China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 13, 2016
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen has flip-flopped repeatedly. It is hard to judge the effectiveness of this tactic. But for cross-Strait relations, a more serious question presents itself. If Tsai fails in her attempt to make a U turn, the result will be disaster for Taiwan. Can Tsai prevent the cultural Taiwan independence tiger from snatching her up and running amok?
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Tsai Ing-wen's remarks on cross-Strait relations since her election victory have been muted and controlled. She knows that fiery rhetoric is good only during election season. If used while governing, it will only precipitate disaster. She has even endured mockery for making a complete about face. Tsai Ing-wen appears pragmatic. That means one less worry for Taiwan. That also constitutes a reason to remain hopeful about cross-Strait relations.
Tsai Ing-wen is exercising control. She is unlikely to cross the red line by declaring de jure independence. Nevertheless Beijing demands adherence to the 1992 Consensus. It is pressuring Tsai Ing-wen on Mainland tourism, WHA attendance, and other issues. Cross-Strait tensions continue to rise. Why?
Saying one thing but meaning another is not limited to de jure Taiwan independence and the 1992 Consensus. Beijing's red line is not limited to de jure Taiwan independence. It also includes "cultural Taiwan independence". In other words, Taiwan may not have declared de jure Taiwan independence. But that does not mean it can engage in wholesale cultural Taiwan independence. Beijing has turned its attention from de jure Taiwan independence to cultural Taiwan independence.
Cultural Taiwan independence has a history. Lee Teng-hui introduced "de-Sinicization", and laid the groundwork for cultural Taiwan independence. Two to three decades of indoctrination has resulted in substantial gains. Cultural Taiwan independence provides support for anti-China elements. It burned brightly during the Sunflower Student movement. The results are visible from recent media polls. The number of people who consider themselves Taiwanese has risen from 44% 20 years ago, to 73% today. The number of people who consider themselves both Taiwanese and Chinese, has fallen to a mere 10%.
Cultural Taiwan independence has led to changes in cultural identity. The result was apparent during the 2014 nine in one elections, and the 2016 general election. The DPP swept the board, from the central government level to the local level, from the presidency to the legislature. It now enjoys “total government”. Even worse, the terms "Taiwan" and "China" have become antonyms, resulting in confrontation and hostility. Hatred of the Mainland on Taiwan has in turned provoked hatred of Taiwan on the Mainland. Live votes show fully 85% of the Mainland public in favor of reunifying Taiwan by means of military force.
Tsai Ing-wen and Xi Jinping may remain rational, pragmatic, and restrained. But if public opposition intensifies without end, it could overwhelm the two leaders' resolve. An atmosphere of distrust could lead to unintended conflict. The result would be catastrophic. Both sides have a responsibility to prevent such a crisis.
Tsai Ing-wen must realize that Chen Shui-bian's "five noes" from 2000 are no longer an adequate response to the current situation. Back then Chen Shui-bian proclaimed a pro forma “new centrist path”. He explicitly renounced de jure Taiwan independence. One might say he switched from hard Taiwan independence to soft Taiwan independence. Instead he used the “rectification of names” and the de-Sinicization of education and culture, to strengthen Taiwan independence ideology. He switched to a strategy of vigorously promoting soft Taiwan independence. This combination of soft and hard, covert and overt Taiwan independence has forced Mainland authorities to draw a line in the sand. De jure Taiwan independence is no longer the sole criterion for continued cross-Strait peace.
As a result, Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly stressed that she is "maintaining the status quo", abides by the “Republic of China Constitution", and has revised her position to “recognizing the historical fact of the 1992 talks", in order to promote cross-Strait relations. She has even retained department heads cultivated by the KMT for foreign and cross-Strait affairs. She is easing up on de jure Taiwan independence.
On the other hand, the DPP is pushing hard for an "Ordinance for the Promotion of Transitional Justice" in the legislature. It is using its majority to suspend changes to the school curriculum. It is seeking to eliminate portraits of Sun Yat-sen. It is appointing deep green ideologues as Minister of Culture and Minister of Education. It is accelerating de-Sinicization. It is intensifying cultural Taiwan independence. It is covertly promoting "soft Taiwan independence". If Tsai Ing-wen refuses to correct this combined soft and hard, overt and covert strategy, she can hardly expect Beijing to believe that her superficial pragmatism and restraint constitute genuine good will.
