Taipei and Beijing are Pursuing Peace: Is the DPP Ready?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 26, 2012
Summary: The DPP has long boasted that it is diligent, close to the people, and close to the land. It has used every trick in the book to seize power. Perhaps this is normal for partisan politics under a democracy. But the DPP should adopt a more elevated perspective. It should think about how to promote win-win cross-strait relations, about how to coexist and prosper. This is the solution to the problem. But it involves issues of national identity and personal identity. Is the DPP really ready? Probably not.
Full Text below:
On the 22nd of this month, the DPP established a "China Affairs Committee." Su Tseng-chang will be its convener. The committee will "develop strategies for cross-Strait exchanges between Taiwan and China." The consensus is that this committee was established in response to former Chairman Frank Hsieh's Mainland visit. The consensus is that the DPP established this committee hurriedly, under duress. Its establishment led to public concern and shared concern among party factions. It was originally meant to be a permanent body. Now party members want to make it an ad hoc entity. They want to formulate a new response to Beijing's strategies and tactics. It appears a new round of internecine struggles is brewing within the DPP.
The result of the January presidential election showed that cross-Strait relations remains the DPP's biggest Achilles Heel. The public on Taiwan feels the DPP's policy of enmity toward the Chinese mainland is at odds with political stability, economic growth, and cross-Strait peace. No wonder even Tsai Ing-wen said that the DPP must increase its interaction with, and its understanding of, the Chinese mainland. Following the election everyone hoped the DPP would promptly initiate an intraparty policy debate on cross-Strait relations. This would enable it to determine the cause for its defeat. It would enable it to adopt a new policy path. Obviously this never happened.
The DPP must be rational and pragmatic. It must gradually alter its separatist ideology, and its relentlessly Sinophobic political calculations. Outsiders should not expect the DPP to alter its Mainland policy any time soon. It will take time for the DPP to adopt a pragmatic attitude. But everyone agrees that the DPP should change some of its practices. For example, it should establish a Mainland Affairs Department or Cross-Strait Relations Committee. This would tell the public on Taiwan that it is changing. It would amount to an expression of goodwill toward the Chinese mainland. Alas, this proposal has also fallen on barren ground.
Su Tseng-chang hurriedly established a China Affairs Committee. Most people on Taiwan think Chairman Su was pandering to Taiwan independence hardliners, that they hijacked him. Cooperation between Su and Frank Hsieh was aborted. Actually, Su was probably attempting to block both Tsai Ing-wen and Frank Hsieh. He was appealing to Yu Hsi-kun and sidelining Annette Lu. No wonder people are blasting Su Tseng-chang as self-serving. They are saying "He wants to control everything. But in the end he will end up with nothing." The leader of a major political party is thinking only about how to promote himself. Is this any way to begin anew?
The veiled rivalry between Su and Hsieh is hardly news. Frank Hsieh once argued that Kaohsiung and Xiamen were two cities within the same nation. He now argues that the ROC Constitution stipulates that there is only one China. This led to veiled criticisms from Su, who said, "Anyone who wants to cozy up to China for the sake of votes should join the KMT." Clearly the DPP is refusing to support Frank Hsieh's cross-Strait policy. This is a struggle between two paths. It is difficult to avoid comparisons with Su's criticism of Hsieh four years ago. Su said changing the subject would not change the facts of the case. His criticism of Hsieh was devious. It left people in shock. With friends like this, does the DPP need enemies?
The DPP has long been criticized for its McCarthyite political smears. It is willing to do anything for power. It has no qualms about violating society's ethical standards, in order to incite class antagonisms. It has no problem ignoring right and wrong. Its Taiwan Independence Party Platform and its Resolution on Taiwan's Future, have proven to be dead ends, impossible to realize. Frank Hsieh's "constitutional one China" has been relatively progressive. But the Su Tseng-chang-led DPP will not tolerate any such proposals. Therefore who dares to put his hopes on the DPP?
The DPP's current plight involves more than the question of whether to recognize the 1992 consensus. It involves how to handle relations with the Chinese mainland. Mainland reform began in 1978. In 1988, the government on Taiwan allowed the public on Taiwan to visit their relatives on the Mainland. For several decades, the two sides pitted their strength against each other. Now bilateral exchanges have expanded to unimaginable proportions. The international environment is also very different from what it was back then. President Chiang Ching-kuo said the times are changing. Frank Hsieh also says the situation has changed. If people refuse to change, they will precipate tragedy. The DPP must beware.
Whether the KMT or DPP is in office does not matter. The ROC needs a rational, moderate, and healthy system of checks and balances. This is something about which everyone agrees. One must change with the times. One must liberate one's thinking. The CCP succeeeded over the past thirty years because it liberalized. Anyone who understands the international situation, anyone with any diplomatic experience, knows that Taiwan independence separatism is an unachievable dead end. Otherwise, Chen Shui-bian would not have complained that "It can't be done means it can't be done. There is no need to deceive ourselves." Where will the DPP go from here? The answer should be self-evident. But has Su Tseng-chang heard or understood?
The DPP has long boasted that it is diligent, close to the people, and close to the land. It has used every trick in the book to seize power. Perhaps this is normal for partisan politics under a democracy. But the DPP should adopt a more elevated perspective. It should pursue cross-Strait coexistence and coopetition. It should undergoe a peaceful transition. It should seek solutions acceptable to both sides. It should think about how to promote win-win cross-strait relations, about how to coexist and prosper. This is the solution to the problem. But it involves issues of national identity and personal identity. Is the DPP really ready? Probably not.