Four cross-strait agreements were signed at the meeting between Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) earlier this month. Last Monday, Chiang and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) finally gave the legislature a belated report on the pacts. This rash attempt to dodge public supervisionwas strongly criticized in the legislature.
The fact is that both the form and content of the Chiang-Chen meetings were conducted within the framework of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) communication platform. And they are pressing on: The next meeting within this framework will be held in Shanghai next month as the two parties prepare to establish a cross-strait economic framework. It is clear that they want to continue to manipulate public perception of the Chiang-Chen talks. If President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) continues to behave like a puppet, he will end up like the last Chinese emperor Puyi (溥儀), living in exile in a puppet state.
The attempt to solve the cross-strait issue through peace talks between the KMT and the CCP has been part of China’s united front strategy ever since then-chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress Ye Jianying (葉劍英) proposed his nine principles for peaceful unification with Taiwan in 1981. This wishful thinking is based on the idea that the Chinese civil war is not over and that Taiwan’s sovereignty and democratization must be undone.
This view has remained constant through Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) six points and Jiang Zemin’s (江澤民) eight points to the communiques issued by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Hu and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).
Faced with China’s attempts to ignore the fact that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign state, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) refused to have any contacts, negotiations or compromises with China, his so-called “three noes.” Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) insisted on talks between two equal states in his six points, which led to the birth of the SEF and ARATS.
However, after the KMT’s return to power, Ma resumed talks following a decade-long hiatus. But what is left of the old framework is only an empty shell, and the promise that second track party to party talks or private exchanges would not override official talks and replace the central government’s role has been proven to be just empty talk.
The first Chiang-Chen meeting in Beijing in June and their second meeting in Taipei this month were both orchestrated by the KMT-CCP communication platform. Before the four agreements signed this month have been reviewed by the legislature, the government has already decided to hold the Shanghai meeting, and it plans to invite more than 100 people from Taiwan’s financial, industrial and commercial sectors along with Chinese industrialists to provide policy guidance.
We can no longer talk about merely allowing private enterprise to pressure the government or letting the party lead the government — pressing on like this before the results of the first meeting have been dealt with is evidence that business is all-important and that what ever the party says goes, reducing Ma to a rubber stamp.
The issues Lien will discuss as the leader of the delegation to the Shanghai meeting — allowing financial institutions from each side to establish cross-strait entities, cross-strait cooperation in financial supervision and allowing Chinese investors to invest in Taiwan — are all issues that still haven’t been properly evaluated by Ma or his government.
On one hand, the KMT is trying to make the government do the impossible, while on the other hand, it is cheering on the CCP and thoroughly destroying the conditions for negotiations. How will the SEF and the ARATS be able to negotiate in the future? Even more serious, on what grounds do these two despotic parties neglect consulting with the public and ignoring the official channels between the two governments, instead making their own unilateral decision on issues that involve the interests and well being of the general public?
This situation is repeated time and again which raises the question of whether Ma only is capable of suppressing the public with the police force and letting the Cabinet override the legislature while he capitulates before the KMT-CCP communication platform. It is not very strange that someone has said that Ma is “truly” stupid when it comes to China and only “acts” stupid when it comes to Taiwan.
In June, the CCP Politburo held an extended meeting in Beidaihe, which included representatives from all agencies involved with Taiwan: the United Front Work Department, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the CCP Central Committee’s General Office and the Taiwan Affairs Office. The meeting concluded that economic, cultural and social exchanges with Taiwan should be expanded until 2012 to increase dependence, and that after Ma’s re-election in 2012, China will immediately propose political demands in order to resolve the Taiwan issue before 2016.
The meeting also specified three targets for intensified united front work: Those with political power, those with cultural knowledge and the wealthy. Looking at recent developments, one cannot help but wonder if several powerful and rich Taiwanese already are humming the Chinese tune.
In democracies, relations between states follow clear rules. If party exchanges become the fulcrum around which China’s control and manipulation of Taiwan turns, then what is the difference between the KMT and any other fifth column?
Ma claims that military and foreign affairs are the president’s responsibility, but if he continues to be unable to stop the KMT-CCP communication platform from growing more powerful, he may not necessarily become a “last emperor,” but will be more like a child emperor under Hu’s supervision. Even if he may be happy seeing himself that way, the Taiwanese public will follow their own will. And they do not intend to become slaves in a vanquished country.
TRANSLATED BY PERRY SVENSSON
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