United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 3, 2015
Executive Summary: People think Taiwan will be compelled to reunify. Faced with this prospect, Eric Chu has chosen to stand on maintaining the status quo. The fewest number of people consider this feasible. Tsai Ing-wen has chosen to stand on Taiwan independence. The largest number of people support this. Hung Hsiu-chu, by contrast, warned against "being compelled to reunify under humiliating circumstances”. Alas, her warnings have fallen on deaf ears. How can people on Taiwan overcome their Reunification Phobia? How can the gap between subjective desires and objective expectations be bridged? Slogans will not be enough.
Full Text Below:
The Academia Sinica recently conducted a "reunification vs. independence survey”. It discovered a significant gap between peoples' wishes regarding reunification and independence, and their expectations regarding reunification vs. independence.
When asked whether they favored, opposed, or were neutral regarding reunification vs. independence, 46.4% said they favored independence. Independence ranked first among the three options. But when asked whether Taiwan would eventually be reunified, independent, or remain as it is, 49.7% thought it would be reunified. Only 35.9% thought it would become independent. Even among those who favored independence, 37% believed that Taiwan would eventually be reunified.
This survey raises three concerns. One. On today's Taiwan, a plurality of 46.4% prefers independence. Those who adopted a neutral stance, ranked second at 37.5%. The questionnaire did not use the term "maintain the status quo". Those who preferred reunification came in last, at 16.1%. Clearly independence is the dominant opinion.
Two. Up to 46.4% favored independence. Yet 49.7% predicted that Taiwan will eventually be reunified. Taiwan independence is the number one preference. Yet more people believe Taiwan will be reunified instead of becoming independent. Subjective desires and objective expectations differ. A plurality yearns for independence, but anticipates reunification.
Three. Those who favor reunification constitute a minority. At 14.4%, they constitute a even smaller minority than the 16.1% who prefer maintaining the status quo. Yet those who expect reunification constitute the largest percentage. They are unwilling to reunify, but expect reunification nonetheless. This amounts to a psychological gap. Those who expect the situation to remain the same constitute the smallest percentage. Those who expect Taiwan to be reunified constitute the largest percentage. They probably think that anyone who believes the situation will remain the same is a victim of “boiled frog syndrome”.
The survey addressed the cross-Strait policy platforms adopted during the current presidential election. Eric Chu would "maintain the status quo". He supports the 1992 consensus, one China, different interpretations, and no reunification, no independence, and no use of force. But the survey shows that those who expect the situation to remain the same constitute the smallest minority of all, at a mere 14.4%.
Tsai Ing-wen also advocates maintaining the status quo. But she refuses to recognize either the 1992 consensus or one China, different interpretations. She has yet to advocate no reunification, no independence, and no use of force. Since these amount to the status quo, how exactly does she propose to maintain it? In other words, suppose Tsai Ing-wen emerges victorious in 2016? The KMT supports the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations. Suppose it is replaced by the DPP, which refuses to recognize the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations? If “the earth moves and the mountains shake”, how exactly will Tsai "maintain the status quo"? Moreover, 46.4% yearn for independence, while 35.9% believe independence is feasible. Will Tsai Ing-wen have the guts to turn her back on these Taiwan independence supporters? Finally, 49.7% anticipate that Taiwan will be reunified. So how exactly does Tsai Ing-wen intend to fulfill the wishes of her Taiwan independence supporters?
By contrast, Hung Hsiu-chu's cross-Strait platform echoes the findings in this poll far more closely. Hung lost control over the way her cross-Strait policy platform was perceived in the media. She sprung terms such as "one China, same interpretation" and "eventual reunification" on voters. This backfired. But in fact her cross-Strait policy platform makes perfect sense. It must not be discarded merely because her campaign was derailed. Hung's campaign theme was "The Way". She knew that Taiwan independence had strong public support. But she also knew it was a dead end. She knew pressure from the Chinese mainland to reunify would only increase. Therefore she did not want Taiwan to be reunified under humiliating circumstances. Her cross-Strait policy platform was a warning.
Hung Hsiu-chu used the "compelled to reunify". The Academia Sinica poll used "compelled to reunify" in largely the same manner. This may be the first time the phrase “compelled to reunify” has appeared in any poll, particularly during a presidential election. This reflects changes in the global situation. Hung Hsiu-chu said, "I am not pro-reunification". She knew that being “pro-reunification" would make her vulnerable. But when “compelled to reunify", she proudly proclaimed, "I am reunifying them. They are not reunifying me.” She added, more quietly, that “We must not allow ourselves to be reunified under humiliating circumstances". She said the status quo is untenable. She said we must not become "gradually boiled frogs". She said the Republic of China still has an opportunity to sign a peace agreement with the Mainland. Hung Hsiu-chu's policy platform addressed public anxieties about reunification even better than those of Eric Chu and Tsai Ing-wen apparently.
