United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 12, 2015
Executive Summary: Taiwan's democracy may be highly lively, but it is also extremely shallow. The reaction to the Ma Xi summit has made that quite clear. The Ma Xi summit was universally applauded by the international community, except on Taiwan, where it was excoriated by the opposition DPP. Tsai Ing-wen accused the Ma Xi summit of attempting to limit the Taiwan people's options. The opposite is true. The Democratic Progressive Party's politics of hate is destroying Taiwan. Its brutal violence preludes any positive outcome. The DPP is the political party that is inflicting the greatest harm upon Taiwan's democracy.
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Taiwan's democracy may be highly lively, but it is also extremely shallow. The reaction to the Ma Xi summit has made that quite clear. The Ma Xi summit was universally applauded by the international community, except on Taiwan, where it was excoriated by the opposition DPP. Tsai Ing-wen accused the Ma Xi summit of attempting to limit the Taiwan people's options. The opposite is true. The Democratic Progressive Party's politics of hate is destroying Taiwan. Its brutal violence preludes any positive outcome. The DPP is the political party that is inflicting the greatest harm upon Taiwan's democracy.
The Ma Xi summit was fundamentally unequal. But the greatest inequality had nothing to do with policy details such as Xi Jinping's reference to the "Chinese people" or Ma Ying-jeou's belated reference to the "Republic of China". It had nothing to do with the Mainland's universal expressions of approval for Xi Jinping or unvoiced disapproval. It had nothing to do with Ma Ying-jeou returning home to report on his trip, only to be confronted with opposition attacks. The greatest inequality had nothing to do with the two sides' unequal status, or the difference in the two sides' systems. The greatest inequality had to do with the two sides' mindsets. This difference in mindset is twofold. One. Confidence in oneself. Two. Vision for the future.
One. First consider how the Ma Xi summit came about. Leaders from the two sides had sufficient self-confidence to proceed. President Ma successfully promoted cross-Strait exchanges for seven years, creating a bridge for cross-Strait peace. Xi Jinping, backed by the rise of Mainland China and the consolidation of his power base, also had the necessary self-confidence. He was happy to resolve the 66 year long cross-Strait standoff, and extend an olive branch to Taipei. The problem is that confidence in democracy on Taiwan has declined in recent years. Past confidence that the "Three Principles will reunify China" has become current anxiety that Taiwan will "be reunified” involuntarily. The change in mindset is obvious. Hence the chronic fear of being “demeaned” or “sold out”. Ma Ying-jeou's status as a “wai sheng ren” (person from outside province) makes him guilty of “original sin”.
Two. The Taiwan side has long lacked allies with whom we can conduct political, economic, and other exchanges on an equal footing. The public on Taiwan sees diplomacy as one of two extremes. The first is clutching the apron strings of a major power such as the United States, for protection. The second is throwing money at small nations to avoid losing diplomatic allies. Given this mindset, many people on Taiwan did not know how to respond to the Ma Xi summit. The Chinese mainland is a political and economic rival as well as a partner. We can neither clutch its apron strings, nor throw money at it.
The Ma Xi summit convened a cross-Strait peace ceremony. Ma and Xi spoke frankly about the 1992 consensus, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a cross-Strait hotline, and other matters of concern. Leaders from the two sides met for the very first time. Yet they achieved so much. This was no easy feat. Predictably the DPP latched on to President Ma's pre-summit remarks, and denounced the summit for limiting the people of Taiwan's choices. It even initiated a witch hunt against him. Is the DPP so afraid the summit might undermine the DPP's election prospects that it feels compelled to twist the facts? Or is the DPP's “us vs. them” mindset so deeply ingrained that it has lost all ability to affirm the achievements of others?
In recent years, many have found Taiwan politics increasingly intolerable. The main reason is that politics no longer seems capable of solving society's problems. Instead it has become a major source of pollution for peoples' minds. Consider some of the terms commonly used in political discourse. Criticize. Heckle. Ridicule. Slap in the face. Denounce. Obstruct. Mock. All these terms reek of negativity. The “politics of vilification” permeates the atmosphere, from the political arena to television talk shows to Internet forums. People cannot escape. They feel suffocated. The Ma Xi summit won the approval of nearly half the public. The international community was even more enthusiastic. Yet within Taiwan's political arena, all we heard was overwhelming green camp condemnation. Were they really making a fair and rational evaluation? Ironically, the opposition DPP condemns the Ma Xi summit for "selling out Taiwan". But it simultaneously complains that Beijing did not take the opportunity to grant more major concessions. The DPP actually thinks international diplomacy can be conducted in the same absurdly hypocritical manner as domestic politics. The DPP thinks it can scream for blood even as it pleads for bargains.
