Elegy to a Bronze Statue:
Cross-Strait Points of Connection and Contention
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
March 4, 2014
Summary: Taiwan independence is on a dead end path. This has nothing to do with whether Tang Tak Cheung Park has a bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen. It was the result of global, cross-strait, and internal trends. The only way Taiwan can survive is to confront the existence of the Mainland, and to rehabilitate the ROC and Sun Yat-sen as points of connection and contention. This will enable us to seek prosperity, a win/win relationship, and equal justice under the big roof concept of China.
Full text below:
Consider the global and national situation. Taiwan must adopt a different cross-strait strategy. It must forsake "de-Sinicization" and acknowledge the reality of Mainland China. This is the only chance it has to survive.
A statue of Sun Yat-sen was recently pulled down at a traffic circle in Tainan. Taiwan independence elements may regard this as a kind of victory. In fact, it represents the end of the Taiwan independence path. On today's Taiwan, Taiwan independence can be made part of a political party's party charter. Taiwan independence elements may demonstrate in the streets. They may even stand for public office, including the presidency. People may vote for Taiwan independence political parties and candidates. A Taiwan independence president may demagogue Taiwan independence issues, such as the "rectification of names." But under our democracy, Taiwan independence is becoming weaker and weaker. The act of pulling down the statue may have offered a savage catharsis. But it also showed that Taiwan independence had arrived at a dead end.
The Taiwan independence movement rose to power on a wave of democratization. But during democratization, Taiwan independence became more and more flagrantly anti-democratic. As mentioned earlier, the Republic of China's democratic framework gave Taiwan independence elements a stage on which they could do as they pleased. They could even engage in a democratic contest with the Republic of China. But Taiwan independence elements are unwilling to tolerate even a statue of Sun Yat-sen. The Tainan traffic circle was a political symbol, one supported by most of the public on Taiwan. Today, Taiwan independence elements refuse to tolerate Sun Yat-sen. But Sun Yat-sen is a political icon whom most people on Taiwan support. Can Taiwan independence elements picture opponents of Taiwan independence pulling down a statue of Tang Tak Cheung? For the record, Tang Tak Cheung was not a Taiwan independence advocate. This "elegy to a bronze statue" merely underscores the Taiwan independence elements' anti-democratic mentality.
The Taiwan independence movement has reached the end of its road. The main reason was that Taiwan independence elements misjudged the global and cross-strait strategic situation. Taiwan independence elements see Sun Yat-sen and the Republic of China as points of connection between the two sides, within the "one China framework." In order to "de-Sinicize" Taiwan, they want to sever these points of connection. But these points of connection are also the chief guarantors of cross-strait peaceful development. They are also Taiwan's chief defenses within the "one China framework."
Today, few if any Green Camp politicians publicly advocate a "Republic of Taiwan" to resist the People's Republic of China. The Taiwan independence movement has already switched strategies. It now stoops to "backdoor listing." It asserts that "The ROC is one nation on one side, while the PRC is a separate nation on the other side." It attempts to sever the points of connection between the two sides. This is the psychology behind the Taiwan independence elements who pulled down the bronze statue. Lai Ching-teh was among them. On the one hand, Lai called for the removal of the statue of Sun Yat-sen. On the other hand, he presided over the ROC flag-raising ceremony, and visited Hong Kong in order to promote Mainland trade with Tainan. His mask slipped and his contradictions became apparent.
Exploiting the Republic of China to defend against Beijing depends primarily on Sun Yat-sen, the Three People's Principles, and the Constitution of the Republic of China. Taiwan independence elements have trampled Sun Yat-sen underfoot. Yet Sun is precisely the point of connection and point of contention that Taiwan can best use to hold off Beijing. In other words, one must transform the points of connection into leverage by which one can maintain Taiwan's security.
Taiwan's cross-strait policy cannot revert to Taiwan independence. Su Tseng-chang himself acknowledged this. In other words, it is impossible to continue down the Taiwan independence path, with its "one nation on each side" rhetoric and "backdoor listing" tactics. Instead, we must strive to strengthen the hand of the Republic of China within the "one China framework." The "one China framework" is in fact the "ROC vs. PRC framework." We must seek a solution within the points of connection and points of contention. Taiwan's most valuable asset in seeking a solution is Sun Yat-sen's ideology, including the ROC Constitution. If the Republic of China disowns Sun Yat-sen's ideology, then within the "one China framework" it will not be a match for the People's Republic of China.
Taiwan independence elements insist that "One China is the People's Republic of China." But such assertions cannot sever the points of connection. They merely forfeit our own leverage. In fact, the more they advocate Taiwan independence, and the more they poormouth the Republic of China and Sun Yat-sen, the more they affirm that "One China is the People's Republic of China." The more they make it difficult for the ROC to compete with the PRC within the "one China framework." This sort of Taiwan independence has gone from a "Save Taiwan Movement" to an "End Taiwan Movement."
Chen Chu has dismembered the bronze statue of Chiang Kai- Chen. It has been broken into eight pieces. That statue cannot be put back together again. It now resides at "Back Chihu." Mainland scholars studying Chiang's diaries have began a movement to vindicate Chiang. Now, under Lai Ching-teh, Sun Yat-sen's statue has been pulled down. Beijing is considering conceding the reality of the Republic of China. Vandalizing bronze statues will hardly sever the points of connection between the two sides. The points of connection are not really the statues. They are the intricate history and reality. If anything, vandalizing the bronze statue forfeits the leverage Taiwan needs during cross-strait wrangling. It is tantamount to political suicide. It amounts to internal subversion, and merely reveals a lack of understanding.
Does anyone remember Chen Shui-bian's change of airport names? He changed "CKS Airport" to "Taoyuan Airport." He was attempting to undermine the Republic of China, and to implement de-Sinicization. But what has been the result? Millions of visitors from the Mainland were unable to land at "CKS Airport." How foolish was this self-inflicted injury?
Taiwan independence is on a dead end path. This has nothing to do with whether Tang Tak Cheung Park has a bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen. It was the result of global, cross-strait, and internal trends. The only way Taiwan can survive is to confront the existence of the Mainland, and to rehabilitate the ROC and Sun Yat-sen as points of connection and contention. This will enable us to seek prosperity, a win/win relationship, and equal justice under the big roof concept of China.
2014.03.04 03:10 am