Public support for independence on Taiwan is strong. But the expectation that Taiwan will be compelled to reunify is the strongest expectation of all. The most repugnant word in the phrase “compelled to reunify” is “compelled”. This objectively reveals the ebb and flow of the cross-Strait situation. It reveals the erosion of public confidence in cross-Strait policy. The public on Taiwan has little desire to reunify. Expectations that the future will be like today are even lower. Public desire for independence is strong, yet most people think Taiwan will be compelled to reunify. This is how public opinion and political reality have torn Taiwan apart. Such tears are difficult to heal. This is the main reason people think Taiwan will be compelled to reunify.
People think Taiwan will be compelled to reunify. Faced with this prospect, Eric Chu has chosen to stand on maintaining the status quo. The fewest number of people consider this feasible. Tsai Ing-wen has chosen to stand on Taiwan independence. The largest number of people support this. Hung Hsiu-chu, by contrast, warned against "being compelled to reunify under humiliating circumstances”. Alas, her warnings have fallen on deaf ears. How can people on Taiwan overcome their Reunification Phobia? How can the gap between subjective desires and objective expectations be bridged? Slogans will not be enough.
有四十六．四％選擇「獨立」，為三選項中最高者；但再被問及， 你預期兩岸未來將走向是「被統一、獨立或維持現狀」時， 卻有四十九．七％預期台灣將「被統一」，而只有三十五．九％ 預期將「獨立」。其中，當下意願選項為「獨立」者，亦有三十七％ 預期台灣將「被統一」。
獨立」者居最多（四十六．四）。持「中間立場」（問卷此處未用「 維持現狀」一詞）居次，占三十七．五。主張「統一」者居末， 僅十六．一。可見主張「獨立」目前為強勢民意。
七預估台灣未來將「被統一」。可見台獨雖為強勢民意， 卻有更多民眾認為台灣的未來走向是「被統一」，而非獨立。 在此出現了「主觀意願」與「客觀預期」的落差，想要獨立， 但預期被統一。
則是比率最低的預期走向（十四．四）。選擇「統一」者最少， 但預期「被統一」者最多，這也是一種心理落差（不願統， 但預期被統一）。而預期「維持現狀」者最少，預期「被統一」 者最多，則可能是認為維持現狀是「溫水煮青蛙」。
維持現狀」，主張「九二共識／一中各表」，「不統／不獨／不武」 。但調查顯示，預期兩岸未來能「維持現狀」者卻居最少數（十四． 四）。
也未說「不統／不獨／不武」；凡此皆非「現狀」，將如何「維持」 ？亦即，二○一六倘蔡英文勝選，台灣若由主張「九二共識／ 一中各表」的國民黨，換成以否定「九二共識／一中各表」 的民進黨主政，萬一出現「地動山搖」的情勢，將如何「維持現狀」 ？何況，獨立是四十六．四％強勢民意的選擇，且畢竟仍有三十五． 九％預期「獨立」可以實現，蔡英文如何能背棄這些廣義「台獨」 的支持者？然而，卻又有四十九．七％預期台灣將「被統一」， 試問蔡英文將如何實現台獨支持者的意願？
洪沒有能力駕御她的兩岸論述，如爆出「一中同表」「終極統一」， 終至捉襟見肘；但她的論述主軸其實不無道理， 不能因她選戰失敗就廢其言。洪的競選主題是「道路」， 她看出了台獨是強勢民意，但不認為此路可通。 她也預期中國大陸對台灣促統的壓力將愈來愈大， 因此以台灣不要蹉跎至「在失去尊嚴的情形下被統一」， 為其兩岸論述的總結性警語。
應是同一概念。這可能是「被統一」一詞首見於民調， 也是首見於總統大選，這多少反映了世局的遞變。洪秀柱說「 我不是統派」，可見她知「統一」是弱勢民意；但面對「被統一」 的壓力，她一方面高調地說「是我統他，不是他統我」， 另一方面卻又低調地說「不能在失去尊嚴的情況下被統一」。她說， 現狀是維持不住的，「不要溫水煮青蛙」， 要在中華民國尚有機會時，與大陸簽定和平協議。如此看來， 洪秀柱的論述， 難道不比朱立倫或蔡英文更能反映此民調顯示的民間焦慮？
的「被」字最刺眼，因為這顯示了兩岸客觀情勢的消長， 及民眾對兩岸前景信心之消蝕。當台灣民眾對「統一」的意願低， 對「維持現狀」的預期亦低，且「獨立」又是強勢民意， 但又多數預期將「被統一」，這正是一個被民意及現實撕裂的台灣。 而此種難以癒合的撕裂，正是預期台灣可能「被統一」的主因之一。
蔡英文則站在最強勢的「獨立」民意上，洪秀柱的「 不能在失去尊嚴下被統一」的警語又成馬耳東風。台灣如何走出「 被統一」的焦慮，如何處理主客觀條件的落差，光憑口號是不夠的！