Fri, Jan 27, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan’s elections touch China democratic nerve

ROC AND A HARD PLACE:A Chinese academic said Taiwan’s future would be determined not by elections but by countries such as China, Japan and the US

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The presidential election on Jan. 14 generated much discussion about democracy in China among Internet users and “touched a nerve of the Chinese,” the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times said.

Following the election, several countries and international observers praised Taiwan as a role model for democracy, but China did not.

In an article on Jan. 17, the Global Times said China was relieved after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was re-elected, but that Beijing still had to deal with South China Sea disputes, “separatist” forces in Tibet and Xinjiang, and increasing Sino-US competition in Northeast and South Asia.

“China’s troubles are seemingly everywhere,” the article said. “Problems on the Chinese mainland are already abundant, but are enlarged by external influences.”

One of the examples discussed was the question that overwhelmed the Internet after Taiwan’s election: “Why can’t the same style of elections be held here?” the article said.

“On the mainland [China], similar questions concerning democracy, equality and interests are countless and all sound reasonable, but the systems designed for modern countries are not exactly suitable for gigantic countries like China,” it said.

The Global Times said China “risks being broken up” because it is too big in size and population and thus “maintaining national and social stability becomes an overarching mission for Chinese society which will influence every person.”

“China is unique and cannot copy others,” the paper said, calling on every Chinese and Chinese community to “safeguard the islands in the South China Sea, fight off the separatists [sic] within Taiwan and bravely deal with possible wars.”

It is China’s destiny to uphold national unity, it said.

In related news, Peking University professor Kong Qingdong (孔慶東), who recently insulted residents of Hong Kong by -calling them -“bastards,” “dogs” and “cheats” in a current affairs program, called democracy in Taiwan “pseudo-democracy.”

In a broadcast on Jan. 16, Kong said the presidential election was nothing more than a “democracy show” or a “TV series.”

“The future of the Taiwan area [sic] will not be decided by the leader of the Taiwan area,” but will be decided by several powerful countries, including China, Japan and the US, Kong said.

Kong said he did not share the happiness of many Chinese about Ma’s re-election because he did not think it would have made any difference to cross-strait relations if Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had been elected.

“Even if Tsai Ing-wen had won the election, she would not have dared to say she pursues independence publicly because independence means [pushing Taiwan toward] war,” he said.

Kong also criticized Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for being ambiguous about independence and mixing the use of the names Republic of China (ROC) and Taiwan.

“[Ma] was not courageous enough to say publicly that he supported independence or to say the ROC included the territory of the mainland that covers a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers. Is it not independence to restrict the ROC to only Taiwan?” he asked.

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