`One China' myth is the problem
By the Liberty Times editorial
On Wednesday China's Taiwan Affairs Office formally responded to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) National Day speech last Sunday. The office spokesperson Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) strongly criticized Chen's speech, saying that Chen "stubbornly insists on the separatist stance of one country on each side across the Taiwan Strait," and that Chen was "faking moderation, while practicing Taiwan independence."
\nZhang also accused Taiwan's constitutional and political restructuring as "demonstrating the advance of Taiwan independence." With respect to Chen's proposal for direct chartered passenger and cargo flights across the Taiwan Strait, and invitation for visits to Taiwan by Chinese delegates to negotiate about making cross-strait direct chartered flights for the Lunar New Year holiday bilateral, two-way and without any transit stop, Zhang reiterated China's stance that flights between the two sides are "domestic affairs, which must take the form of bilateral direct flights, and be made in furtherance of mutual interests."
\nAccording to Zhang, it isn't enough for Taiwan to call for direct flights without any transit stop.
\nTaiwan must accept that such flights are domestic air links, said Zhang, so as to make direct charter flights possible. Zhang went on to declare that only when Taiwan accepts the "one China" principle based on the so-called "1992 consensus" can the two sides of the Taiwan Strait possibly resume dialogues and negotiation.
\nChen made what he referred to as a goodwill gesture during his National Day speech, indicating a willingness to resume cross-strait negotiation on the basis of the 1992 cross-strait talks in Hong Kong, to push for procedural simplification of passenger and cargo charter flights across the Taiwan Strait, and to accept Lunar New Year charter flights that are two-way, bilateral and without any transit stop.
\nChen also advocated that the two sides of the Strait should take action toward arms control, and that a mechanism for mutual trust in the military field be established through negotiation.
\nHe even indicated that so long as the 23 million people agree, he did not rule out the possibility of establishing any particular form of political relationship with the other side.
\nFrankly speaking, the goodwill extended by Chen was beyond what was acceptable to the majority of people in Taiwan.
\nIn particular, the part about resuming cross-strait talks on the basis of the 1992 talk in Hong Kong runs the risk of Taiwan falling into the "one China" trap of the other side, which is something that the people cannot possibly agree to.
\nHowever, it cannot be denied that the goodwill shown by Chen in his talk reached the limit of the goodwill that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) can ever possibly extend.
\nHowever, such compromises were not appreciated by the other side.
\nThe DPP government wanted to patch things up with China, but Beijing wasn't interested.
\nWhile the DPP brought this humiliation onto itself, it also gave Zhang the opportunity to again trample the pride of the 23 million people of Taiwan.
\nChina pushed aside the olive branch extended by Chen, declaring to the people of Taiwan in the snobbish manner of a ruling monarch that the sanctity of its "one China" principle can never be compromised.
\nBy doing this, China exposed its mentality as a hegemon and made the world see for itself that Chinese ambition to take over Taiwan is what could bring a destructive catastrophe to mankind.
\nRegardless of how it is sugar-coated, and regardless of the manner of exchanges between the two sides, Chinese policy toward Taiwan ultimately seeks to engulf the country.
\nHowever, China cannot directly say that it wishes to engulf Taiwan without exhibiting its naked ambition. China needs to package its ambition with some sort of theory.
\nTherefore, the "one China" principle was made a synonym for "engulfing Taiwan." Under the said principle, a myth complete with ideology, nationalism, and historical justification was born to defraud and deceive the international community.
\nSince China's ultimate goal is engulfing Taiwan and the "one China" principle is a lie created by the pro-unification con artists, abandoning the "one China" principle will obviously bring about the collapse of the unification myth.
\nUnder the circumstances, how can China possibly resume cross-strait negotiations without the "one China" principle as a basis? While China agrees that the two sides can have their respective interpretation what "one China," is, accepting "one China" is nevertheless still a must.
\nWhile Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen (錢其琛) may have seemingly implied in his phrasing that China and Taiwan were equals, his ultimate purpose was in highlighting that the two both belong to "one China."
\nMoreover, while Beijing's previous remarks regarding cross-strait links seemed to leave some room for ambiguity in terms of the nature of the links, at the end it was still characterized as "domestic links."
