Thu, Jan 10, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Let democracy decide in Taiwan

By Masao Sun 孫國祥

New Year’s Day was the 40th anniversary of the 1979 “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” by the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress. To mark the anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) made a speech with a similar message, in which, without really saying anything new, he repeated the “one China” principle, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government that represents the whole of China.

He also talked about the so-called “1992 consensus,” under which representatives of both sides of the Taiwan Strait supposedly agreed that they both belong to “one China,” while interpreting “one China” in their own ways.

Xi declared that Beijing is willing to engage in discussion with Taiwan, but he said that China would not renounce the use of force against Taiwan.

While asking Taiwan to cooperate, Xi does not respect the views of Taiwanese. He wants to achieve a win-win situation, but only within a “one China” framework.

To put it in a nutshell, Xi’s speech conveyed an imperialist attitude of “I rule the world and you have to do whatever I say.”

Xi’s speech is permeated with the dictatorial attitude of “he who submits to me will prosper, but he who resists me will perish.” It uses “moral suasion” as a smokescreen to mask his ambition of annexing Taiwan.

Xi repeated the formula of “Chinese do not fight Chinese” that former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) put forward in a 1995 eight-point proposal for the development of cross-strait relations and the promotion of peaceful reunification.

However, during the more than two decades that have passed since Jiang’s proposal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been guilty of unprecedented suppression of Falun Gong practitioners and human rights defenders, as well as the brutal repression of ethnic minorities such as Uighurs and Tibetans.

US China expert David Shambaugh has said that China is today more repressive than at any time since the period following the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement.

Beijing vaunts the “one country, two systems” framework that it has applied to Hong Kong since the UK handed the territory back to China in 1997, but Hong Kongers keep warning Taiwan that the model is a bad one.

A survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion program showed that Kong Kongers’ net confidence in Beijing’s “one country, two systems” model has fallen from 45.3 percent in 1997 to minus-3.5 percent last year — a 48.8 percent fall in 20 years, Hong Kong media reported.

Evidently, Hong Kongers have become thoroughly disillusioned with “one country, two systems.”

The Democracy Index 2017 published by The Economist ranks China 139th out of 167 countries based on assessments of five categories such as government functioning and political participation.

Last year’s Freedom in the World report published by US independent watchdog Freedom House ranks China 185th out of 209 countries and territories in its global freedom rankings, with an aggregate freedom score of 14 points out of 100.

Despite China being so undemocratic and unfree, Xi in his speech called for “democratic consultation on cross-strait relations” with representatives of Taiwan, a country that scored 93 points out of 100 in the Freedom House survey. The contradiction is so stark that it speaks for itself.

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