By accepting the designation of “Chinese Taipei” to join the World Health Assembly, Taiwan has degraded its international standing.
Second, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is reverting to its autocratic roots.
The freedoms of speech and assembly have been eroded. The judiciary is now KMT’s political tool to harass and destroy any political opposition.
Third, the opposition is split between those who support the ROC framework and dream of electoral victory to seize power in the 2016 presidential election — a virtually impossible task — and those who want to preserve a democratic Taiwan independent of China through overthrow of the ROC government, through civil disobedience, mass protest and other means.
Thus, there is no cohesive, effective force to stem the drift toward ruin.
Fourth, the main opposition party, the DPP, is increasingly copying the KMT’s pro-unification agenda. Former Straits Exchange Foundation president Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) will reportedly advocate for the establishment of a committee to promote peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait.
Hong will also endorse former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) “two sides, two constitutions” proposal (“Heated debate expected at DPP meeting,” Jan. 8, page 3).
Cutting through the fog of coded phrasing, the proposal is that the DPP should now compete with the KMT to advance the signing of a peace accord and that after Taiwan’s surrender, the nation should be governed by a variant of the “one country, two systems” model.
Since Hong is a heavyweight leader of DPP’s most influential faction, the New Tide, his initiative must be taken seriously.
Finally, the next two years will be the most opportune time for the PRC to achieve the annexation of Taiwan because Taiwan’s potential ally the US is headed by President Barack Obama, who is most deferential in engaging with Beijing and who, unlike previous US presidents, has not praised Taiwan for its democratic achievement, and unlike the US Congress, has failed to reaffirm the Taiwan Relations Act on its 30th anniversary.
Beijing can easily assume that Obama will acquiesce in a peaceful absorption of Taiwan by the PRC.
The survival of democratic Taiwan is increasingly precarious.
Those who want to keep the nation’s freedom must quickly develop the capacity to effectively resist the signing of a peace accord. They must loudly demonstrate they want an independent and free Taiwan, aligned with all democratic nations of the world. They must clearly declare: Taiwan is not the Republic of China, Taiwan is not part of China.
Li Thian-hok is a freelance commentator based in Pennsylvania in the US.