Civil War Justifications Vanish, Cross-Strait Relations Flourish
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 8, 2013
Summary: Cross-strait relations must be redefined. They were once understood as part of a KMT vs. CCP Civil War. They must now be understood as an issue of human civilization. Xi Jinping said that "One's vision determines one's horizons, one's thinking determines one's path." The civil war of 1949 determined our path. But future cross-Strait relations will be the relationship between pearls on the same string.
Full text below:
Beijing policy advisor Zheng Bijian commented on cross-strait relations. He said "One's vision determines one's horizons, one's thinking determines one's path."
Cross-strait relations must be redefined. They were once understood as part of a KMT vs. CCP Civil War. They must now be understood as an issue of human civilization.
In a previous editorial, we said the civil war was a zero sum game. It was an either/or, you or me proposition. Human civilization, on the other hand, is inclusive. Human civilization is like a string of pearls on a necklace.
There were two main reasons for the 1949 civil war. 1. The KMT government was exhausted by the War of Resistance against Japan. When the war ended, it fell prey to corruption and misgovernance. 2. The Chinese Communist Party made the Chinese people promises. It painted an ideal, it offered them a vision. In other words, the civil war was fought over "Whither China?" In this fight, the KMT lost to the CCP.
Alas, once the CCP assumed power, the Mainland fell victim to the Three Antis and Five Antis Campaigns, the Three Red Flags, and the Cultural Revolution. One might say that the CCP won the civil war, but lost its ideals. Suppose the Chinese Communist Party had proclaimed from the outset that its "idealism" required waging the Three Antis and Five Antis Campaigns, the Three Red Flags, and the Cultural Revolution? Would it still would have won the civil war? Conversely, by the time the government of the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan, it had already implemented the White Terror and martial law. These were hardly the Three Peoples Principles that it trumpeted during the civil war.
In other words, the civil war was fought over the question, "Whither China?" Leave aside the matter of which side won or lost. The civil war did not achieve the desired results. On the contrary, the civil war merely cost people on both sides more blood and tears. In particular, the Chinese mainland nearly collapsed during the 1970s.
Sixty-four years ago, in 1949, on this very day, the very first liberal democracy in China's history made its debut. The People's Republic of China, a rising great power, also made its debut that year. These debuts were not the result of the 1949 civil war. They were the result of a national rebirth that took place on both sides of the Strait in the wake of the civil war -- a rebirth paid for in blood and tears.
The Republic of China is no longer a symbol of the debacle and humiliation of 1949. The People's Republic of China is no longer the embodiment of the ideals and vision of 1949. "Whither China" remains the question. But civil war is no longer the answer. Therefore no one can say that 64 years later, the justifications for the civil war of 1949 remain.
In other words, today, 64 years later, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, can no longer use the justifications cited in 1949 to continue waging civil war. The question for both sides remains "Whither China?" But the answer is no longer civil war. Leave aside the justifications and consequences of the civil war of 1949. From today's perspective, everything above is subject to criticism. The justifications offered were deceptive and false. The consequences were painful and bitter.
The justifications for the civil war have vanished. Cross-Strait relations should no longer be seen as a zero sum game, asn an either/or, life or death proposition. Instead, we should perceive it as a string of pearls. Today the civil war has one remaining value. It can teach. The two sides have been governed separately as a result of the civil war of 1949. A peace agreement can now be signed, with the civil war as a cautionary tale. A "democratic China/Republic of China" and a "socialist China/People's Republic of China" can now be regarded as pearls on a string. This is the answer to the question, "Whither China?" This peace agreement can be rooted in the "big roof concept of China." The relationship between the two sides need not be a zero sum game. It need not be an either/or, life or death proposition. It should be the relationship between pearls on the same string.
Today, the justification for the civil war has vanished. The substance of the civil war has vanished along with it. The children of Taiwan businessmen who attend the Dongguan Elementary School, read Republic of China textbooks. Tens of thousands of Mainland tourists return to the Mainland with pineapple cakes made on Taiwan. This pearl to pearl relationship is not a zero sum game. It is not an either/or, life or death proposition. The title of this article underscores why the justifications for the civil war have vanished, and why cross-Strait relations are flourishing. Flourishing cross-Strait relations is not merely a vision. It is a concrete reality on the streets of Taipei and Beijing.
Many nations have been divided. Such scenes were unknown in East and West Germany. They are even rarer in North and South Korea. But East and West Germany never regarded each other as a foreign country. North and South Korea are both members of the UN. The "big roof" theory works. Should cross-strait relations be an exception? Why must we cling to this either/or, life or death, zero sum game "civil war" relationship? Have we still not learned a lesson from the 1949 civil war? Do people still cling to an either/or, life or death, zero sum game relationship?
Xi Jinping said that "One's vision determines one's horizons, one's thinking determines one's path." The civil war of 1949 determined our path. But future cross-Strait relations will be the relationship between pearls on the same string.
2013.04.08 02:47 am