Sun, Feb 24, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Democratic ROC is on right side of history

By Chang Yan-ting 張延廷

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) never stops trying to win over Taiwanese. It is using a carrot-and-stick approach and political propaganda to divide the nation by executing its “united front” strategy, making concessions to Taiwan and promoting unification.

After many years of this approach, it is easy to see that the drastically different political systems on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are a crucial obstacle to exchanges and the cause for the widening gulf between the two sides.

The Republic of China (ROC) has for many years been suppressed in the international arena by the CCP and militarily speaking, it is under constant threat, which only confirms that the CCP has never considered that the ROC is a democracy, but has only been steering toward annexation.

However, from another perspective, the CCP is but a government and it is not the same as China. The crux of the matter is that the CCP is completely incapable of facing up to the existence of the ROC. The CCP’s violations of the ROC’s sovereignty and forcing Taiwan to accept the CCP’s unilateral political claims can only have a negative impact on cross-strait interaction.

The CCP is increasing its pressure toward unification, but despite its statements that it has an urgent timetable for political unification with Taiwan and its clearly growing sense of urgency, whether the CCP is trying to divide Taiwan or set a trap, it must understand what the public wants and how firm Taiwanese are in their beliefs to prevent a strategic misjudgment.

The CCP has relied on economic concessions to build support among the public, in combination with sharp power to infiltrate and divide society. In doing so, it is engaging in asymmetric warfare by using the openness of Taiwan’s democratic society.

If the CCP wants to break open the cross-strait “status quo,” it must change its mindset and stop forcing any kind of political framework on Taiwan.

For a democracy, handling bilateral conflict normally involves compromise rather than a violent approach. Whether China will be able to transform itself into a liberal democracy will depend on whether it will initiate democratization.

One of the core concepts of liberal democracy is that the government is but a means, that the goal is the realization of individual values, and that each person’s rights and interests should be protected by peaceful means.

Viewing this from the perspective of idealist and empiricist tradition, the global trend is toward liberal democracy. This means that the choice of future cross-strait interactions lies with Taiwan rather than China.

Beijing’s “one country, two systems” framework is a 40-year-old cliche that has deprived the Chinese of the opportunity to choose liberal democracy.

The ROC on Taiwan is a democratic success story. The main intersection point between Taiwan and the rest of the world is its liberal democratic society and political system, and the values maintained by the vitality of its democracy.

International society is once again considering the use of international organizations — including the UN, IMF, WHO, WTO and various regional organizations — to resolve the difficulties faced by global society.

In the wake of rapid globalization, the lines of sovereignty are becoming blurred and not even national borders are as clear as they once were.

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