Despite Taiwan’s efforts of to maintain a peaceful and stable relationship across the Taiwan Strait, several events have shown that China is still not a trustworthy “friend,” and that Taiwanese should be cautious when faced with China’s so-called “friendliness.”
Since the launch of her election campaign, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has advocated a friendly relationship with China, while also adhering to the the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) fundamental tenet that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state.
Tsai has repeatedly said that she would strive to maintain the cross-strait “status quo” and pursue the peaceful and stable development of the cross-strait relationship.
Tsai has avoided doing anything that might make Beijing feel “sensitive.” She used the term “Republic of China” (ROC) instead of Taiwan — probably more than any other DPP leader has, she promised to act within the framework of the Constitution, which critics see as a de facto facsimile of the so-called “1992 consensus” that is so important to China.
In addition, when Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) attended an annual meeting of the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, he did not mention “Taiwan,” but used “Chinese Taipei” throughout his speech, a move calculated to avoid offending China, that drew criticism from some Taiwanese lawmakers and members of the public.
However, China is still not satisfied.
Like a willful child, China canceled the performance in China of a Taiwanese children’s choir — seemingly in retaliation for a recitation of the the ROC National Anthem at Tsai’s inauguration ceremony.
However, in some ways, China behaves more like a gangster than an innocent and immature child.
A few days ago, Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kei (林榮基) described to reporters how China had kidnapped him, put him under house arrest and forced him to make a confession on TV.
Lam worked for Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books, which sold books that are banned in Mainland China.
Lam said that several of his colleagues who also “disappeared” last year suffered similar fates.
On Friday, Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s (高智晟) daughter, Grace Geng (耿格) held a news conference in Taipei to promote her father’s memoir, which details his kidnap and torture by Chinese authorities for defending human rights.
At the launch, Geng urged Tsai to save her family and all Chinese people.
These examples indicate how common political persecution is in China, and no matter how Taiwan tries to avoid upsetting China, Beijing still imposes “penalties” — even on a children’s choir — because it is impossible for Taipei to acquiesce to all of its demands.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) often brags about how he created a basis for peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait during the eight years he was in office, but, apparently, the “peace” that he created was only a mirage. In Beijing’s eyes, there can be no peace across the strait unless Taiwan surrenders and becomes part of “China.”
Well, even that would not be enough for Beijing: Chinese are still being arrested and tortured for not being obedient enough, Tibetans are forced to give up their freedom of religion that Beijing once promised them and Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang are forced to eat in daylight hours during Ramadan to show their loyalty to Beijing.
When protesting the Presidential Office’s rejection of his application to visit Hong Kong out of national security and personal safety concerns, the former president said that he did not know Hong Kong is such a dangerous place — well, apparently it is.
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