No matter how significant it might appear in the international media, the meeting between New Taipei City Mayor and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in China tomorrow is a meeting of the past.
The cross-strait bubble burst more than a year ago with the Sunflower movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber, and any attempts to go back to the good old days are destined to fail due to a new reality.
In the new reality, Taiwanese want politicians who consider problems in the streets and homes across the nation as their genuine concern and top priority. This new reality is slowly spreading in Europe. However, right up to point when the cross-strait bubble burst, many politicians and journalists in Europe thought that relations between Taiwan and China were better than ever and publicly praised past trade agreements as a prerequisite for peace, prosperity and mutual understanding. However, they were living in a fantasy world.
Previous political debates about cross-strait relations can be compared to overheated financial markets. As Danish philosopher Vincent Henricks highlighted, political positions can get overheated as well. When the cross-strait debate was overheated, its proponents were not willing to listen to other standpoints.
In such an environment, increased inequality, youth unemployment, demolition of housing, the fight for media freedom and the worrisome democratic development in Taiwan were to a large extent neglected and considered as small ripples across the water that would soon fade.
Except for capital punishment, the EU has not criticized Taiwan regarding democratic issues. Despite various critiques of the impact of cross-strait agreements, many European parliamentarians continued to praise the cross-strait development, as did the European media.
Even in June last year, a few weeks after the occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber, European External Action Service praised dynamic cross-strait relations.
It was clear during the trip of two of the principal leaders of the Sunflower movement, Dennis Wei (魏揚) and Wu Cheng (吳崢), and I to London and Brussels in November last year that the attitude had changed. We experienced a genuine interest in understanding what has happened in Taiwan, in the same way people wanted to understand the reasons behind the burst financial bubble.
However, it was also clear that some would like go back to business as usual, as we have observed in the financial sector.
To avoid the creation of political bubbles, politicians and journalists need to expose themselves to broader spectra of knowledge by, for instance, listening to opposition parties and civil societies in Europe and Taiwan. Knowledge is important, but it can mislead if a nuanced view is not taken.
It would be convenient to create a new cross-strait bubble based on selected information and try to neglect the new reality.
Fortunately, this is not possible because Taiwan has changed, and the political scene and debates are more vibrant than ever. In the new reality, Taiwan will continue to be peaceful and constructive in the way it engages with China and the rest of the international community. It will focus on making Taiwan an even better place.
The cross-strait bubble failed to create sustainable development between Taiwan and China. Sustainable development is only possible when policies protect the interest of Taiwanese. Consequently, the next bubble to burst is the “one China” policy.
Michael Danielsen is the chairman of Taiwan Corner.
A stark contrast in narratives about China’s future is emerging inside and outside of China. This is partly a function of the dramatic constriction in the flow of people and ideas into and out of China, owing to China’s COVID-19 quarantine requirements. There also are fewer foreign journalists in China to help the outside world make sense of developments. Those foreign journalists and diplomats who are in China often are limited in where they can travel and who they can meet. There also is tighter technological control over information inside China than at any point since the dawn of the
Almost as soon as the plane carrying a US delegation led by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi took off from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on Thursday, Beijing announced four days of live-fire military drills around Taiwan. China unilaterally cordoned off six maritime exclusion zones around Taiwan proper to simulate a blockade of the nation, fired 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles and conducted coordinated maneuvers using naval vessels and aircraft. Although the drills were originally to end on Sunday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Eastern Theater Command issued a statement through Chinese state media that the exercises would continue,
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week represented a milestone in Taiwan-US relations, but also pricked the bubble of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) big lie that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. During a speech delivered at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Wednesday, Pelosi said: “Forty-two years ago, America made a bedrock promise to always stand with Taiwan,” referring to the US’ Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. On the eve of her visit to Taiwan, Pelosi published an article in the Washington Post in which she stated that “America must stand by Taiwan.” With China
In the article “Who’s afraid of TikTok? The world’s most exciting app is also its most mistrusted,” published on July 7, The Economist warned that the Chinese ownership of TikTok — a popular short-form video-sharing social media platform that has swept the world and is taking over the market shares of other social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram — is a serious concern. Headquartered in China, whose government is addicted to surveillance and propaganda, the bigger problem with TikTok is the opportunity it provides the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to access users’ private information and manipulate what the