The more one bows and panders to China, the less respect China will have for them, and the more likely it is that they will be cut down to size at some point. Those people in Taiwan who do their utmost to curry favor with China should not make the mistake of thinking that they have been somehow elevated to a level where China thinks of them as being one of its own. When China decides it wants to make an example of somebody, these are the people that will be first in line for a dressing-down.
In a recent interview, Ma derided the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) initiative in sending people to China to visit and take part in meetings. Ma said that he was glad the DPP was willing to send people to China, but that the people it sent were too low-ranking. He said that sometimes the DPP was too timid and did too little. The implication is that Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government is brave because it sends high-ranking people to China. Yet those “high-ranking” sellouts do not actually have much to boast about.
For example, Ma appointed former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing and say to his face that China and Taiwan both belonged to one country. However, when Wu’s formula got bad reception from the public in Taiwan, he was told to swallow his words. Who was the timid one on that occasion?
When Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, came to visit Taiwan, the government mobilized police to maintain order, and members of the public where prohibited from carrying Republic of China flags.
In addition, Ma did not object when Chen addressed him using the formal “you” instead of “ Mister President.” Ma was too timid on that occasion as well — it looks as though the only thing Ma is brave about is insisting that Taiwan belongs to China.
China’s political culture has always been one of bullying the meek and fearing the fierce. The kinder one is to China, the more likely that person will be bullied by it. On the other hand, the less courteous one is to China, the more likely that person is to win its respect. Sycophants who are always afraid of offending China’s leaders will definitely earn their disdain.
When people like Ma and representatives of the Mainland Affairs Council and the Straits Exchange Foundation do everything they can to ingratiate themselves with Chinese officials of every rank, putting themselves at the service of China’s ambition to annex Taiwan, they may imagine that they are China’s friends, but in China’s eyes they are useless and weak.
Do they really expect China to respect them if they would rather be second-grade Chinese than first-grade Taiwanese? China’s history books are full of stories about officials who shifted their loyalties from one dynasty to the next, and such people are regarded as nothing but turncoats. Perhaps this is the kind of historical legacy that Ma wants.
Translated by Julian Clegg