United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 26, 2014
Summary: Scotland and Hong Kong have shown that cross-Strait problems are more complex, both conceptually and methodologically. The Republic of China is undoubtedly a common asset for both sides. Therefore Beijing must not cling to the notion of destroying the Republic of China. If a Ma Xi Meeting can be held, the two sides can avoid at least two decades of suffering. Without a Ma Xi Meeting, Beijing might destroy the Republic of China amidst a Pyrrhic victory. Does Beijing possess the wisdom and compassion? Does it realize that if it passes up the opportunity to hold a Ma Xi Meeting, any future regret will be too late?
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The hope that Beijing would use the APEC Meeting in November to arrange a Ma Xi Meeting has been shattered. But champions of the meeting have not given up trying. If Beijing passes up the opportunity to hold a Ma Xi Meeting, any future regret will be too late.
As the saying goes, "Follow the mandate of heaven and comply with the will of the people." An historical trend is the mandate of heaven. Public opinion is the will of the people. Any solution to cross-Straits problems requires following the mandate of heaven and complying with the will of the people. It must not defy the mandate of heaven and ignore the will of the people. The Ma Xi Meeting can be a meeting of "heaven and man," as well as a meeting of "history and public opinion." Pass up this rare opportunity, and another one may never come along.
Any solution to cross-Strait problems must go with the flow of history. Modern and contemporary history has witnessed two waves of national self-determination. The first wave began at the end of World War II, in 1945. It was primarily motivated by calls for national self-determination. The second wave began with the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, and in 1991, when the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact imploded. It was motivated primarily by the desire to overthrow a Communist dictatorship and establish political self-determination. Cross-Strait issues cannot be resolved by means of a "Taiwan independence referendum." But neither is it possible to stifle some form of "reunification referendum." This can be regarded as a form of "self-determination." This is a cross-Strait historical trend. This is a watershed for human civilization, democracy, and human rights that cannot be avoided.
Leave aside for the moment international opinion on the Scottish independence referendum. It was undoubtedly a positive example for human civilization, political rights, and democratic rule. By the same token, any solution for cross-Strait problems must also adhere to the requirements of human civilization. They must not lead to a tragedy for history, civilization, and democracy.
Furthermore, the solution to cross-Strait problems must comply with public opinion. Take the situation in Hong Kong for example. The political system is at odds with its value system. This is not something that rhetorical attacks, military intimidation, or financial inducements can reconcile. This is especially true when public opinion merges with historical trends. Defying the mandate of heaven and ignoring the will of the people will only make the situation harder to resolve. Public opinion in Hong Kong is "merely" fighting for genuine universal suffrage. Yet the wrangling has already led to an impasse. How would Beijing deal with public opinion on Taiwan during the upcoming sixth presidential election for the Republic of China?
Can the two sides find a solution? Will they remain deadlocked over the existence of the Republic of China? Is an APEC Ma Xi Meeting possible? Is the meeting also stuck on the Republic of China? What solution to cross-Strait problems does Beijing seek, in its heart of hearts? Does it want a one China erected on the grave of the Republic of China? Such a solution would be a catastrophe and tragedy for history, civilization, democracy, and human rights. This refusal to recognize the Republic of China, this determination to destroy the Republic of China, makes Beijing hesitant to support an APEC Ma Xi Meeting. Beijing is afraid to lend credence to the "Two States Theory," by acknowledging the existence of both the ROC and . the PRC. Can Beijing free its thinking and embrace realism, as Deng Xiaoping urged and Beijing recently reaffirmed? Can it embrace a one China solution that preserves the Republic of China? Such a solution would follow the mandate of heaven and comply with the will of the people. Under such a "big roof concept of China," both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China would be part of China. Why couldn't such a vision be realized at an APEC Ma Xi Meeting?
Beijing hopes to use the Republic of China to guard against Taiwan independence. Yet it refuses to admit that the Republic of China is part of China. It merely affirms that both the Mainland and Taiwan are part of one China. This encourages relentless attempts at "backdoor listing" on Taiwan. This has become the main reason the public on Taiwan finds it difficult to identify with "one China," and to refer to themselves as Chinese. The UDN News has advocated the "water glass theory." Taiwan is the water, the ROC is the glass. As long as the glass remains intact, the water in the glass will remain in place. Once the glass is shattered, the water will spill out everywhere. This theory remains true under "one China, different interpretations" or the "big roof concept of China." Therefore any cross-Strait solution should preserve the ROC as part of one China.
Can Beijing shift its thinking from destroying the Republic of China in order to ensure one China, to preserving the Republic of China to ensure one China? Must it back away from an APEC Ma Xi Meeting? If such a meeting can take place, couldn't authorities on both sides refer to the APEC Ma Xi Meeting as a "test case?" Ma Ying-jeou could attend the meeting as a "Chinese Taipei Economic Leader" and "leader of Taiwan." Sundry ceremonies and activities could be negotiated and planned by both sides. This flexible international/domestic context could give "one China" new meaning. Cross-Strait relations could benefit from new thinking and be given a new vitality. This could even establish a new model for political conflict resolution. A Ma Xi Meeting would not be just another meeting. It would affect how civilized society thinks.
Beijing's mistake is to see an APEC Ma Xi Meeting as a stage on which Taiwan might enact some sort of political theater. It has missed the greater importance of this meeting to the ruling government and political opposition on the Mainland. This meeting could free up Beijing's thinking and enable it to embrace realism. It could be an opportunity for the two sides to think anew. It is possible that Beijing realizes this is a golden opportunity, but lacks leaders of sufficient wisdom, strength, and compassion to make new choices and extricate the two sides from their never-ending struggle.
Scotland and Hong Kong have shown that cross-Strait problems are more complex, both conceptually and methodologically. The Republic of China is undoubtedly a common asset for both sides. Therefore Beijing must not cling to the notion of destroying the Republic of China. If a Ma Xi Meeting can be held, the two sides can avoid at least two decades of suffering. Without a Ma Xi Meeting, Beijing might destroy the Republic of China amidst a Pyrrhic victory. Does Beijing possess the wisdom and compassion? Does it realize that if it passes up the opportunity to hold a Ma Xi Meeting, any future regret will be too late?
2014.09.26 02:05 am