Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Student Movement Anti-Climax: Mere Taiwan Independence After All

Student Movement Anti-Climax: Mere Taiwan Independence After All
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
A Translation
April 10, 2014

Summary: The student movement's "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight: Peoples Edition" has turned out to be nothing more than an "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight: Taiwan Independence Edition." This has to be the biggest anticlimax of the 3/18 student movement. So all the fuss was about Taiwan independence after all.

Full text below:

The student movement's "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight: Peoples Edition" has turned out to be nothing more than an "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight: Taiwan Independence Edition." This has to be the biggest anticlimax of the 3/18 student movement. So all the fuss was about Taiwan independence after all.

The student movement proposes to "legislate first, review last." The "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight: Peoples Edition" has been renamed the "Articles Defining Cross-Strait Agreements." It adopts a "two states theory" framework. Its purpose is to make future cross-strait agreements impossible. It attempts to nullify agreements already signed. This "Peoples Edition" is the student movement's political manifesto. It is the student movement's "Taiwan independence with a different label."

Why must Taiwan independence advocates torment the public on Taiwan so? The DPP need only declare that if it returns to power, it will rescind Article 16 of ECFA. Everything will revert to zero. Why even bother promoting this "Articles to Prevent Cross-Strait Agreements" bill?

The mass psychology informing the student movement is not Taiwan independence, per se. Rather it is younger generation anxiety and discontent. It is fear and suspicion of cross-strait exchanges, rooted in indecision and anxiety about the future. Several student movement members revealed long-repressed emotions. They inadvertently showed everyone why they reverted to the promotion of Taiwan independence. This was a disappointing anticlimax.

Fear and suspicion of cross-strait exchanges is ubiquitous among the Taiwan public. Many who support the CSSTA are as wary as those who oppose it. The difference is not whether they are wary. The difference is in their responses. Supporters of the CSSTA welcome the challenges of globalization. They seek to use globalization to control cross-strait relations. Opponents of the CSSTA meanwhile, run from the Mainland, avoid the Mainland, run from globalization, run from globalization. Eventually this leads them to a Closed Door Policy and Taiwan independence. Hence the "Articles for Cross-Strait Agreemen Oversight: Taiwan Independence Edition."

Speaking from Ketegelan Boulevard, Lin Fei-fan said, "Our actions have redefined relations between Taiwan and [Mainland] China." What was his "redefinition?" Was it "avoid haste, exercise restraint?" Was it the "rectification of names?" Was it "one country on each side?" Was it seeking a high two-thirds supermajority threshold to prevent the passage of any cross-strait agreements? This provision was concealed in the "Peoples Edition" of his "redefinition." Has any "redefinition" proved to be anything other than an "old and unworkable definition?" How are they in any way "new?"

The student movement has opened up a can of worms. Movement instigators mistakenly believed or led others to believe that "Taiwan independence under a different label" somehow amounts to a problem solving "redefinition." But the real problem facing Taiwan is globalization. Cross-strait relations make Taiwan's globalization more complex. But refusing to confront the reality of the Mainland will only make globalization impossible. Without globalization, Taiwan will have nothing by which to restrain the Mainland. Therefore Taiwan must choose. It must decide whether to meet the challenges or to retreat. Close observation reveals that the student movement's anti-Ma sentiment is merely disguised anti-[Mainland] China sentiment. Sinophobia is in fact widespread among the public on Taiwan. But a Sinophobic mindset is a defeatist mindset. It is impossible to accomplish anything constructive from a defeatist mindset. It is impossible to "redefine" cross-strait relations, or formulate a global survival strategy from a defeatist mindset. Embark on the path towards Taiwan independence, and one is lost.

The student movement has not offered any new countermeasures by which to oppose the Mainland or resist the Mainland. It has merely spun anti-Ma sentiment as countermeasures against Mainland influence. It has merely spun anti-KMT sentiment as countermeasures against the CCP. It has merely transformed the same tired Sinophobia into brutal infighting. The student movement has merely reverted to the promotion of Taiwan independence. The student movement was highly dramatic. But it merely reenacted the same tired Taiwan independence dog and pony show. It failed to offer anything new.

The movement made media stars of two twenty something student leaders. But if that is all it did, the price was too high. If student movement participants and observers look back, they will find that the student movement merely trotted out the same old Taiwan independence phobia and defeatism. At best the experience deepended everyone's political understanding.

The student movement wants to make the "Articles Defining Cross-Strait Agreements" the legal imprimateur of the Sunflower student movement. Whether this is possible will depend on the persistence of key student movement players. The legislature may engage in Blue vs. Green battles over the proposed legislation. Nevertheless it is probably a non-starter. If key student movement players demand legislative passage, the conflict will be even more difficult to resolve.

The "globalist generation" faces a hard road ahead. Spain has no cross-strait issues. Yet youth unemployment has reached 57.7%. For the Eurozone the figure is 24.2%. Therefore young people on Taiwan must realize that globalization and cross-strait issues are not the creation of Ma Ying-jeou. Blaming him will not solve difficult cross-strait and globalization problems. Failure to confront the challenge of globalization will make it difficult to control cross-strait relations. Therefore, the younger generation on Taiwan must not adopt a defeatist Sinophobic, anti-globalist mentality. It must realize cross-strait and global coopetition requires a determination to fight. It is not that one must think of winning. It is that losing is unthinkable.

2014.04.10 03:54 am












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