After the alleged leaking of state secrets to China by former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) caused his removal from office, some commentators have remarked that this case has destroyed the basis for mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait.
However, this begs the question: What basis for cross-strait mutual trust?
First, let us look at item 12 of the US-Chinese Shanghai Communique issued on Feb. 28, 1972. It states that “[t]he US side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”
The problem here is with the wording “all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait.” Back then, people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait were living under authoritarian rule unable to express their will. Four decades on, the people on the other side of the Taiwan Strait still cannot express their opinions, while on this side, democratization has allowed people to do so.
Have they said that they are Chinese? How is it possible that the 60 to 70 percent of people who identify themselves as Taiwanese would believe that Taiwan is a part of China?
I want to ask who is being discussed when mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait is mentioned.
China is still a totalitarian state and even though it has some opinion polls, the strict control on information distorts public opinion.
As for Taiwan, joint statements by former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and former Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) as well as the agreements signed by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and China are examples of cooperation between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This is why such huge disputes have erupted in the legislature and throughout society, eventually leading to the student-led Sunflower movement.
Once again, what basis for cross-strait mutual trust?
When people talk about a basis for cross-strait mutual trust, they mean a basis for mutual trust between the KMT and the CCP; leave Taiwan out of it.
Even many of those who voted for Ma disagree with his pro-China policies. Ma won their votes by saying that the future of Taiwan would be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan, but once elected, he ignored voters and prioritized a small minority of privileged Mainlanders, forced the legislature into accepting certain laws and even went so far as to vilify Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in September last year in an attempt to remove him from office.
How can there be any basis for cross-strait mutual trust when there is not even a basis for mutual trust within the KMT?
The mutual trust that exists between the upper echelons of the KMT and CCP elites comes from their mutual swapping of political and economic interests. This is not representative of the people on either side of the Taiwan Strait, especially not Taiwanese.
The problem here lies with the CCP. How are the Taiwanese expected to believe a single-party state that oppresses and kills its own people?
When China recently set limits on popular elections for the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s chief executive, the people of Hong Kong realized that they had been cheated by the CCP for three decades. The Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong was an international agreement, and the Hong Kong Basic Law, drawn up by Beijing, in effect amounted to a constitution of sorts.
China has shown that it can openly break every promise it makes. It has even talked about letting the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong garrison cause bloodshed there. This surely reminds Taiwanese of the 228 Massacre.
After all this has happened to Hong Kong, it is incomprehensible that people still talk about a basis for mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait, especially when the likes of Ma and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) have said that the Chang incident was a mere “ripple in the strong wave of cross-strait developments” and brushed it off as being “insignificant.”
Does their trust in the CCP mean they view Taiwanese as fools or does it mean their brains have been damaged by thinking about their huge political and economic interests?
Ma himself was born in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district, but during this whole Chang case, he has not once rebuked the CCP and he is still intent on a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in which he plans to hand Taiwan over to the CCP on a silver platter.
How can such a person still be considered fit to be president?
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Drew Cameron
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