Cross-Strait Framework: The Big Roof Concept of China
United Daily News (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 1, 2013
This book sums up our talking points on cross-Strait policy. It is entitled, "The Big Roof Concept of China."
The authorities on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have reached an impasse on China's reunification. The authorities in Beijing want to reunify China. But they have been unable to do so because the authorities in Taipei are unwilling.
But is reunification the only cross-Strait goal? Prior to reunification, can the two sides set for ourselves another goal? Is it possible to establish a situation under which the two sides are "neither reunified, nor divided?" Is reunification the highest goal? Is there no goal higher than reunification?
Breaking Out of the Box, Seeking Intelligent Solutions
We must break out of the box. We must consider the problems. Cross-Strait relations are a peculiar development in human history. They require complex, sophisticated, and extraordinary political and economic solutions. They require solutions that satisfy both hearts and minds.
This book attempts to set forth one possible solution. More importantly, it attempts to stimulate peoples' imagination. It attempts to seek a solution for cross-Strait problems that will merit inclusion in mankind's glorious history.
Perhaps someone has a better solution. But the solution we wish to set forth is the Big Roof Concept of China.
The Big Roof Concept of China
Under the Big Roof Concept of China, the Republic of China is democratic China, and the People's Republic of China is socialist China. Both are part of China. Both belong under the same Big Roof Concept of China. Both share undivided sovereignty and an undivided interest in one China.
Twenty Big Roof China Talking Points
The content and significance of the Big Roof Concept of China can be summed up in Twenty Big Roof China Talking Points.
1. The Preface of the Amended Constitution of the Republic of China states that "In response to the needs of the nation prior to reunification... the provisions of the Constitution have been amended." The Political Report of the 18th CCP Peoples Congress calls for "Exploring cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified, and making fair and reasonable arrangements." The two propositions, "the nation prior to reunification," and "the nation has yet to be reunified," overlap. This is where the "Big Roof Concept of China" applies.
2. So-called "fair and reasonable arrangements" are subsumed under the Big Roof Concept of China.
The CCP 18th National Congress Political Report agrees.
3. The Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress Political Report states, "Although it has yet to be reunified, it remains one China." It calls for "exploring cross-strait political relations under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified." Its logic differs little from the Big Roof Concept of China. One could simply change the title.
4. Under the Big Roof Concept of China, the Republic of China is democratic China, and the People's Republic of China is socialist China. Both are part of China. Both belong under the same Big Roof Concept of China. This framework falls within the scope of the One China Principle. It can even be considered an upgraded version of One China, Different Interpretations.
5. The Big Roof Concept of China is the only cross-Strait solution that does not require "me swallowing up you, or you swallowing up me." Using the Big Roof Concept of China's linkage points, one can establish political relations under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified. The two sides can lighten the reunification vs. independence burden. The two sides can improve their internal and external governance. The Big Roof Concept of China ensures against leaders on either side seeking irrational, uncivilized solutions to cross-Strait problems.
For Taiwan, The Big Roof Concept of China Can Reduce Internal Friction over Taiwan Independence
6. For Taiwan, the Big Roof Concept of China can reduce internal friction over Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence is no longer possible. Clamoring for Taiwan independence is nothing more than internal friction. The Constitution of the Republic of China allows for "responses to national unity" under "yet to be reunified cross-Strait political conditions." These constitutional provisions include the signing of a peace agreement. The Republic of China under the Big Roof Concept of China, can give the two sides greater maneuvering room, both for cross-Strait and international relations. It can enable Taiwan to upgrade its political and economic system. Taipei can provide checks and balances on Beijing. It need only maintain its party politics and electoral system. It can then use its democratic institutions to moderate Beijing's actions.
7. In fact, some DPP moderates hope the Ma administration can make a breakthrough in cross-Strait relations. That way, in the event the DPP returns to power, it can more easily "continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy."
The Big Roof Concept of China can Liberate Beijing from its Commitments
8. For the Mainland, the Big Roof Concept of China can provide relief from Taiwan independence pressures. Beijing can lighten its burden of preventing Taiwan independence, as well as its burden of promoting reunification. It can liberate itself from its commitments. This can significantly reduce the political risk of the Taiwan problem. This would be beneficial to both its internal and external governance.
The Big Roof Concept of China can Provide a Positive Example for 1.3 billion People on the Mainland
9. Beijing's willingness to rebuild cross-Strait relations under the Big Roof Concept of China would set a positive example. It would demonstrate internal and external respect for liberal democracy. Beijing's refusal to use military or political and economic blackmail against Taipei, would mean that the CCP elites have set high standards for themselves. It would mean that the Chinese Communist Party appreciates the value of democracy. It would set a positive example for 1.3 billion Chinese on the mainland. It would correct the course of China's development. Conversely, if the Republic of China was swallowed up by the People's Republic of China before achieving a certain degree of democracy, those democratic Chinese elements could be lost forever.
