China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 19, 2015
Executive Summary: The public on the Mainland has long viewed national reunification as an article of faith. Chinese Communist Party propaganda once called for the liberation of Taiwan. It convinced the public on the Mainland that the Taiwan problem might need to be resolved by means of force. The proliferation of Taiwan independence separatist forces have convinced many on the Mainland that only force can ensure reunification.
Full Text Below:
The public on the Mainland has long viewed national reunification as an article of faith. Chinese Communist Party propaganda once called for the liberation of Taiwan. It convinced the public on the Mainland that the Taiwan problem might need to be resolved by means of force. The proliferation of Taiwan independence separatist forces have convinced many on the Mainland that only force can ensure reunification.
But cross-Strait peace has entered the picture. The door has been flung open to cross-Strait exchanges. People from the two sides can finally engage in extensive, in-depth interactions. Taiwanese investment on the Mainland was once a one-way street. Now people, goods, and capital can flow both ways. Given increasing two-way interaction, people on the two sides understand each other better. They value the hard-won peaceful exchange. As a result, talk of forcible reunification has gradually begun to disappear. Mainland officials rarely mention the use of force. They too consider peaceful reunification the best solution. They think buying Taiwan is better than attacking Taiwan.
But beginning with Ma Ying-jeou's second term in office, anti-Mainland sentiment on Taiwan began to increase. A series of agreements beneficial to Taiwan were blocked. Eventually the Sunflower Student Movement reached its peak. This awakened the Mainland public from its slumber. This alerted them to the Taiwan public's obstinate refusal to reunify with the Mainland. The Mainland public cannot understand why the Taiwan public remains ungrateful despite all the Mainland's concessions? The rise of Mainland China has won universal respect. The sole exception is Taiwan, which persists in viewing the Mainland with contempt and hostility.
Cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges are extensive. They are hardly limited to the Mainland's unilateral concessions to Taiwan. People on the Mainland are becoming increasingly affluent. This has bolstered their self-confidence, and intensified their yearing for global respect and equality. Therefore, negative attitudes among the Taiwan public can easily provoke resentment among the Mainland public. As a result, many now believe that the Taiwan public has become completely de-Sinicized. They have lost hope for peaceful reunification, and believe that forcible reunification is the only solution. More and more scholars on the Internet consider the reunification of Taiwan a matter of the utmost urgency. Otherwise the next generation will totally sever any remaining emotional links between Taiwan and the Mainland. Others adopt a geopolitical perspective. The rise of Mainland China will inevitably challenge US global hegemony. Taiwan is the key to the first island chain. Only by taking Taiwan can the Mainland break through the US first island chain, and utterly transform the geopolitical landscape.
Of course such statements cannot be considered public opinion on the Mainland. Many who advocate forcible reunification also note the high cost. This could hinder the rise of Mainland China, and even lead to the loss of strategic opportunities for growth. Therefore they still hope for peaceful reunification to avoid a lose-lose outcome. But the re-emergence of demands for forcible reunification show that more and more people on the Mainland are angry at Taiwan independence rhetoric. They are impatient because cross-Strait political relations have yet to make a real breakthrough.
The public on Taiwan should ask itself why despite a long honeymoon period, cross-Strait private sector hostility has paradoxically increased. Why have so many people on the Mainland who were once friendly toward Taiwan, now hostile. We cannot simply pass the buck to the Mainland public. We cannot simply dismiss them as uncivilized and brainwashed. Many have traveled the world over. Many are members of an elite with global vision. They have access to global information, and have actually participated in cross-Strait civilian exchanges.
The public on Taiwan must realize that people in the private sector on both sides want peace. In order to maintain the status quo, which is cross-Strait peace, we must appreciate the hardships the two sides have endured. Only then can we establish friendship, mutual trust, and perceive the rise of the Mainland in a positive light. Many on Taiwan lack a sense of urgency. The Mainland is undergoing rapid transformation. They do not realize they have lost their edge. They remain trapped in the memory of past glory, unable to extricate themselves.
People can no longer allow themselves to be wantonly manipulated by politicians. They must open their eyes and form their own judgments. They must clearly identify which issues are the politicians' red herrings, and which are matters that truly affect the destiny of the people.
In the face of Mainland demands for forcible reunification, the Taiwan pubic need not panic. After all, these are merely private sector discussions. Mainland officials adhere to existing policy. They avoid mentioning the use of force. Not only that, during the Ma Xi summit, Ma Ying-jeou called for the removal of missiles aimed at Taiwan. Xi Jinping responded positively. There may be follow-up action as a gesture of goodwill, to reduce tensions on Taiwan. But the Taiwan public must be clear. Such gestures of goodwill are the result of the Mainland's increasing self-confidence. It is precisely because their military strength has so dramatically increased, that they are so relaxed. But this means a rapidly increasing imbalance in cross-strait military power. Taiwan's military has fewer and fewer chips when it confronts the Mainland. Taiwan no longer has the wherewithal to challenge the Mainland.
