Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Name Change in Hong Kong and Macao: The Chu Shulong Effect

Name Change in Hong Kong and Macao:
The Chu Shulong Effect
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
July 6, 2011

Chu Shulong, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, recently put forth his "one country, two governments" concept. Taipei and Beijing both reacted with anticipation and dread. The Republic of China government's official representative in Hong Kong and Macao changed its name to the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office." This shows that cross-strait relations are gradually becoming more pragmatic, and that we can look forward to more such positive developments.

The DPP says that Chu Shulong's "one country, two governments" concept is "one China in disguise." It even says that the CCP "set the ball" for the KMT to spike. They intimated that this was "Hong Kong-ization," "Macao-ization," and laid the groundwork for reunification with the Chinese mainland. Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office said "These are merely the views of an individual scholar," and neither rebutted it nor endorsed it. President Ma Ying-jeou said "I feel it is something we can talk about, that can be discussed." But Ma later qualified his remarks, saying he "was referring to an academic discussion."

Chu Shulong's concept remains sketchy. Later he claimed that he never used the expression "one country, two governments" per se. But the basic premise is that the two sides should recognize each other and accept each other as "the central government" within "one China." Leaders on the two sides should not address each other as "Mister." This can be seen as a way to cut the cross-Strait Gordian Knot. Presumably Chu's "one China" refers to a "third concept of China" above and beyond the ROC and the PRC, and amounts to a form of the "Big Roof" concept. It argues that the authorities on both sides should refer to each other as "President Ma" and "President Hu." Is this not one of the primary goals both the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan have longed for over the past 20 years? Beijing said "These are merely the views of an individual scholar." That was predictable. But should the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan duck the issue in the same manner? Chu Shulong paid lip service to the concept. But the concept put advocates on Taiwan on the horns of a dilemma.

As mentioned earlier, Chu Shulong's "one country, two governments" has yet to be fleshed out. But "one country, two governments" should be the core concept both sides zero in on when seeking solutions. The problem is how to define "one country." The "one country" should not refer to either the ROC or the PRC. It should refer to a "third concept of China." Otherwise, how can one have two "central governments?" Such a "one country, two governments" or "one China, two governments" arrangement would resemble the European Union or a confederation. Why should we oppose an arrangement in which "the two sides recognize and accept each other as the central government?" Why should we oppose leaders from both sides addressing each other as "President?" Didn't people object vehemently when Chen Yunlin addressed Ma Ying-jeou as "Mister?"

Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office said "These are merely the views of an individual scholar." It refrained from rebutting these "views of an individual scholar." But on Taiwan apparently, no one was willing to consider these views for even one minute. The DPP denounced it as reunification, plain and simple. The KMT dismissed it as insensitive to the feelings of the public on Taiwan. Both parties inexplicably, summarily dismissed the concept out of hand. The ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan insist on adopting this absurd attitude towards "the views of an individual scholar" on the Chinese mainland. Do they expect Beijing to propose an arrangement akin to "one country, two governments" some day? If so, do they expect Beijing to woo them, after they have displayed so little willingness to consider such arrangements?

The "first economics, then politics; first the easy, then the difficult" strategy is correct. But the "first economics, then politics" strategy was never meant to be a way to duck political problems indefinitely. Politics is more difficult than economics. Economics must pave the way for politics, and and soften its blow. But economic and cultural exchanges give rise to such concepts as "one country, two governments." They may merely be "the views of an individual scholar." But they should nonetheless be cherished. After all, "one country, two governments" has already led to the current improved situation. The two sides would see each other as the central government. They would refer to each other's leader as President. Such radical approaches to improving the cross-Strait situation must not remain taboo. The two sides must toss ideas back and forth. That will enable "the views of an individual scholar" to eventually become mainstream thought. We do not want Beijing to discourage "the views of an individual scholar." We want the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan to encourage and participate in such creative endeavors, We do not want them to indiscriminately and summarily slam the the door shut on such discussions. To do so is absurd. It also closes off one's own options.

Cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges have already passed the point of no return. Cross-Strait economic and trade relations have become inseparably intertwined. Therefore a framework akin to "one country, two governments" is increasingly indispensable. A Peace Agreement would offer us an interim solution. It would legalize and institutionalize premises such as "Beijing will not impose reunification," "Taipei will not promote independence," and "neither side will resort to force." It is true that economics must precede politics. But one cannot delay until economic and social relations are set in stone. If one delays that long, one will lose political bargaining power. Beijing may be able to procrastinate. But Taipei cannot. In other words, when seeking a cross-Strait political solution, Taipei must accurately estimate its stop-loss and profit taking points. Today we may turn up our noses up at "one country, two governments." But some day soon we may beg for "one country, two governments," only to realize we held out too long. It is a case of "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a-flying. And this same flower that smiles to-day, tomorrow will be dying."

The response of the DPP, shows that ideas akin to "one country, two governments" are the most effective antidote to Taiwan independence. The Democratic Progressive Party opposes "one country, two governments." Does the Democratic Progressive Party oppose the two sides recognizing each other as the central government? Does it oppose the leaders of the two sides referring to each other as President? Does it oppose a cross-Strait arrangement that more closely resembles the European Union or a confederation, via the "one country, two governments" concept? If it does, then the DPP can characterize anything as "reunification in disguise," even the "China Travel Agency" being renamed the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office."

Chu Shulong's "one country, two governments" concept is merely "the views of an individual scholar." Nevertheless we welcome such creative cross-Strait policy proposals, free from self-imposed taboos. We look forward to more creative solutions to cross-Strait problems. A more rational process will lead to clearer goals. Therefore we agree with President Ma's comments. Ma said that all proposals, whether "one this" or "two that" have advantages and disadvantages. "But I feel we can talk about them, we can discuss them." Later, a presidential office spokesman qualified Ma's remarks, saying Ma meant "we can discuss them in an academic context."

Now that the ROC representative to Hong Kong and Macao has changed its name, cross-Strait relations can become more flexible, more imaginative, and more pragmatic. We urge the three parties on the two sides of the Strait to reread this newspaper's editorial of June 23, entitled "A Peace Agreement is an Interim Solution."

2011.07.06 03:18 am











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