China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 13, 2016
Executive Summary: It is imperative that Tsai Ing-wen re-establish historical, cultural, and kinship links between Taiwan and “China/the Mainland”in her May 20 inaugural speech. Discussions about the Republic of China should also include the Mainland. This will let the Mainland know that the new government's rhetoric about the Republic of China is not mere backdoor listing and cover for de-Sinicization. Only then will the Mainland believe that Tsai Ing-wen's non-provocation is rooted in good will and good faith. She should follow-up by correcting the history curricula and terminology that relates to the term China on Taiwan. We hope the new government will proceed with caution.
Full Text Below:
With May 20 approaching, everyone is waiting for Tsai Ying-wen to address cross-Strait relations in her inaugural speech. After all, it will constitute the new government's future stance on cross-Strait relations. It will also represent the official beginning of new government interaction with the Mainland. A bad start will lead to more conflict. Peaceful cross-Strait relations will also come to an end. The prospects are dismal, because over the years, sentiment on Taiwan has become increasingly pro-independence. Many surveys show the percentage of people on Taiwan who see themselves as “Chinese” reaching record lows. The terms “Taiwan” and “China” are now perceived as polar opposites.
Tsai Ing-wen characterizes this phenomenon among the younger generation as "natural independence". Needless to say, this has provoked considerable dissatisfaction on the Mainland. Tsai Ing-wen has once again undermined any trust the Mainland has placed in her. The Mainland is "listening to what she says, and watching what she does". Tsai Ing-wen is paying lip service to “good will”. But she continues to incite Sinophobia in private and in her actions. The Mainland has concluded that Tsai Ing-wen is deliberately being provocative. Either that, or she has no real desire to overcome the key obstacle between the two sides.
As the Mainland sees it, politicians do not merely play to public opinion. Even more importantly, they lead public opinion. Poll data may show most people identifying exclusively with Taiwan. But a leader bears a responsibility to history and culture. A leader must step up to the plate, and lead public opinion. If Tsai Ing-wen thinks she can hide behind public opinion, and use it to force the Mainland to concede, she has miscalculated badly. She has merely painted herself into a corner, where she is unable to take action.
In fact, the manner in which the poll questions are asked remain problematic. Most polls set “China” and “Taiwan” up in opposition to each other. They ask respondents to make either/or choices between the two. When such questions were asked twenty or thirty years ago, it was for a reason. First generation residents who moved to Taiwan from other provinces were not yet settled on Taiwan. It was not their final destination. They hoped to return to the Mainland. Now the situation is very different. First-generation immigrants are gradually dying off. Those that remain consider Taiwan their permanent residence. The second and third-generation identify with where they were born. That is to be expected. In other words, identifying themselves as Taiwanese is as it should be. It is an entirely separate question from whether respondents also identify with “China”, i.e., the Mainland.
Moreover, apart from some Aborigines, the ancestors of most people on Taiwan came from the Mainland. The language, culture, religion and lifestyle came from the Mainland. These are all indistinguishable from those of the Mainland. Yet nearly all polls ask questions in a manner that sets “Taiwan” and “China” up as opposites. The design of these “push polls” have predictably lead to the current results. Some polls include a separate question about whether people identify with “China/the Mainland”. Some allow identification with “China/the Mainland”. These polls show up to 60% of the people identifying with China, and perceiving themselves as Chinese.
This result tells us that even though Taiwan independence has gradually become politically correct, people on Taiwan have not abandoned their identification with the Chinese people and China. Politicians should not manipulate the terms “China” and “Taiwan” to create a false dichotomy between the two, and an unreal “Taiwanese” identity. Is the new government serious about promoting peaceful cross-Strait relations? If so, it should take concrete action to reconcile the terms “China” and “Taiwan”. It should create a social atmosphere that enables people to see themselves as Taiwanese, but also as Chinese, and to identify with their Chinese culture and heritage.
In fact, in 2000, during the first change in ruling parties, Chen Shui-bian explicitly mentioned this in his inaugural address. He said, "People across the Taiwan Strait share the same ancestry, culture, and history". Chen reiterated how China's historical scars and cultural wisdom inspire him, how he hoped to narrow the psychological distance between people on the two sides. Chen's later actions made cross-Strait relations impossible. But his speech did create a brief honeymoon period for the two sides. It moderated the tense atmosphere created by Lee Teng-hui's two-states theory.
Today the cross-Strait situation and balance of power are very different. But goodwill and sincerity are as important as ever. Does Tsai Ing-wen's new government really want to maintain the status quo and the peaceful cross-Strait relations created by President Ma? If so, she must realize the importance of mutual trust. Her highest priority must be to take a clear stance on the issue of Chinese identity. Otherwise, no matter how she promised not to provoke the Mainland, it will never really trust her. Instead the way the two sides interact will be blamed. The need to engage in all manner of crisis management will create a serious drag on the new government's policy.
