Tue, Jun 07, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Clearly there is more than ‘one China’ in the world

By James Wang 王景弘

The building of a nation’s status relies on common beliefs and efforts on the part of both the government and the public, as other countries are unlikely to take the initiative in recognizing a territory as a nation.

Measured against this truism, Taiwan has a government that is out of touch with public opinion. Taiwanese know that Taiwan is a nation and that it has nothing to do with China, but the government continues to deny Taiwan’s status as a nation.

Richard Bush, a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan, hit the nail on the head when he said the People’s Republic of China government governs China, but that there is also no way of denying the fact that the Republic of China (ROC) has continued to exist since 1912 and that if Beijing is willing to accept this, the concept of two Chinas — something the US proposed decades ago — could be applied to cross-strait relations.

Bush knows that most Taiwanese agree with this account of history and that is why he said the problem could be easily solved if only Beijing was willing to accept the idea. China immediately reiterated its “one China” stance and expressed opposition.

However, in a ridiculous turn of event, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government expressed its support for the so-called “1992 consensus” and the idea that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” of what that China is, two concepts that are essentially fictional in nature.

The government’s current stance is as rigid and contrary to public opinion as that of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石): In 1958, then-US secretary of state John Foster Dulles repeated on several occasions that the ROC government rejected the idea of two Chinas, but said that Taiwanese were inclined to accept the idea and that it was destined to become reality.

In 1961, Chiang wrote a letter to then-US president John F. Kennedy expressing his opposition to any arrangements involving two Chinas. George Yeh (葉公超), then the ROC’s ambassador to the US, told then-US secretary of state Dean Rusk that any policy involving two Chinas would be strongly opposed both domestically in the ROC and by overseas Chinese.

If anyone back then was opposed to the idea of two Chinas, it would have been the minority of people who followed Chiang into exile on Taiwan and shared his dream of regaining control of the Chinese mainland. Taiwanese were never interested in that or in fighting to the death with the “communist bandits.” After having had two Taiwan-born presidents, reality shows that the government and most Taiwanese support the idea of Taiwan and China maintaining the current peaceful coexistence.

Since Ma restored the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to power, he has had the audacity to ignore the fact that the vast majority of the public view Taiwan as a sovereign and independent state and want to permanently maintain this status. Instead, he has essentially returned to the approach of the Chiang dictatorship, treating Taiwan as a forcefully occupied place to be pushed back into the “one China” framework.

Chiang occupied China’s seat at the UN and opposed the idea of two Chinas to hold on to what he saw as China’s orthodox place in the world. Ma is out of touch with public opinion and denies Taiwan’s status as a nation by opposing the idea that there are two Chinas, voters will give up on him. That’s a certainty.

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