Under the circumstances, Taiwan can only call for peace, goodwill, and inclusion. Only goodwill and a willingness to integrate ourselves into the vast Mainland market, can soften Mainland calls for forcible reunification. Only peace can ensure Taiwan's future.
早期中共解放台灣的宣傳， 也讓大陸民眾深信武力解決台灣的必要性， 更何況還有那麼多台獨分裂勢力，更讓大陸民眾堅信， 唯有武力才能真正實現統一。
兩岸人民終於可以真正廣泛、深入地互動， 過去單向的台商投資大陸，變成了現在兩岸人員、 貨物和資金的雙向流通，兩岸民眾也在日趨緊密的雙向互動中， 加深了彼此了解，更加珍惜來之不易的和平交流局面。 於是近年來武力統一的言論就漸漸銷聲匿跡， 不僅大陸官方很少提及不放棄使用武力， 大陸民間也認為和平統一才是最佳方案，甚至出現「買台灣」比「 打台灣」代價小的說法。
台灣社會內部反中情緒日漸升高， 一系列有利兩岸進一步交流的協議接連受阻， 最終更以太陽花學運達到反中的最高峰，這讓大陸民眾驚覺， 原來台灣民眾如此抗拒跟大陸統一。大陸民眾更想不通的是， 為何大陸對台讓利那麼多，台灣民眾仍然不知感激？ 為何大陸崛起贏得全球尊重， 卻唯獨台灣仍然對大陸人民抱以鄙視和敵視的態度？
但大陸民眾日漸富裕後，其自信心的提升也是事實， 其對贏得世人尊重和平等相待的渴望也愈發強烈。因此， 台灣社會對大陸的負面態度很容易令大陸民眾產生反感， 很多人據此認為，台灣社會已經全面去中國化， 和平統一已經失去希望，武力統一才是唯一的解決辦法。 網路上更是時常出現民間學者的分析評論， 認為統一台灣已經刻不容緩， 否則只會讓台灣的下一代徹底斷絕與中國的情感連結。 更有人以地緣政治的角度認為， 中國大陸崛起必然會挑戰美國的全球霸主地位， 而台灣作為第一島鏈的核心， 只有拿下台灣才能讓大陸打破美國構築的第一島鏈防線， 從而徹底改變全球地緣政治格局。
很多人在主張武統的事後也同時注意到，武統的代價高昂， 可能會阻礙大陸崛起的步伐，甚至會讓大陸失去發展的戰略機遇期， 因此仍然希望台灣能夠和平統一以避免兩敗俱傷的命運。 但武統言論的再度興起卻也說明， 越來越多的大陸民眾對台灣的抗統促獨言論感到憤怒， 對兩岸政治關係遲遲未有實質突破感到不耐。
兩岸民間的敵意反而有了分化， 讓許多原本對台友好的大陸民眾開始出現敵意。 這不能簡單的將責任推給大陸民眾，以為對方只是不文明、被洗腦， 殊不知這其中有很多人都是行遍全球，有國際視野的菁英階層， 他們不僅很方便的掌握全球資訊，更實際參與過兩岸民間互動。
要想延續兩岸和平互動的現狀， 就必須首先珍惜兩岸歷盡艱辛才建立起來的友善、互信基礎， 並學會帶著善意看待大陸崛起的事實。 相當多的台灣民眾缺乏時不我待的緊迫感，在大陸快速發展的時候， 卻不知道自己的優勢也已經在迅速流失， 反而只會停留在對過去榮景的懷念之中不能自拔。
畢竟這還只是民間的討論，大陸官方仍然堅持既有的政策基調， 盡量不觸碰武力的使用，不僅如此， 馬習會上面對馬英九所轉達的撤彈訴求， 習近平其實也給予正面回應， 後續或許會有更多的友善動作釋放出來， 盡量減少台灣民間的緊張氛圍。但台灣人民也應該清醒的認識到， 大陸釋放善意的前提是大陸對自己實力日漸增長的自信， 正是因為軍事實力的快速躍升， 才讓其可以有放鬆軍事對峙氛圍的勇氣。但對台灣來說， 卻也意味著兩岸軍事實力對比的快速失衡， 台灣面對大陸的軍事籌碼也越來越少， 台灣可以挑釁大陸的空間也幾乎不會再有。