasion.

But does China think that the 190,000 soldiers of the army of the Republic of China will be marching on Beijing anytime soon? Of course not! China's missiles are a simple attempt to intimidate the Taiwanese people, much as Al Qaeda's terrorist attack against Spain was to punish them for allying with the United States.

Regardless of whatever either side claims on paper, the fact remains that in reality, Taiwan already has defacto independence from the mainland (just as the mainland has independence from Taiwan). The sole way that "reunification" will come about, at least in the forseeable future, would be through an Chinese invasion (with their new, modernized army) or by a thaw in their political relations. However, I think that more reforms will have to take place in China before the latter becomes likely.