Let Zhang Zhijun see Taiwan's Most Beautiful Scenery
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 24, 2014
Summary: Both sides of the Strait see Zhang Zhijun's trip as a "journey of
connection." This should be enough. The man is a guest. Zhang's visit is
an expression of goodwill and sincerity, of rationality and pragmatism.
Both sides have room to grow and learn. But certain DPP fringe
elements, including student movement and social action groups, political
parties, and politicians, have already vowed to make trouble. The ROC
Constitution protects people's right to protest. But can they exercise
their rights in an orderly manner? Can they express their ideas in a
rational fashion? Can they prevent things from getting out of control?
Or worse, will they deliberately emphasize their irrational and violent
side, and put all of Taiwan to shame? It all hinges on a momentary whim.
The government must proved that it is determined to ensure the safety
and dignity of visitors.
Full Text Below:
Mainland Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun will visit Taiwan tomorrow. This is an important event in cross-Strait history. If all goes well, government offices facilitating contacts between the two sides will be formalized. This has important implications for peaceful cross-Strait relations. This is a healthy development for both Taiwan, the Mainland, and the international community. It should be encouraged. Cross-Strait relations will experience ups and downs. There could be another change in ruling parties. But unless someone deliberately sabotages cross-Strait relations, they are unlikely to suffer a major setback. No wonder the visit has attracted attention both at home and abroad.
A successful visit to Taiwan by Zhang Zhijun would be a great achievement for authorities on both sides of the Strait, as well as the public on Taiwan. Therefore it must be given a chance to succeed. The time, the place, the participants, and the agenda of the visit will required careful planning. Many factors, substantive and symbolic, must be taken into account. Observers should not read too much into the visit. They should keep things as simple as possible. Nevertheless the visit will be an important moment in the history of cross-Strait relations, rife special political significance. The two sides will not sign any agreements. That has been confirmed. But will Zhang Zhijun come bearing gifts? Will Beijing offer unilateral concessions that benefit both sides? That remains to be seen.
Zhang Zhijun will deliberately avoid Taipei City, known as "the nation's capital." He will not meet with any senior central government officials other than Wang Yu-chi. He has yet to acknowledge the olive branch extended by DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen, who advocates Taiwan independence. Instead, he is preparing to meet with city mayors Eric Chu, Jason Hu, and Chen Chu. These three are blue and green camp leaders. Their numbers reflect the strength of the two political parties. This arrangement was the result of careful calculation, and conveys an important message. Beijing is clearly handling the matters with some delicacy. This inevitably reminds us of what the CCP leadership once said. It said that foreign affairs and Taiwan affairs are no small matter. Everything must be viewed from a strategic perspective in order to promote the national interest. It was not lying. It has done what it said it would.
The STA controversy that erupted on Taiwan has been a blow to cross-Strait relations. The CCP has reached its own internal conclusions. But externally, it has reacted with exceptional calm and rationality. It uttered no denunciations. It even expressed a willingness to listen to people from different walks of life on Taiwan. Zhang Zhijun is deliberately avoiding Taipei. He is deliberately not meeting with high officials and business tycoons. Instead he is comporting himself with modesty. He is visiting southern Taiwan in order to get close to the people. He is meeting with people from all strata of society. Clearly the Mainland considers the feelings of the "san zhong yi qing," or "three middles and one young" important. It is reaching out to southern Taiwan and to the middle and lower classes. It is walking the walk, not merely talking the talk. The CCP is behaving rationally and pragmatically vis a vis Taiwan. Its critics should acknowledge what it is doing.
Zhang Zhijun will visit Hsiaoling Village and Fo Guang Shan. The Mainland clearly understands Taiwan. The former was the hardest hit area when Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan. The latter is the center of Buddhism in southern Taiwan. Zhang Zhijun is demonstrating the CCP's concern for the disadvantaged on Taiwan. He is affirming the socialization of religion on Taiwan. The power of public opinion and the socialization of religion on Taiwan, its concern for the public, has positively impacted the climate of violence, the future of the Mainland, and the role of NGOs in civil society. Taiwan's experience may provide the Mainland with a mirror.
Finally, consider the DPP's dilemma. The DPP seeks to undergo transformation. It seeks to change its image of kneejerk hatred for Mainland China. It has announced that it will not incite mob violence against Zhang Zhijun during his visit. Recently rumors have emerged that the DPP intends to freeze the "Taiwan independence party platform." If these become reality, that is a good thing. They are at least a step in the right direction. But Pollyanna-ish expectations would be premature.
The DPP and its supporters have never cared for anything other than political power. As long as the DPP refuses to forsake its commitment to separatism. its "reforms" will remain lip service and election rhetoric. Observers will continue to "listen to what it says, and look at what it does."
Both sides of the Strait see Zhang Zhijun's trip as a "journey of connection." This should be enough. The man is a guest. Zhang's visit is an expression of goodwill and sincerity, of rationality and pragmatism. Both sides have room to grow and learn. But certain DPP fringe elements, including student movement and social action groups, political parties, and politicians, have already vowed to make trouble. The ROC Constitution protects people's right to protest. But can they exercise their rights in an orderly manner? Can they express their ideas in a rational fashion? Can they prevent things from getting out of control? Or worse, will they deliberately emphasize their irrational and violent side, and put all of Taiwan to shame? It all hinges on a momentary whim. The government must proved that it is determined to ensure the safety and dignity of visitors.