Beijing Tied the Knot, Beijing Must Untie the Knot
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 9, 2010
ARATS Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing published an article in the June issue of "China Review." In it he responded to National Taiwan University Professor Chang Ya-chung's concept of "cross-strait integration." He attempted to open a new and important path for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. In the May issue of the "China Review" Zhang Nianchi of the Shanghai East Asia Institute published an article entitled 'Preconditions Necessary to Resolve the "Republic of China" Dilemma.' It was an attempt by the mainland side to break the political stalemate. It was a perspective with even more of an official stamp to it.
Professor Chang Ya-chung's "integration theory" states that "The two sides of the Taiwan Strait entail three entities." One is the "Republic of China." One is the "People's Republic of China." One is "China as a Whole." Taiwan is a part of "China as a Whole." The mainland is also part of "China as a Whole." As Chang Ya-chung explained, this is not the "two states theory." Instead it is predicated on the ultimate objective of "One Integrated China." But it also respects the current cross-Strait reality of one nation comprised of two entities.
Chang Ya-chung and others have advocated their "Integration theory" for years. Even President Chen Shui-bian echoed the theory in his 2000 New Year's Eve speech. He spoke of "Starting with cross-Strait economic and cultural integration," then jointly seeking "a new framework for political integration."
Zhang Nianchi called upon officials to confront the reality of the "Republic of China." Zhang Mingqing responded to Chang Ya-chung's "integration theory." This shows that that Beijing is making adjustments to its cross-Strait policy. One. Beijing seems to have already accepted the notion that "One China" or "China as a Whole" is a third concept that transcends both the ROC and the PRC. Two. Beijing apparently acknowledges that it must acknowledge the reality of the "Republic of China," or as Zhang Mingqing put it, "respect history, respect the reality, and be people-oriented."
On New Year's Day this year, this newspaper published a series of "Six New Year's Day Editorials." Professor Chang Ya-chung also offered a number of different views. We pointed out that the two sides do not have any insuperable differences. The two sides' views coincide in in two areas. One. The "Big Roof Theory." This defines "One China" or "China as a Whole" as a third entity or third concept. Two. The "Big Glass Theory." This defines Taiwan as water, and the Republic of China as the glass. As long as the glass remains intact, the water remains in the glass. But if the glass is broken, the water runs off. We feel that in order to ensure cross-Strait "peaceful development" these two pillars are indispensable.
In fact, over the past decade, Beijing has been thinking along the same lines. The only difference is it has waffled back and forth, and has been unable to make a conceptual breakthrough. For example, in 1997, ARATS Chief Wang Daohan pointed out that "One China does not mean the Peoples Republic of China. Nor does it mean the Republic of China. It means a unified China created by compatriots on both sides." He also proposed an "In Progress Style One China." In 1998, President Chen Qimao of the Shanghai Institute of International Relations pointed out that Beijing hoped Taipei would return to the "One China" policy. In other words, return to the "One China" defined in the Republic of China Constitution and the Guidelines for National Unification. In May 2000, Chen Shui-bian was elected President of the Republic of China. Xin Qi, a political advisor to the Beijng authorities, again pointed out that Beijing hoped to see the new leader in Taipei return to the "One China defined in the ROC Constitution and the Guidelines for National Reunification." Recently the mainland authorities have repeatedly used a number of different channels, including Zhang Mingqing, to underscore Hu Jintao's declaration that "Although the mainland and Taiwan have yet to be reunified, this does not change the fact that the mainland and Taiwan both belong to on China." We consider these two theories the indispensable pillars of the "Big Roof Theory" and the "Big Glass Theory."
We have pointed out that the Beijing authorities should jettison their "Old One China Theory" and its "Annihilate the Republic of China" mindset. They should adopt a "New One China Theory" that acknowledges the existence of the "Republic of China." Cross-Strait solutions proliferate. Some are goal oriented. Others are process oriented. We feel that the "Big Roof Theory" is nothing less than our "chosen goal." But more importantly the "Big Glass Theory" is our "chosen process." Without the "Big Glass Theory," there can be no "Big Roof Theory."
To implement the "Big Glass Theory," the Beijing authorities have many options. To reach a far off destination one must begin by taking tiny steps. To reach elevated heights one must assume a humble attitude. Beijing may as well begin with tiny steps. It can begin by removing the scare quotes from mainland news reports about ROC "legislators," and the ROC "President." It can stop objecting to the presence of ROC flags and the use of ROC official titles when mainland VIPs visit Taiwan. It can allow Taipei to sign FTAs with other countries. If it cannot take even these tiny steps, what's the point of discussing bigger ones?
At a moment such as this, we may wish to recall this newspaper's "New Three Proclamations." To wit, "There is only one China in the world. Both the ROC and the PRC are part of China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity are not subject to division."
Zhang Mingqing's article deserves affirmation. But Beijing tied the knot. Beijing must untie the knot!
2010.06.09 02:04 am