Taiwan’s second transfer of power in the democratic era represents a deepening of democracy, but the implications will be severe if the new government cannot properly handle cross-strait relations.
If the government instead relies on China economically and curries favor with it in political terms, then this would allow the dictatorial Chinese system to eat away at and finally swallow the Taiwanese polity.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reaffirmed his stance of “no unification, no independence and no war” in his inaugural speech on May 20, calling upon the two sides to pursue reconciliation and peace in cross-strait and international contexts.
The most important part of this three-part slogan is “no unification.”
Refusing unification with China is the mainstream position of Taiwanese people, and Ma was elected partly thanks to his “no unification” stance. But let’s not forget that unification has always been Beijing’s goal. Taiwan’s security can hardly be safeguarded if China does not endorse Ma’s policy.
Ma has vowed to sign a peace agreement with China if it promises not to use force, though whether it can really be trusted not to do so is another matter entirely. Meanwhile, Beijing has made no commitment to unification without force.
China’s United Front work aims to assimilate targets into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) viewpoint and ideals, and Taiwan is its most important target. Taiwanese politicians and the general public should at least be aware of and prepared for this to protect their sovereignty and safety when dealing with China.
As for the CCP’s exercise of United Front tactics, there is a brief exposition of such reasoning in an essay written by Mao Zedong (毛澤東) in 1940 entitled “On Policy” in the second volume of the Selected Works of Mao Zedong.
Mao wrote: “Our policy is to make use of contradictions, win over the many, oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one.”
Taiwan should therefore minimize its “contradictions” so that China cannot take advantage of them. Unfortunately, not only is Taiwan rife with contradictions, it is also allowing China to take advantage of them thanks to the liberal characteristics of its democratic system and human weakness.
The most serious contradiction is the gulf between the pan-blue and pan-green camps. Each camp also has internal contradictions.
After the pan-green camp’s defeat in the January legislative elections, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) extended an olive branch. Since Ma was elected president, the CCP has also been capitalizing on contradictions between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the new executive.
Perhaps the CCP’s most successful tactic has been to take advantage of former KMT chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) proposal that the CCP and the KMT join hands to oppose Taiwanese independence. For their part, the communists will continue to manipulate the Lien family until its usefulness is worn out.
Beijing’s invitation to KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) to visit China is its latest tactic, and has the following effects. It tells Taiwanese that the KMT and the CCP are “equal” but that the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan are not.
It elevates the status of the KMT as a party in the Chinese party-state mindset to demonstrate to Taiwan how Beijing can curtail Ma.