Hawaiian Independence Movement Attracts Chinese

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. “I was incredulous because I had never heard of such a movement in Hawaii, but, after checking I met a few of them.”

….The Hawaii sovereignty movement is made up at least 10 groups that are seeking some form of independence from the United States and the re-establishment of the monarchy ousted in 1893, [by]the U.S. government and a company of U.S. Marines.

The movement is non-violent and its protests in recent years have been limited to temporary takeovers of government facilities.

Leon Siu, a Hawaiian-born musician who holds the title of foreign minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom, one of the groups seeking independence, says U.S. military facilities on the islands are contrary to the original monarchy’s neutrality.

“First of all we’re not native Hawaiians. We’re Hawaiian nationals and we see our country as a lawful, independent country, and we’re working to restore that,” Siu said in an interview. “The bottom line is we want our country back.”

….The independence movement was given new life in 1993 under the administration of President Bill Clinton who signed the Apology Resolution recognizing that the United States “apologizes to native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of

Hawaii on January 17, 1893, with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of native Hawaiians to self-determination.”

Not surprisingly, both the Hawaiian state government and the federal government dispute the independence activists’ claims. Both have tried to placate the movement by offering to recognize native Hawaiians as an American Indian tribe, with the same level of independence Indian tribes have had within the U.S. system of government.

Siu says the federal government has dismissed the independence claims as “water under the bridge” arguing that because of long U.S. government control that past claims of independence are no longer valid.

“Native Hawaiian people are quite insulted to be grouped as an American Indian tribe and so that has been totally rejected by our people,” he said.

Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Hawaiian Democratic Gov. David Ige, did not return emails seeking comment.

A Chinese Embassy press spokesman did not respond to emails seeking comment.

By Bill Gertz – Washington Free Beacon –