Fri, Jan 17, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Public’s voice lost in China relations

By Steve Wang 王思為

Should cross-strait relations take precedence over democracy? Should cross-strait policies be decided by a minority of compradors, agents who weave back and forth between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait? Should civil society not have a say in this high politics, especially since China for a long time has been using low politics to carry out its unification strategy?

Given that they have gained considerable headway doing so, their next step will definitely be to use compradors to directly influence the decisions made in politics in order to complete the last stage of their plan.

This begs the question of whether the public should prepare to welcome in an era characterized by comprador politics?

For example, the EU has for many years experienced problems due to its democratic deficit. Even though an elected European Parliament existed as early as 1979, the European Commission and the EU still lacks a social basis, and it is controlled by the political elite and EU bureaucrats.

As a result, it cannot be fully controlled by democratic means, and Europeans feel as though they are on a carriage that they cannot control, while all they can do is follow the horse — the EU’s organizations — and its driver — its leaders.

This problem people have complained about for so long has strengthened independence calls in EU member countries, examples being Scotland and Catalonia.

While gaining independence does not necessarily mean these countries will leave the EU nor does it mean that their independence erases the EU’s democracy deficit, publics long oppressed should be heard in their hopes to leverage independence and gain power to have a say in politics.

In Taiwan, over the past few years, China’s propaganda tricks aimed at gaining access to Taiwan and moving in and brainwashing the public have been successful.

China’s unification strategy, using economic means to gain control over Taiwan and hasten unification, had borne fruit long ago. Taiwanese media outlets that have turned into Chinese government mouthpieces have openly championed China’s unification ideal.

Under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, Taiwan has leaned toward China at an alarming pace, so much so that at the end of last year, 71 percent of respondents said they supported Taiwanese independence in an opinion poll conducted by cable news channel TVBS.

This was a display of strong discontent among Taiwanese with how cross-strait politics is being controlled by a small minority.

The way in which cross-strait agreements up to now have not been reviewed by the legislature and can directly come into effect is a total mockery of constitutional democracy.

Taiwan’s two largest parties think nothing at all of the confined anti-democratic nature of high politics.

Worthy of attention is the small number of people within the Democratic Progressive Party who have recently joined the small clique of agents representing China’s interests and who believe the only way of getting back into power is by forming a small clique.

This is a great pity.

The hope is for a good country with good citizens.

Is it acceptable to stand by and allow a form of comprador politics lacking a social basis and that is controlled by political parties and monopolized by agents acting on behalf of China?

Steve Wang is an assistant professor in the Institute of European Studies at Nanhua University.

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