The veil has finally been lifted on China's mysterious "Anti-Secession" Law. This law, which the Chinese leadership considers a masterpiece, is in fact a naked reflection of its egocentric great-power attitude and its savage character.
But from a Taiwanese perspective maybe we should be grateful for this so-called Anti-Secession Law, because as Taiwan is losing its direction amidst talk of "a new discourse," "the great reconciliation" and "symbiosis," the law brings a ray of light that might lead us away from the road toward self destruction.
Frankly speaking, Taiwan's political and economic experience over the last few years could be more aptly likened to that of a frog in hot water. China has very skillfully and successfully placed the Taiwanese frog in its "one China" pot. Because China fears that the Taiwanese frog will leap out of the pot when China turns the heat up, the cook has added some soup stock made up of the Chinese market, cheap labor, preferential treatment and economic integration, all in order to keep the frog swimming happily in the warm water while the heat is slowly being turned up. The goal is to cook some Taiwanese frog soup to satisfy China's hunger for annexation.
Unfortunately, the Taiwanese government has never been able to detect this "frog in warm water" strategy but has instead seen the cooking pot as Taiwan's future. Moving boldly to the west, praising the "three links" as the way to save Taiwan and the Lunar New Year's cross-strait flights as an achievement, it has gradually dragged Taiwan deeper and deeper into the pot.
Last year, China accounted for 86 percent of Taiwan's foreign investments, while 37 percent of exports were also sent across the Strait. By last year, accumulated Taiwanese investments in China had reached over US$200 billion, the approximate equivalent of 65 percent of Taiwan's gross national income last year (for the US, the figure was 0.3 percent, and Japan came in at 0.5 percent). The Taiwanese economy is therefore completely dependent on China.
In other words, the rising temperature in the pot is causing the Taiwanese frog to lose consciousness, unaware that it is about to die.
The frog is not succumbing without a fight entirely, but although it sometimes thinks about jumping out of the pot, it also listens to bystanders. They tell it not to scream, escape or be provocative, and that escaping means death. So the frog has opted for peacefully maintaining the status quo. Unificationists and Taiwanese businesspeople often add more fuel to the fire under the pot by demanding that the government open up still further to China and by pressing for closer economic and trade ties, in the hope of putting a slowly cooked Taiwanese frog unification soup on the table. This is where Taiwan finds itself today.
For some inexplicable reason, however, the Chinese cook decided to add a hot anti-secession chili to the almost finished soup in the hope that Article 6, with its "economic exchange" bait would keep the frog in the pot. Unexpectedly, the cook added too much chili: making things so hot that it brought the frog back to consciousness.
Simply waking up, however, will not reverse the cooking process. Taiwan must use the opportunity that presented itself when the cook added the wrong condiment. It must boldly say no to "one China," change the national title, hold a referendum and write a new constitution to let the world know that Taiwan is not a part of China, and that Taiwan belongs to the people of Taiwan.
Even more important, Taiwan must immediately refuse the temptation of the warm water in the Chinese pot and put a stop to further economic and trade exchanges with Beijing, effectively manage investments in China and thoroughly implement policies in order to lead Taiwan out of China's economic influence. Only by doing this will Taiwan be able to resist calls from unificationists and Taiwanese businesspeople to jump back into the pot, and only by doing this will we have the chance to change the national title, hold a referendum and write a new constitution.
Wake up! Stop hesitating or maintaining extravagant hopes of some middle road. Jump out of the warm economic waters in the "one China" pot.
Huang Tien-lin is a national policy adviser to the president.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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