Tripartite Cross-Strait Scenario:
DPP Must Answer to the Public
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 15, 2012
Summary: After Frank Hsieh returned to Taiwan he said, Taiwan will collapse only if it stops moving forward. It will never perish merely because it made contact with the other side. This applies equally to the DPP. Consider the name of the Democratic Progressive Party. It fought for "democracy" on Taiwan yesterday. But is it fighting for "progress" on Taiwan today? How can one progress if one retreats? How can one progress if one closes oneself off?
Full Text below:
Preface: Former DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh visited the Chinese mainland. He embarked on a "trail-blazing journey." He merely broke the ice. Others within the DPP objected. That said, with this trip the DPP formally issued a cross-strait challenge. The trip will impact the DPP's cross-Strait policy direction. It has introduced a variable that will impact Taipei's long-term interaction with Beijing. This editorial examines the potential consequences of Frank Hsieh's visit to the Chinese mainland.
Former Premier Frank Hsieh has successfully completed his ice-breaking journey to the Chinese mainland. But he has yet to break the far thicker ice inside the DPP. For the past few days he has been the target of considerable ridicule and criticism. The public on Taiwan is watching to see how the DPP treats Frank Hsieh. It is watching to see how the DPP deals with cross-Strait relations. Can the DPP face cross-Strait issues head on? Can it overcome its deep-seated psychological barriers? Will its reactionary attitudes force it to pass up an historic opportunity for party transformation? Will returning to power remain nothing more than a pipe dream?
Frank Hsieh met with State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who is Secretary-General of TALSG under the CPC Central Committee. He met with State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi, with ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin, and with other officials. The two sides talked past each other. But at least they talked to each other, face-to-face. At least they listened to each other, face-to-face. The DPP has made a major breakthrough in communications with the other side. But only if the DPP is willing to let it be a breakthrough.
Just prior to Frank Hsieh's departure, the Green camp and the Green media blasted him, repeatedly. But throughout Frank Hsieh maintained a rational demeanor. He did not allow himself to be used as propaganda for renunification. Eventually the DPP cooled down. Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang said cross-Strait contacts must be "open and transparent." This mentality is typical of the DPP, which invariably suspects and accuses others of "selling out Taiwan."
In recent years dramatic changes have taken place in cross-Strait relations. But the DPP's cross-Strait policy has been spinning its wheels. Occasionally someone may attempt a breakthrough. Hsu Hsing-lang once shouted, "Boldly go west!" But others with different notions immediately blasted them, forcing them to quietly return to the fold. Or else they forced them into exile. The bottom line is, the DPP is afraid of the Chinese mainland. At a deeper level, DPP leaders lack self-confidence. They have concluded that Taiwan is weak and therefore unable to confront an increasingly powerful Chinese mainland. They assume that when the two sides make contact, Taiwan will perish. They have concluded that they must distance themselves from the Chinese mainland as much as possible. Their hatred of their opponents, their opposition to them and their demonization of them, their frequent accusations that they are "selling out Taiwan," actually amount to psychological evasion.
Their reactions are out of touch with reality and out of touch with the times. They are also out of touch with public opinion. According to the latest China Times polls, 44% of the public support Frank Hsieh's "trail-blazing journey," and 51% look forward to Chairman Su Tseng-chang's trip to the Chinese mainland. Nearly 50% feel that the DPP and the Chinese mainland should be even more daring, and expand exchanges ever further. These are views that the DPP leadership needs to hear. Su Tseng-chang appears to be preparing for the 2014 election. He sees defeating his rivals within the party as his biggest challenge. So far he shows no signs of having the will or the courage to make a breakthrough in cross-Strait policy.
The times are changing. The world is changing. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are changing. Taiwan has already adopted democracy and the rule of law. It has its own virtues. The Chinese mainland is also very different from what it was in the past. Its rapid economic rise has made it an important global market. All economies must actively seek business opportunities on the Chinese mainland, including Taiwan. People are making increasingly close contacts with each other. They are marrying each other, conducting business with each other, learning alongside each other, even producing feature films and television shows with each other. The younger generation's experience of cross-Strait relations is very different from the experience of the older generation. Their future experiences will also be very different. People on Taiwan must accurately read the signs of the times. They must strive to create a place favorable to their survival and development.
Therefore the DPP must answer several questions of utmost concern to the public on Taiwan.
One. Given the Chinese mainland's political, economic, military, and social circumstances, what does the future hold?
Two. Given the Chinese mainland's development, how can Taiwan maximize its benefits?
Three. How will the DPP prevent the two sides from breaking into war? How will the DPP create a more secure environment for the public on both sides?
Four. How will the DPP make best use of the resources and strategies at our disposal, and enable the ROC to participate in international activities. How will the DPP bolster the ROC's status as a sovereign state?
Five. How will exchanges between people on both sides of the Strait change Taiwan's social and demographic makeup? How will the DPP respond?
Six. What sort of cross-Strait relations are most favorable for Taiwan, both today and tomorrow? What concrete strategies does the DPP have to achieve them?
Do not shout slogans. Do not promise a pie in the sky. The DPP must share with the public on Taiwan its assessment of Taiwan's plight. What is its long range strategy for the future? The ROC's plight is difficult. The two sides have conflicts. But one must go forward. Time and tide wait for no man. If one always retreats, one will have no future. A nation must have hope. It must never close itself off to hide from its enemies. It must overcome its fear and anxieties. Its people must pursue their dreams. Its people must have the courage, the character, and resourcefulness to transform a foe into a friend. Can the DPP do this? If it cannot, the public on Taiwan will not entrust the DPP with its collective destiny.
After Frank Hsieh returned to Taiwan he said, Taiwan will collapse only if it stops moving forward. It will never perish merely because it made contact with the other side. This applies equally to the DPP. Consider the name of the Democratic Progressive Party. It fought for "democracy" on Taiwan yesterday. But is it fighting for "progress" on Taiwan today? How can one progress if one retreats? How can one progress if one closes oneself off?