Mon, Sep 23, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Richard D. Fisher Jr. On Taiwan: What is one country, two systems?

“One country, two systems” (OCTS) is practically a shadow candidate in Taiwan’s January presidential election due to its heavy promotion by China and its collaborators in Taiwan, especially in their pro-China media.

Four generations of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders have made OCTS policy their main political stratagem for convincing Taiwanese to accept “unification” with the CCP’s harsh dictatorship. This would bring an end to their hard-earned freedoms, which makes it unacceptable to most Taiwanese.

In his major January 2, 2019, speech on Taiwan, CCP Secretary General Xi Jinping (習近平) made a strong call for Taiwan to begin “democratic consultations” with China, the goal of which seems to be to begin realizing one country, two systems in Taiwan.

So what is one country, two systems? It has been an evolving strategy that former CCP leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) began forming in 1978 based on a Leninist “taking advantage of capitalism” strategy of “peaceful coexistence” with the non-CCP controlled areas of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. After an initial acceptance of “one country,” with its CCP-controlled central government, the targeted polities putatively can retain their capitalist system and some degree of self-governing autonomy as they transition toward “unification” or broad CCP control.

Hong Kong’s example, in which OCTS was elevated from a strategy to a policy in the 1997 Basic Law governing China-Hong Kong relations, demonstrates China’s strategy of using OCTS to progressively limit “autonomy” and then to suppress democratic rights. This is seen in China’s early insistence on a sham legislature dominated by appointed pro-China “patriots,” followed by mounting interference. This recently culminated in the promulgation by the Chief Executive of legislation allowing arbitrary extradition of Hong Kong citizens to China. This brazen overreach has resulted in over 100 days of massive protests.

China’s view of autonomy for Taiwan constricted with that island nation’s transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In September 1981, then-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Marshal Ye Jianying (葉劍英), announced what became an early formulation for OCTS, the “Nine Principles” for the return of Taiwan. Number Three states: “After the country is reunified, Taiwan can enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region and can retain its armed forces. The Central Government will not interfere with local affairs on Taiwan.”

Compare this to China Daily’s report that in his January 2nd 2019 speech, Xi stated, “On the basis of ensuring China’s sovereignty, security and interests of development, the social system and way of life in Taiwan will be fully respected, and the private property, religious beliefs and legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots will be fully protected after peaceful reunification is realized.”

Xi then added, “We are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities.”

This means OCTS is now pre-loaded to contain the currently “democratic” Taiwan, vice the more generous formulations of the Deng era pitched to an authoritarian and presumably more pliant Kuomintang government. Ensuring “sovereignty and security” while opposing “separatist activities” would appear to give Xi Jinping significant license to “interfere with local affairs on Taiwan.” Doing so can be accomplished more efficiently with imminent 5G surveillance that enables pervasive “internet-of-things”-based data-gathering for monitoring and countering “separatists,” however broadly defined.

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