As talks were being conducted between Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) in Beijing, the Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao published an article on June 13 entitled “How should Ma repay China for its big gifts?”
The piece said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) first step in repaying China should be to stop desinicization and increase cross-strait exchanges. Beijing should be satisfied with the Ma government’s first month in office, it said, because it stopped the issuance of postage stamps with “Taiwan” written on them, vowed to reopen the Tzuhu Presidential Mausoleum of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and announced that the public will be able to exchange the yuan for New Taiwan dollars.
The article also asked how Ma should repay China if Taiwan is given more freedom internationally. When it comes to independence and unification, the Ming Pao toes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) line, so we should not overlook these comments.
The cross-strait talks — resumed under the aegis of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-CCP cooperation — are an outright political transaction. The aforementioned “good news” generated by the Ma government is bad news for Taiwanese interests, as Ma had to make sacrifices to bring it about. These cross-strait talks are not about being “fair,” nor are they about “putting aside disputes” as some say: China is trying to take away Taiwan’s sovereignty and Taiwan is sacrificing its own interests.
When China reorganized ARATS, the new position of executive vice chairman was established under the original positions of chairman and standing vice chairman. This meant that the SEF’s second-in-charge, secretary-general Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉), would have to deal with ARATS’ third-in-charge, vice president Sun Yafu (孫亞夫). The message from China is that Taiwan is merely a local government.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded that the US permanently stop selling weapons to Taiwan. When a Taiwanese boat sank near the Diaoyutai islands after being hit by the Japanese coast guard patrol boat, China beat out Taiwan in displaying dissatisfaction toward Japan and used the name “Chinese Taiwan” to represent Taiwan — or was Taiwan just deliberately slow in reacting?
While Taiwan is not pushing the issue of sovereignty or the idea of “one China with each side having its own interpretations,” China on the other hand has not given in at all on their “one China” policy.
Beijing is no doubt satisfied with Ma’s performance. If he has to repay China for the “big gifts” they have bestowed upon Taiwan, does this mean he will have to openly kowtow to China and recognize it as king? Or will it mean that Ma must keep pleasing China in terms of Taiwan’s relations with Japan and the US?
All the talk about “big gifts” from China is flawed. It is the result of erroneous reports that have been circulated through media that are sympathetic to China and unification.
The value of sacrifices made by Taiwan in terms of sovereignty is already larger in value than China’s “big gifts,” which are really just tourists coming to Taiwan and chartered direct flights. Taiwan allowed tourists to go to China in the 1980s; and countless Taiwanese businessmen invested there after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, helping to save a Chinese economy that was starting to slip at that time. Now, there are millions of Taiwanese residing in China and Taiwanese have invested hundreds of billions of dollars there. Yet when a few thousand Chinese are set to come to Taiwan for a holiday, China calls it a “big gift.” Does this mean all that Taiwan has given China didn’t amount to anything? It is high time China cultivated some virtue and a little class and repay Taiwan instead.
The three links and direct flights between Taiwan and China are merely things China needs in its battle to “unite” with Taiwan. Taiwan’s response has been to take things a step at a time. But in the end, China suddenly turned around and gave Taiwan trouble with chartered flights. Now they are referring to these flights as a “big gift.” So how can we afford not to be vigilant in dealing with such an ungrateful, blackmailing, rogue government like the CCP?
For China, Ma may very well only be someone they refer to as “Mr Ma,” but to the Taiwanese, he is president. As president, Ma is considering whether to hand Taiwan over to China and just how much he is willing to give away. Taiwanese are anxiously watching to see how far he will go before deciding whether or not they want to keep supporting him.
Paul Lin is a political commentator based in Taiwan.
Translated by Drew Cameron
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at a ceremony on July 30 officially commissioned China’s BeiDou-3 satellite navigation system. The constellation of satellites, which is now fully operational, was completed six months ahead of schedule. Its deployment means that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is now in possession of an autonomous, global satellite navigation system to rival the US’ GPS, Russia’s Glonass and the EU’s Galileo. Although Chinese officials have repeatedly sought to reassure the world that BeiDou-3 is primarily a civilian and commercial platform, US and European military experts beg to differ. Teresa Hitchens, a senior research associate at the University of
Taiwan’s rampant thesis and dissertation plagiarism has reduced the value of degrees, bringing the academic system’s public credibility to the brink of collapse. Data published on Retraction Watch — a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers — showed that 73 papers written by Taiwanese researchers were retracted from international journals between 2012 and 2016 due to fake peer reviews, the second-highest in the world behind China. Based on the size of the academic population, Taiwan was the highest in the world, making it academically a pirate nation. Academic fraud in Taiwan can be divided into several types: the listing of coauthors;