Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: The Chinese take on Tsai’s speech

Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times ran an editorial on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Double Ten National Day speech. It gives an interesting insight into the hawkish Chinese perspective on how Taiwan sees itself.

First, a look at what Tsai said in her speech.

With the theme a “Better Taiwan,” Tsai spoke of the government’s achievements and the main thrust of its policies. She talked of reform and policy direction, and the importance of the military.

Of the speech’s 4,000 words, 535 were devoted to the issue of safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty, concentrating on the importance of military preparedness, while 444 words were devoted to cross-strait relations, focusing on the mutual understanding developed over the past 30 years.

Tsai avoided talk of the so-called “1992 consensus” even as a historical fact, much less as a basis for negotiations.

Interestingly, she did not mention “China” in her speech, and neither was there a single mention of “unification” or “independence” in the context of cross-strait relations.

By far the largest individual section was devoted to her government’s plans for finding a place for the nation in the international order, the government’s New Southbound Policy and the nation’s part in Asian regional cooperation, although curiously not with China.

There were 1,125 characters devoted to the nation’s engagement with the international community, compared with 444 on cross-strait relations.

Tsai concluded her speech with a mention of Father Brendan O’Connell, a Catholic priest also known as Kan Hui-chung (甘惠忠), who on Jan. 26 was awarded citizenship in recognition of his 54 years of contributions to the nation.

It was a celebratory, unifying speech, calling on all political parties to work together, a speech about Taiwan: Not just inward-looking, not entirely outward-looking, but also about inclusiveness.

That is not how the Global Times saw it.

It did not want Tsai listing her achievements or her vision. When she spoke of a “better Taiwan,” the Global Times scoffed at her audacious delusion.

How can she call Taiwan a nation when it does not have a UN seat and when the Vatican is its sole diplomatic ally in Europe?

Good point, like when the school bully holds up the lunch money he just stole and says that you are hungry.

How can Tsai talk about goodwill toward China, when she appoints a premier who espouses his personal commitment to Taiwanese independence the moment he steps into his job?

The clue is in the word “personal.”

Does she think, the Global Times editorial asked, that speaking in her dulcet feminine tones is sufficient to denote goodwill?

The writer is clearly not comfortable with a woman being in charge of what China considers to be its property.

And that is the crux of it, of course. The speech was given by someone interfering with China’s “property” and talking of a vision for the future when the future of Taiwan is — in the writer’s mind — with China.

This is how the editorial ends: “China already has the power to decide the parameters of Taiwan’s policy, to stipulate what the Taiwanese authorities can and cannot do, and to curtail their aspirations beyond their borders. The “Anti-Secession” law is already producing an effect in Taiwan. From the larger historical perspective, the process of unifying with Taiwan is already on its way.”

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