Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Historical Significance of the KMT/CCP Meeting

The Historical Significance of the KMT/CCP Meeting
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, China)
A Translation
May 27, 2008

KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung will depart today on a visit to the mainland. The day after tomorrow he will meet with CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao. This is the first time the leaders of the ruling parties on both sides of the strait have met. Needless to say, this is a major event.

History unfolds like myth. Had the KMT not lost power in 2000, Party Chairman Lien Chan would never have been able to visit the mainland in 2005. Had Chen Shui-bian and the ruling DPP not been guilty of such rampant misrule, the "KMT CPC Platform" would have remained Politically Incorrect and beyond the pale. Had the KMT not made a comeback in 2008, the leaders of the two ruling parties, Wu and Hu, would not have been able to meet today. History unfolds spontaneously. It morphs mysteriously, like the clouds. It flows relentlessly, like the rivers. It conceals forces that can change our world.

Wu Po-hsiung is the Chairman of the Chung-kuo Kuomintang, the ruling party of the Republic of China. General Secretary Hu Jintao did not evade this political reality when he extended his personal invitation to Wu Po-hsiung. Admittedly, Hu Jintao extended his invitation to "KMT Chairman" Wu Po-hsiung. But by implication, the invitation was extended to the ruling party of the Republic of China. After all, without the Republic of China to rule, Wu Po-hsiung could hardly be the chairman of a ruling party.

Naturally these implications have remain unstated. They have remained implicit and unofficial. Hu Jintao is not greeting Wu Po-hsiung in Hu's capacity as President of the People's Republic of China. He is greeting him as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. This, ironically, exemplifies the separation of party and state. Nevertheless, Wu Po-hsiung is in fact the "Chairman of the ruling party of the Republic of China." Both sides know this perfectly well. This is precisely why the Wu Hu Meeting is of unprecedented historical significance.

The history of modern China has been the history of struggle and reconciliation between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. This includes struggles over who would rule the nation, and struggles over "Whither China?" After 1949, the two parties governed separately. The KMT was determined to "counterattack the mainland." The CCP was determined to "liberate Taiwan." During the late 1970s however, the CCP embarked on its own version of Perestroika and Glasnost. During the 1980s, the KMT lifted martial law. By 1990, the Cold War was over and the buzzword was "globalization." In 2000 the KMT lost control of the Republic of China for eight years. Now however, it is back in power. Thirty long years have passed. Heaven has turned on its axis. People have come and gone. Major changes have taken place within the CCP and the KMT, both in form and content. The Wu Hu Meeting scheduled to take place the day after tomorrow sums up the vicissitudes of life over those 30 years. It is a new beginning for a future without limits.

To sum up, the Civil War between the KMT and the CCP is over. They no longer have anything to fight about. The prevailing international framework does not permit a cross-strait war. Mainstream public opinion on both sides of the strait will not countenance fellow Chinese killing each other. Numerous mainland leaders have said "There is no issue of who will do away with whom." The new point of departure is that KMT vs. CCP conflict should evolve into competition, and competition should evolve into cooperation. This is what Ma Ying-jeou means when he speaks of "peace and mutual prosperity."

Before 1949, the KMT and the CCP were both situated on the mainland. A life and death struggle was inevitable. This led to a loss of a perspective regarding the question, "Whither China?" In retrospect, China's fate seems like the Wrath of Heaven. But ever since the two sides have been governed separately, they seem increasingly in competition than in conflict, and increasingly in cooperation than in competition. Whither China? Whither the Chinese people? That we leave the tender mercies of History.

When Wu and Hu meet the day after tomorrow, they should no longer be thinking in terms of who will do away with whom. They should be thinking of coexistence and mutual prosperity. Destiny is unfathomable. A life and death struggle between the KMT and the CCP on the mainland led to separate rule, then to today's competition and to tomorrow's cooperation. Surely Wu and Hu appreciate these ironies of history. Surely they will not fritter away this historic opportunity.

