Mon, Feb 27, 2012 - Page 8 News List

DPP must get serious about China

By Liu Shih-chung 劉世忠

It is not news that China’s development is shrouded in uncertainty. Per capita GDP is a mere US$4,000, less than one-tenth of the US’, intellectual property rights violations make it obvious that innovation is lagging behind, the size of the wealth gap is the biggest among all developing countries, environmental protection and water pollution are so serious that people’s lives are threatened, there is corruption in state-run enterprises, and the transformation of the export-oriented and foreign investment-dependent economy is in crisis.

These are all potential catalysts of social unrest and a clarion call for opposition. We can only wait and see how long the leadership can maintain current strict controls on the Internet and news reporting. The recent attempted escape of Wang Lijun (王立軍) highlights the power struggle that is going on in connection with Xi’s succession to the party leadership.

Even the US thinks China’s development is full of unpredictable variables and therefore carefully calculates its exchanges with Beijing to ensure that China’s rise does not have a negative impact on the global political and economic order. One wonders if Taiwan, so closely connected to China, or the DPP, which is still hesitating over how to interact with China, can avoid making thorough and broad preparation.

However, during the recent presidential campaign, the DPP leadership, including Tsai, avoided discussing it’s strategic approach to China’s future and US-China relations. It was not that they do not understand the importance of these issues, they just did not want to come clean on their views out of concern for the campaign.

The fact is that the complexities of China’s domestic and external developments is precisely what the DPP leadership should study, and in detail. They should then make their views public, in a balanced way.

That is the only way to avoid a narrow discussion about whether the party should accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” the view that there is “one China” with each side having their own interpretation of what that China is, or that there is a “constitutional one China.”

Liu Shih-chung is a senior research fellow at the Taipei-based Taiwan Brain Trust.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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