The result of the March 20 presidential election has dashed -- perhaps forever -- Beijing's "one China" dream, a Los Angeles-based academic and China hand has said.
Following the election, Beijing can no longer assume that most of the people of Taiwan wish to unite with China, and Beijing must now decide how far to bend, said University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) political science professor Richard Baum in his latest essay entitled "The Chinese Puzzle," which was carried in the San Jose-based daily Mercury News last Sunday.
For the first time, an absolute majority of Taiwanese voters cast their ballots for an avowedly pro-independence candidate, Baum noted.
As a result, relations between Taiwan and China have entered a period of heightened uncertainty, fraught with potential danger, said Baum, the director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies.
Baum, author of Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping, said that although President Chen Shui-bian's (
As one of more than 50 Western observers invited to monitor the election, Baum said, "I was impressed by the fairness and transparency of the process. Even the post-election demonstrations, for all their extraordinary size and emotional intensity, were mostly peaceful and orderly, with people eventually dispersing voluntarily."