Another, even more serious problem, is that the situation may no longer be under Tsai Ing-wen's control. Has cultural Taiwan independence become a tiger that Tsai Ing-wen can neither continue to ride, nor dismount safely? Is Tsai Ing-wen determining the direction of the tiger? Or is the tiger determining the direction for Tsai Ing-wen? Tsai Ing-wen is unwilling or afraid to advance toward de jure Taiwan independence. Cultural Taiwan independence is a tiger that has Tsai Ing-wen in its mouth.
Tsai Ing-wen has flip-flopped repeatedly. It is hard to judge the effectiveness of this tactic. But for cross-Strait relations, a more serious question presents itself. If Tsai fails in her attempt to make a U turn, the result will be disaster for Taiwan. Can Tsai prevent the cultural Taiwan independence tiger from snatching her up and running amok? The tiger requires four leashes. One. Tsai Ing-wen's individual will. Two. Taiwan independence oriented DPP legislators must achieve a consensus within the party. Three. People on Taiwan must possess sufficient wisdom. They must be willing to cease hating Mainland Chinese. Four. The Mainland must be patient. It must allow Tsai Ing-wen time to adjust. Do not corner her. Do not force her to embrace cultural Taiwan independence. The public on the Mainland must also refrain from exaggeration, and hurting peoples' feelings.
可見她深知過去激烈的言論只能選舉喊喊，拿來治國是必敗無疑。 即便招來「髮夾彎」的譏評，但蔡英文展現的務實， 終究讓台灣少了一分風險，也是兩岸關係瞢瞢惛惛的此際， 還讓人不致絕望的燭光。
中共紅線已隱隱然從法理台獨上綱為「文化台獨」。換言之， 不是在法理台獨的底線之上，台獨就擁有活躍的空間， 中共已從對法理台獨的把關轉為對文化台獨的關注。
政策，為文化台獨打底，二、三十年下來已累積可觀的能量， 文化台獨支撐反中勢力，野火在太陽花學運時燃於極致， 這可以從媒體民調觀見趨勢，不久前媒體發布民調， 認為自己是台灣人的比例從20年前的4成4攀升到7成3的高點， 認為自己是中國人者、認為自己同時是台灣人與中國人者， 各僅占一成。
016年的總統國會大選進行了總收割。民進黨全盤大勝， 從中央到地方、從總統到國會全面執政。更糟糕的發展是，「台灣」 與「中國」成為對立的二個圖騰，對抗與敵意上升的結果， 使得台灣的反中之火，同步撩起了大陸的反台之火。 陸媒的網路民調顯示，竟有85﹪的大陸民眾贊成武力統一台灣。
但圖騰對立若仍不斷升高，一旦形勢強過領導人意志， 或者在不信任的衝突氛圍下擦槍走火，都將可能演變成兩岸浩劫。 要免除這樣的危機，兩岸都有責任。
已不能因應目前的兩岸形勢。當時陳水扁宣示的中間路線是「 形式主義」的中間路線，明示放下法理台獨，可謂「硬台獨放軟」， 卻透過一系列的正名與去中國運動，在教育與文化上深化、 固化台獨意識形態，是一種「軟台獨放硬」策略。這軟硬互調、 明暗二手的做法，是大陸當局拉高紅線， 不以法理台獨為唯一反制坐標的思路背景。
中華民國憲法》，在九二共識問題上也修正為以「 九二會談的歷史事實」推動兩岸關係。 甚至在涉外涉陸部門首長的人事布局上， 晉用了國民黨培養的事務官，然而這只做到了「硬台獨放軟」。
以人數優勢在國會強勢決議全面暫緩課綱微調； 一度想要廢除國父遺像； 以及任命有深綠意識形態的文化部長與教育部長等等， 讓人嗅出加速去中國、深化文化台獨的「軟台獨放硬」暗手。 蔡英文若不修正這種明暗、軟硬兩手策略， 將很難期待陸方相信蔡英文檯面上的務實克制為真心善意。
文化台獨是否蔡英文騎上去的虎背？究竟是蔡英文決定老虎的方向， 還是老虎決定蔡英文的方向？ 蔡英文縱然不願意或不敢進一步走向台獨， 文化台獨這隻老虎卻把蔡英文啣在嘴上。
更嚴肅的命題是，如果轉彎失敗才是台灣的真災難。 如何別讓文化台獨之虎反向綁架蔡英文？需要4個老虎項圈，一是， 蔡英文本身的意志；二是，台獨派民進黨立委有黨內一體感；三是， 台灣人民有智慧，願意消弭圖騰對立，不進一步激化反中。 四是陸方也需要耐心，留一點時間給蔡英文調整， 莫封死蔡英文的所有空間，不要逼她回頭擁抱文化台獨這隻老虎， 大陸民眾也不要上綱上線台獨定義，避免傷害民間感情。