In early February, the Philippines deported 24 suspects in a fraud case — including 14 Taiwanese — to China, in accordance with the extradition treaty between the two countries. This highlights the seriousness of the damage caused to Taiwan’s sovereignty by the “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” principle. It also shows how China is using its “Anti-Secession” Law in the international community. Using both legal and political means, Beijing intends to increase the pressure on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government to engage in cross-strait political negotiations.
The premise of “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” is that Taiwan is recognized as part of China. Today, most of the world accepts that the “one China” is the People’s Republic of China, and not the Republic of China.
If Taiwan accepts the “one China” principle, it will be very easy for Beijing to request that other countries recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Since Sino-Philippine relations have declined following the Hong Kong tourist bus hostage crisis in Minila last year, it is understandable that the Philippines would yield to China’s view to held mend relations.
Facing questions from Taipei, the Philippines simply replied that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should decide between themselves who represents China, making it difficult for Taiwan to persist. This example clearly highlights the severe erosion of Taiwan’s sovereignty as a result of the approach that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation.”
China is using this case to declare to the world that, although it does not rule Taiwan directly, it exercises sovereignty over it and therefore has jurisdiction over Taiwanese. This is tantamount to implementing the “Anti-Secession” Law. Once there is a precedent, Chinese judicial authorities can use it to request that other countries deport Taiwanese to China. This would seriously affect the safety of Taiwanese abroad.
The subtlety of the case lies in the fact that this is a judicial case involving sovereignty. In the sixth meeting in December between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), the two sides failed to sign an agreement on investment protection because of divergent views on international arbitration.
American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt also recently revealed that Beijing had attempted to pressure Washington to issue a “fourth communique” during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) state visit to the US.
These cases clearly show that Beijing has internationalized the “one China” principle using the “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” approach. By linking non-political criminal and economic issues to political issues, Beijing is forcing Ma’s administration to deal with the issue of political talks, not to mention that it is pressuring the international community to cut ties with Taiwan. Those who claim that China is not pressuring Taiwan to enter into political talks are deceiving themselves.
If Taiwan, apart from its protests against the Philippine government, remains silent in the face of China’s unilateral implementation of the “Anti-Secession” Law, it will be seen as a tacit agreement. Also, countries that do not have strong relations with Taiwan may follow the Philippines’ example.