The Big Roof Concept of China offers a Practicable Ultimate Solution and Interim Solution
10. The Big Roof Concept of China could be the ultimate solution. Examples include a confederation or the EU model. It could also be an interim solution. The Big Roof Concept of China does not rule out reunification. It merely stipulates that if one seeks reunification, the Big Roof Concept of China ought to be the interim solution. Under the Big Roof Concept of China, the two sides can confront and cope with the problems of reunification. They can ensure that cross-Strait relations adopt a reasonable process in order to arrive at a more reasonable goal.
The Big Roof Concept of China can Encourage the Public on Taiwan to Acknowledge their Chinese Identity
11. Under the Big Roof Concept of China, the Republic of China is democratic China. It is part of China. This will encourage the public on of Taiwan to re-identify with China, and re-acknowledge that they are Chinese. It will contribute to long term growth and development.
The Big Roof Concept of China can Provide Flexibility in International Affairs
12. The Big Roof Concept of China can provide flexibililty in international affairs, such as the Diaoyutai Islands conflict.
13. Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law and allowed people to visit their Mainland relatives. This linked cross-strait exchanges with Taiwan's democratic institutions. Deng Xiaoping implemented "one country, two systems." This resolved the Hong Kong retrocession crisis. The Big Roof Concept of China has gained widespread acceptance on both sides of the Strait. All it needs is someone with the stature of a Chiang Ching-kuo or Deng Xiaoping to promote it.
The Big Roof Concept of China can help the Two Sides Jettison the Phony Issue of "Reunification vs. Independence"
14. The two sides are mired in a phony issue -- "reunification vs. independence." In fact, reunification is impracticable. Independence is impossible. Leaders must use the Big Roof Concept of China to liberate people from this dilemma. They must liberate them from this agony, this injustice, this unusual cruelty.
15. Most importantly, cross-Strait relations is an unprecedented political problem. It demands a wise and sensitive solution. The solution should honor human civilization. It should be a happy event in China's history. It must not be an event that dishonors human civilization. It must not be a tragic chapter in China's history. Only such a solution can be termed a "Renaissance of the Chinese nation."
Coercing Outsiders and Deceiving Insiders is not Genuine Nationalism
16. As matters stand, the Republic of China can accept the People's Republic of China as socialist China. The problem is the People's Republic of China is unwilling to accept the Republic of China as democratic China. The solution is for both sides to acknowledge the "special circumstances" that prevail, and see them as the Big Roof Concept of China. Over a century of catastrophes was the price paid for the blessings of history and civilization. They should be cherished. We must not attempt to swallow up each other. Alas, the People's Republic of China has used foreign nations and foreign diplomacy to blockade democratic China. It is attempting to swallow up democracratic China. It is using foreign nations to bully fellow Chinese. Bullying the weak is not true nationalism. It is the way warlords conduct themselves. This is not the face one should present to human civilization. Still less is this the face one should to present to China's history. Otherwise, one will destroy civilization and leave a stain on history.
The Definition of Sovereignty Can Change Over Time
17. The Big Roof Concept of China is an innovative concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty is fundamentally a human artifice. Its meaning and shape can change over time. For example, why were East and West Germany able to see each other not as foreign countries? Why can today's EU have, on top of the member states' constitutions, the EU constitution? The Big Roof Concept of China is a creative new concept of sovereignty. Why allow outdated concepts of sovereignty to trump the Big Roof Concept of China? As long as the two sides accept in principle the Big Roof Concept of China, the legal details will not be that difficult to work out.
A Powerful China Should be Tolerant
18. The People's Republic of China is one of major powerhouses in the world. It has immense national strength. It should be tolerant toward the democratic Republic of China. It should be responsible and inclusive. It should to offer a solution worthy of human civilization and China's history. It must not commit a major blunder unworthy of civilization and history. The Big Roof Concept of China is simple. Neither side swallows the other side up. Only that is befitting of a large and civilized country. Only that shows the world what China is.
The Common Man's China, Uphold the Consensus, No One Swallows Up the Other
19. Under the Big Roof Concept of China, Taiwan should attempt to persuade Chinese the world over, especially 1.3 billion on the Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao, to accept the proposition that "The Republic of China is democratic China." This "common man's understanding of China" is Taiwan's most important guarantee under the One China Principle. Democratic China can become a universal political symbol and shared political philosophy. When that happens, given concern among Chinese people the world over, who would have the heart, who would dare to swallow up this Chinese republic?
A One China in which Sovereignty is Indivisible and Shared
20. Finally, let us return to the issue first raised. "What do we do when we cannot reunify?" This is not a refusal to reunify or a rejection of reunification. But reunification cannot be rushed. It may take a long time. It may require a great deal of groundwork. It may require a platform upon which one can slowly and deliberately work out the details. This will enable symbiotic, win/win cross-Strait relations under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified. If one does not want reunification to become synonymous with separatism, one should invoke the Big Roof Concept of China. One should invoke a One China that combines the two sides' indivisible and shared sovereignty. This will create cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified. What other way is there?
【聯合報╱黃 年】 2013.03.01