Sat, Nov 09, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Strong chain to contain dictatorship

By Chen Pokong 陳破空

To gain control over cross-strait relations, Taiwan must be aware of the advantages it holds over China. Currently, it does not not have economic or military advantages; instead, it has the advantages of universal values and international alliances. These are the only means by which the nation can establish mutual trust with China, and self-confidence is necessary to do this.

After Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) assumed office, Chinese politics took a turn to the left, toward the era of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東). However, in Taiwan, democracy has moved forward in leaps and bounds.

Consider the social campaigns, like the anti-nuclear movement, that have caught on. They are all evidence that democracy is rising to a new level. While the struggle between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) may seem to have caused chaos, it has helped to enhance the rule of law.

Despite China’s economic boom, the unprecedented explosion in its national strength and its expansion of military power, China is still a backward country culturally and in terms of the character of its people it is even more of a failure.

Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties have stressed the importance of handling cross-strait relations pragmatically. Since the issue of independence cannot be immediately solved, it would be better to place it aside.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has declared that anything can be negotiated as long as it is done under the premise of the “one China” principle, as a countermeasure, Taiwan should propose that anything can be negotiated as long as it is done under the premise of universal values.

Such an approach would put the ball back in Beijing’s court. If the two nations enter equal negotiations based on the universal principles of democracy, freedom and human rights it would be beneficial to Taiwanese, as well as to Chinese. It would also benefit fundamental safety, help the healthy development of China and be a valuable contribution to world peace.

Some people are worried that talk about democratization will anger China, but this is not certain. The CCP is not cast out of iron and the minority faction that promotes reform within it is awaiting external help. If the CCP does get angry, then even in the eyes of Chinese, it would lose its most basic moral standing.

Others are worried that in a democratized China, nationalistic sentiment would become even stronger. This argument does not stand up to scrutiny. Look at Hong Kong — it was still possible to chant patriotic slogans at the Tiananmen Square massacre commemoration a few years ago. However, this year it was no longer possible because it was opposed by most Hong Kongers who believe in universal values. In Hong Kong, which is much freer than China, there is no market for nationalism.

Some politicians have been visiting China, where they have declared their intentions to restore “greater China” to its former glory. This is an outdated form of nationalism.

Over the past few years, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the CCP have been overly close and this has increased the risk for the nation, for Asia and even the world. Important political figures from the US have expressed concern and this is something that Taiwan cannot afford to overlook.

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