That historic opportunity is here. That historic opportunity is now. After many ups and downs, Taiwan is now a democracy and a free market economy. After 30 years of reform and opening up, the mainland is now on the right path. With the rise of China, new opportunities present themselves. The mainland authorities have more work to do, for example, in the area of democracy and human rights. We believe the mainland authorities genuinely wish to resolve these issues, and are merely waiting for the right time. That being the case, must the KMT and the CCP continue their civil war? Can't they coexist and prosper?

Therefore we hope that these two ruling party leaders, will take the road to democracy. We hope that together they will build a better future for the people, that they will encourage and assist each other, that they will minimize conflict and maximize competition, or better yet, cooperation. They have no need continue the civil war.



歷 史的流變宛如神話。倘若不是國民黨在二○○○年失去政權,黨主席連戰不可能在二○○五年訪問大陸;又倘若不是陳水扁與民進黨政府的倒行逆施,「國共平台」 亦不可能具有社會正當性;再倘若不是國民黨又在二○○八年贏回了政權,又豈可能出現今日兩岸執政黨黨魁聚首的「吳胡會」?上述歷史流變,看似有如行雲流水 地自然與流暢,其實卻寓藏著旋乾轉坤的重大意義。


當 然,這些意義,目前尚是「潛台詞」,並未在台前宣諸語言文字。胡錦濤未以「國家主席」的身分接待吳伯雄,而以「黨總書記」的身分會客,可見仍在「黨國分 離」的操作階段;但即使如此,吳伯雄的身分是「中華民國執政黨主席」,這卻是賓主皆知的政治事實,而這正是「吳胡會」空前無匹的歷史意義。

國 民黨與共產黨的和解與鬥爭,曾是中國現代史上的主軸。其間當然有政權的爭奪,卻也有「中國往何處去」的義理之爭。一九四九年以後,兩黨隔海分治,又有「反 攻大陸/解放台灣」的鬥爭。然而,隨著中共在一九七○年代末期嘗試改革開放,一九八○年代末期台灣解嚴,及一九九○年代「冷戰結束」及「全球化」以來,再 加上二○○○年以後國民黨失去中華民國政權八年,以至如今又重新執政;漫長三十年來,物換星移,人事代謝,共產黨與國民黨的互動關係在形式及內涵上皆有重 大變化,後天的「吳胡會」可謂是這三十年滄桑的總結,亦是無限未來的新起點。

這個總結應當是:「國共內戰」已無延續的條件,國際主流架構 不容兩岸開戰,兩岸主流民意亦不容相互殘殺。這正是中共數位領導人曾經說過的,兩岸不存在「誰吃掉誰的問題」。所謂的新起點則是:國共兩黨之間,應當從 「鬥爭」,轉為「競爭」,再由「競爭」轉為「合作」。這正是馬英九總統所說的「和平共榮」的憧憬。

一九四九年以前,國共兩黨共處中國大陸 之內,你死我活的「鬥爭」不可避免,反而扭曲了「中國往何處去」的義理追求;回首前塵,真有如造化的天譴。然而,兩岸隔海分治以來,如今反而儼然出現了兩 黨「競爭」的態勢,與「合作」的契機,以及對「中國往何處去」或「中華民族往何處去」的更深刻思考,這卻是歷史的恩典。

吳胡後天會面之 時,內心不應再有「誰吃掉誰」的意念,而應存有「共生共榮」的思維。回顧冥冥之中歷史意志的顯示,造化竟能將曾經同處大陸、「鬥爭」得你死我活的國共兩 黨,安排到今日隔海分治,進而出現了可能互勉互惠的「競爭」與「合作」的契機;吳胡二人皆應體驗此一歷史恩典,不要辜負了此一歷史機遇。

此 時此際,確是最佳的「歷史機遇」。就台灣而言,經歷了跌宕起伏,終於實現了民主政治與自由經濟。就大陸而言,三十年的改革開放無疑已走在正確的道路上,而 有了「中國崛起」的願景與機會;即使中共當局目前尚有作不到的地方,譬如民主及人權,但我們亦深信這並非中共當局所不想作,應是尚待來日。倘係如此,國共 兩黨還有什麼理由延續所謂的「內戰」,又豈有什麼理由不能「共生共榮」?


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