Over the past seven years, the Taiwan Strait has been at peace. People have forgotten the era of "checkbook diplomacy". They have forgotten the embarrassment and horror of Chen Shui-bian's diplomatic “lost voyage”. Even more worrisome is Taiwan's more recent political self-destruction and economic stagnation. It has made Taiwan even more divided and weak. Every time the ruling party attempts to take a step forward, it gets dragged back to the starting line. Every time the government does something beneficial for Taiwan, the opposition uses every tactic at its disposal to discredit the achievement. Every time the government achieves something of value, opposition led mobs curse it as evil incarnate. Has Taiwan really not progresse over all these years? Or have we merely lost the ability to recognize its all too rare achievements?
We cannot claim that the Ma Xi summit left behind a grand legacy. But the two sides have been divided for 66 years. Leaders from the two sides sat down and held talks in good faith. That is not nothing. At the very least the summit symbolized a common yearning for cross-Strait peace. Must even this small achievement be trampled into the dust? For what motive? We know the DPP has political dreams of its own. We only hope that its dreams are not predicated on the destruction of other peoples' dreams.
「馬習會」受到國際社會一致的肯定，唯獨在台灣， 卻遭到在野黨聲嘶力竭的詆毀和質疑。蔡英文認為， 馬習會企圖框架台灣人民未來的選擇；但反過來看， 民進黨利用惡意政治來消磨台灣，對任何正向成果皆粗暴抹殺， 這恐怕是對民主更大的戕害。
並不在習近平會前說了「民族」大義、馬英九卻到會中才提到「 中華民國」等諸如此類的策略細節； 也不在中國大陸對於習近平的表現一片稱好或敢怒不敢言， 而馬英九回國得向民眾說明及面對在野黨的連串攻擊等等。亦即， 馬習會最大的不對等，並不在兩岸體制之異，而是在兩岸心態之差。 這包括兩個面向：一是心理上的自信與否， 二是看待大局的眼光寬窄。
馬總統自信其任內七年推動兩岸交流的政績， 可以成為穩定兩岸未來的和平之橋； 而習近平挾中國崛起和大權鞏固之自信， 則樂意為化解兩岸六十六年敵意伸出橄欖枝。問題在於， 民主台灣近年的社會自信卻在降低，從當年「三民主義統一中國」 的豪氣，到今天許多人擔心「被統一」的焦慮， 明顯看出心態上的變化，因而不時懷有「被矮化」、「被出賣」 的恐懼，馬英九的「外省籍」身分則成為他被質疑的原罪。
台灣人民看待外交的方式通常流於兩種極端：一類是必須「抱大腿」 的強權，例如美國；另一類則是必須「撒錢」以維繫邦交數目的「 小國」。在這種心態下，要如何面對像中國大陸這樣既懷有敵意、 卻又政經關係密切的對手，既無法抱其大腿、又無法撒錢消災， 對許多人而言，便不知如何拿捏其標準。
並觸及九二共識、亞投行、兩岸熱線等人民關切之事； 兩岸領導人初次會面有此成果，堪稱不易。孰料， 民進黨卻抓緊馬總統在會前會的演說， 不斷誣指其框限台灣人民選擇，甚至大加撻伐。這種態度， 不論是民進黨擔心影響選情而必須極力扭曲事實以扳回一城， 抑或在民進黨的利己排他思維中，已失去了肯定他人成就的能力？
是政治似乎不再有解決社會現實問題的能力， 卻反而成為國內散播各類惡意的主要來源，汙染人民心智。 且看這些年民眾最常用的字眼，除了批、嗆、諷、罵，就是打臉、 痛斥、杯葛、嘲諷等負面語詞；這股「詛咒政治」的肅殺之氣， 從政壇蔓延到電視和網路，讓人無所遁逃，也感到難以呼吸。 這次馬習會，獲得了近半數民意的支持，國際社會肯定有加； 但在政壇，卻只迎得綠營鋪天蓋地的譴責，這難道是公允、 理性的評價？可笑的是，在野黨一方面詆毀馬習會「賣台」， 一方面又嫌對岸未能趁此大手筆釋放「利多」； 這種荒謬矛盾的心態，真的以為國際外交都可以和國內政治一樣， 可以殺聲震天地追擊或秤斤論兩地喊價嗎？
陳水扁時代的「外交迷航」的可恥與驚駭。更讓人擔憂的是， 這些年台灣在政治上的自殘和經濟上的停滯，也把台灣帶向更分歧、 更無力進展的境地。每次執政黨邁開一步，很快就會被拖回原地； 每次政府創造了一點成就，立刻就會被反對黨用各種抹黑戰術塗銷； 每次好不容易寫下一點佳話，就會被群起而攻的詛咒渲染成惡德。 台灣這些年真的是毫無進境嗎？ 還是我們已經失去承認少許美好的能力？
但在分隔六十六年之後，兩岸領導人能坐下來抱著善意展開會談， 絕非尋常之舉，那至少象徵著兩岸人民和平發展的共同嚮往。那麼， 連這麼一點善意都想要加以踐踏的人，到底居心何在？ 我們並不懷疑民進黨有其政治夢想， 只希望它的夢想能不以搗毀別人的夢想為前提！