It is imperative that Tsai Ing-wen re-establish historical, cultural, and kinship links between Taiwan and “China/the Mainland”in her May 20 inaugural speech. Discussions about the Republic of China should also include the Mainland. This will let the Mainland know that the new government's rhetoric about the Republic of China is not mere backdoor listing and cover for de-Sinicization. Only then will the Mainland believe that Tsai Ing-wen's non-provocation is rooted in good will and good faith. She should follow-up by correcting the history curricula and terminology that relates to the term China on Taiwan. We hope the new government will proceed with caution.
大家都在等待蔡英文就職演說中有關兩岸關係的論述， 這不僅代表了新政府未來對兩岸關係的定位與期許， 更是新政府與大陸互動的正式開始，如果開局不利， 後續恐怕會有更多更大的衝突， 兩岸關係和平發展的勢頭也將就此終結。情勢令人悲觀， 是因為這些年來台灣內部愈發偏向獨立，眾多調查也顯示， 台灣人認同中國的比例不斷創造歷史新低， 台灣和中國的符號儼然呈現對立之勢。
此論一出自然引起大陸的不滿， 大陸與蔡英文的互信基礎再度受到侵害。按照大陸「聽其言、 觀其行」的習慣，縱使蔡英文表面上釋出一些善意， 如果私下繼續慫恿或者放任傾獨言行， 大陸也會認定蔡英文是在挑釁， 或者至少是沒有誠意解決兩岸之間的癥結問題。
更要充當民意的引領者， 縱使現在從民調數據上看大部分人只認同台灣， 領導者也應該以對歷史和文化負責的態度， 站出來導正民眾的認同觀念。 蔡英文如果以為可以挾民意優勢逼迫大陸就範，恐怕會打錯算盤， 反而讓自己陷入被動局面。
因為大部分民調都將中國認同和台灣認同對立起來， 讓受訪者面臨二者擇一的抉擇問題。 這種提問方式在二三十年前有其現實性， 因為彼時外省第一代移民尚未將台灣作為最終的落腳地， 心中還有重回大陸的預期。但現在情況則大不相同， 第一代移民漸趨凋零，而且認定台灣是他們的家園，而第二代、 第三代外省子弟則更是生於斯長於斯， 台灣的在地認同根本不是問題。換句話說， 認同自己是台灣人是理所應當， 完全可以單獨提問受訪者是否認同中國即可。
宗教信仰及生活習慣源自大陸，在文化上與中國大陸無從割捨， 但幾乎所有民調都採取台灣—中國二元對立的提問方式， 導引式的問卷設計導致必然的結果誤差。 當有民調單獨提問中國認同時， 或者將不排斥中國人認同都納入進來之時，卻可以有高達6成的人擁 有泛中國認同。
台灣民眾還是沒有完全捨棄與中華民族和中國的連結， 政治人物不應該以操作中國符號和台灣符號二元對立的方式營造虛幻 的台灣認同。 如果新政府想要向對岸展現推動兩岸關係和平發展的誠意， 就應該採取實際行動營造台灣╴╴中國符號融合的社會氛圍， 讓台灣民眾在認同台灣的同時也可以接納中國的文化、血緣認同。
陳水扁在實現首次政黨輪替的就職演說中就曾明確提到，「 海峽兩岸人民源自於相同的血緣、文化和歷史背景」，那篇演說中， 陳水扁還曾多次提到中國的歷史傷痕與中國文化的智慧啟發， 意圖拉近兩岸民眾的心理距離。 雖然後續阿扁的爆衝斷送了兩岸關係的和解機遇，但不能不說， 那篇演講還是幫助營造出短暫的兩岸蜜月期， 降低了李登輝兩國論發表以來兩岸不斷升高的緊張氛圍。
但善意與誠意的重要卻從未改變。 蔡英文的新政府若想在兩岸問題上維持馬總統創造的和平發展現狀， 就必須正視與大陸累積互信基礎的重要性， 而最重要的就是要在中國認同問題上表達明確立場。否則的話， 無論蔡英文如何保證不會挑釁大陸， 大陸方面不會真正放下對蔡英文的疑慮， 未來兩岸之間的互動過程會動輒得咎， 種種危機處理將會嚴重拖累新政府的施政。
歷史、文化與血緣上的連結， 而在有關中華民國的國家論述中也要將大陸部分納入進來， 如此才能讓大陸認知到新政府口中的中華民國，不是「去中國化」 的借殼上市， 才能讓大陸相信蔡英文的不挑釁確實建立在善意和誠意的基礎之上。 後續在歷史課綱問題上、台灣內部的眾多中國符號上， 希望新政府也能夠慎重處理。