\nActually, the "one China" principle is not only a weapon used by China against Taiwan. It is also a curse that bewitches the minds of those in Taiwan who cannot identify with Taiwan.
\nDuring the era of authoritarian rule in Taiwan, the ruler of Taiwan also used the "one China" myth as the ideological justification of its rule.
\nThe ruler of the time, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) tightly embraced the "Republic of China" (ROC) banner and tried to brainwash the people of Taiwan.
\nIn terms of orthodoxy of teaching, the government claimed to follow Chinese kings including Yao, Shun, Yu, Tang, Wen, Wu and Chou. Politically, it portrays itself as the heir to the Wuchang revolution through which the Qing Dynasty was over thrown.
\nHistorically and culturally, it considered itself orthodox Chinese.
\nTherefore, it was able to establish an iron-fisted authoritarian regime under the slogans of "retaking the Mainland" to "save our compatriots."
\nIronically, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) used the "one China" myth as the basis of its authoritarian rule, it lost support at home and abroad precisely for the same reason, eventually causing the regime to lose power and disintegrate.
\nThe authoritarian ruler tightly embraced the "one China" myth, while implementing totalitarianism at home under which human rights and freedoms were oppressed, based on the justification that the country was in a state of emergency and in a period of "communist rebellion" in advance of retaking the "Mainland." As a result, Taiwan was unable to become democratized. Externally, it adopted the inflexible policy of no coexistence with the "communist bandits."
\nOnce any country allied to Taiwan recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan immediately severed formal diplomatic relations with that ally.
\nOnce the PRC joined any international organization, Taiwan automatically withdrew from it, causing the country to lose all its international space.
\nThe twenty-three million people of Taiwan were left without any room to speak in the international community.
\nOf the harm caused by the "one China" myth, Taiwan's withdrawal from the UN was the greatest and the most painful.
\nAt the time, the PRC was becoming increasingly strong, closing in on Taiwan in an attempt to finish it off. But in the debates over the Chinese seat in the UN, most countries were still willing to accept a way for Taiwan to remain a member of the organization.
\nIn particular, when countries such as the US, Japan, and the UK realized that they could no longer keep the PRC out of the UN, they changed their strategy and proposed "dual representation" by the two sides of the Strait.
\nThat was to mean that while Taiwan would have to give up its seat in the Security Council, it would still be able to maintain its membership.
\nThat was a most pragmatic solution. If Taiwan had accepted the proposal, it would have been able to leave behind the shadow of the civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party and enjoy a new beginning. That would have represented the international community's recognition of Taiwan.
\nUnfortunately, although such "dual representation" was not repelled by the international community, Chiang refused to accept the proposal on the grounds of "no co-existence with the enemy" -- despite efforts by countries such as the US and Japan to persuade Taiwan to accept the proposal. This is the root of the political isolation faced by the nation today.
\nAt the time, KMT officials with foresight, such as Yeh Kung-chao (葉公超), suggested that Chiang accept the proposal for co-existence of China and Taiwan in the UN, so that Taiwan could become a sovereign country independent from China.
\nPlus, at that time China's military and economic strength was insufficient to block this proposal. It was the ideal opportunity for Taiwan to enter the UN as a sovereign nation.
\nToday, Taiwan has become an outcast from the international community. The use of the "ROC" name by Taiwan also gives China a reason to argue that the cross-strait standoff is a continuation of the Chinese civil war and that cross-strait conflict is merely a domestic issue.
\nThese are all repercussions of the KMT's refusal to face the trend of democratization.
\nChina's "one China" principle and the "one China" myth of Taiwan's former totalitarian ruler is the root of the sorrow of the Taiwan people. Today, China has made it clear that there will be no resumption of cross-strait talks without the "one China" principle, and the said principle is a synonym with "engulfing Taiwan."
\nTherefore, the pan-blue politicians of Taiwan should cut off their "one China" umbilical cord, identify with Taiwan and accept democracy. Otherwise, Taiwan will be led into the tragedy of war.
\nThe popularly elected head of state has no need to waste his efforts dealing with China.
\nThe only way forward is to insist on Taiwan's sovereignty and seek a a way out for the people of Taiwan.
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