Incorporate the Big Roof China Concept into the One China Principle
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 14, 2012
Summary: Consider Beijing's perspective. The recent talks in Taipei resemble the 60 Years of Cross-Strait Relations Seminar three years ago. They show that the Blue and Green camps on Taiwan differ in their cross-Strait views. But people on Taiwan as a whole, Blue and Green alike, see "one China" and "reunification" differently. They differ both in their emotional intensity and in their reasoning. They would amend these concepts differently. They have different reservations about them.
Full text below:
Consider Beijing's perspective. The recent talks in Taipei resemble the 60 Years of Cross-Strait Relations Seminar three years ago. They show that the Blue and Green camps on Taiwan differ in their cross-Strait views. But people on Taiwan as a whole, Blue and Green alike, see "one China" and "reunification" differently. They differ both in their emotional intensity and in their reasoning. They would amend these concepts differently. They have different reservations about them.
Sun Yafu is Deputy Director of Beijing's State Council Office of Taiwan Affairs. He is in charge of cross-Strait policy theory. As he sees it, historical conditions have changed. The two sides of the Strait must seize upon their points of agreement regarding "one China advocacy." They must take existing provisions as their point of departure. They must affirm that China's territory and sovereignty are indivisible. They must seek common ground while shelving differences. They must seek a shared belief in one China, while shelving differences concerning one China political policy. This will enable cross-Strait relations to move ahead.
Sun Yafu's reasoning was an extension of Hu Jintao's political report at the 18th National Congress. It was a continuation of Wang Yi's talk at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the 1992 Consensus. It included several important elements. One. It referred to new historical conditions. It implied that "Times have changed." Two. The oft mentioneed one-China principle was recast as "one China advocacy." Three. He and Wang Yi feel that the two sides should seize upon points that express their common belief in one China. Four. He reiterated that the two sides should treat their existing provisions as their point of departure. This means that both sides of the Strait should derive their positions from their own constitutions. Five. Sun said the two sides have yet to be reunified, but that merely means political opposition. It does not mean that China's territory and sovereignty have been divided. Therefore the two sides are still part of one China. We feel that in this context one China ought to refer to the one China undergoing political confrontation prior to 1949. It should not be taken to mean that "both sides of the Strait are part of the People's Republic of China." The People's Republic of China is merely one of two parties politically opposed to the other within one China. Six. Both sides share a belief in "seeking common ground in one China, while shelving differences in one China policy." In Beijing it is referred to as "seeking common ground while shelving differences." In Taipei it is referred to as "one China, different interpretations."
How will the two sides take their respective constitutions as their point of departure? After all, they differ over the political significance of one China policy, even as they seek common ground under one China. How do they seize the common ground in one China and establish points of linkage? We believe the answer is one China, different interpretations under the Big Roof Concept of China, the signing of a peace agreement, or the establishment of some sort of political relations under special circumstances.
This is the only way each side of the Strait can take its own constitution as its point of departure. This is the only way we can seek common ground while shelving differences under one China advocacy. This is the only way we can seize the common ground and uphold one China.
The 18th National Congress Political Report laid out Beijing's Taiwan policy. The Hu Jintao regime invested ten years of its energy in this policy. This is the legacy it has bequeathed Xi Jinping, who will deal with it over the next decade. One of its major innovations was the notion that the two sides must "seek cross-Strait political relations despite the fact that the nation has yet to be reunified, and make fair and reasonable arrangements."
This turned the phrase "yet to be reunified cross-strait political relations" into official policy. It argued that political relations could go ahead if each each side of the Strait treated their own constitutions as their point of departure. They could then seek common ground under one China, while shelving differences over one China political policy. They could then make fair and reasonable arrangements and establish one China points of linkage. What are "points of linkage," if not the big roof concept of China?
The big roof concept of China is an abstract concept. It refers to China as a cultural entity, as an historical entity, as a common people. It also refers to a legal concept. For example, the two sides can use their existing provisions, i.e. constitutions, as their point of departure under a big roof concept of China. They can sign a peace agreement, or set up offices on both sides of the Strait. They can lay down the necessary conditions for a big roof concept of China. They can make the big roof concept of China into law. This, bear in mind, is not "two Chinas." Under the big roof concept of China, the Republic of China is democratic China, and the People's Republic of China is socialist China. Both are part of China. both belong under the big roof concept of China.
This is achievable. We need only incorporate the big roof concept of China into the one China principle or one China advocacy. That is because the big roof concept of China was one China advocacy to begin with. Actually the two sides were already engage in big roof concept of China thinking. In 2000, Qian Qichen's "new three statements" was seen as just such a big roof concept. On Taiwan, scholars such as Chang Ya-chung advocate "one China, three constitutions." This too may be regarded as a big roof concept.
Elements on both sides have voiced opposition to the big roof concept of China. On Taiwan, some oppose the one China points of linkage. Others suggest that ECFA represents a final limit to linkage that we must not go beyond. But Taiwan independence has already proven impossible. The Republic of China must find a foothold under the aegis of one China. But the notion that "one China is the Republic of China" is a hard sell. Therefore the big roof concept of China is the best option for the Republic of China. If we cling to "one China is the Republic of China" and "one China, different interpretations," we will eventually end up boiled alive like the frog in the well-known anecdote.
Some on the Mainland are also skeptical about the big roof concept of China. They say this is merely the "two states theory" in a different guise. But the "two states theory" does not advocate a peace agreement signed under the big roof concept of China. In fact, the big roof concept of China is a plus for Beijing as well. One. Beijing knows that reunification is difficult. That is why it now speaks of "political relations under yet to be reunified conditions," and of a peace agreement. Two. Reunification is actually a giant albatross around Beijing's neck. It Is a "commitment quagmire" from which it cannot extricate itself. Let us establish political relations under yet to be reunified conditions. This will benefit Beijing, both within and without the Mainland region. Three. Write the big roof concept of China into law. This will move it beyond the 1992 consensus. One might consider it an upgraded version of the 1992 consensus. Four. In 2016 the political situation on Taiwan will be unpredictable. It may be impossible to establish political relations under a yet to be reunified China conditions. The two sides would descend into reunification vs. independence wrangling.
Under the big roof concept of China, the two sides will be able to common ground while shelving differences. Do not wait until 2016, only to find ourselves trapped. By then It will too late for regrets. .
2012.12.14 02:03 am