Category Archives: Taiwan

“A New Map in Chinese Passports Stirs Anger Across the Region”

China’s quest to make all of her neighbors angry is starting to get make some serious progress (via Mark MacDonald):

China’s new passports — embossed with a map showing disputed territories as belonging solely to the mainland — are causing quite the diplomatic furor in Asia.

India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines have all objected to the new map, which puts a number of island chains and border areas under Beijing’s sovereignty.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that Beijing was “not targeting a specific country” with the revised passport map, noting that “China is willing to communicate with the relevant countries.”

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international affairs at Renmin University, said in The Financial Times that the new map could “demonstrate our national sovereignty but it could also make things more problematic and there is already more than enough trouble” over territorial disputes.

“We are not prepared to accept it,” said Salman Khurshid, the Indian foreign minister. “We, therefore, ensure that our flags of disagreement are put out immediately when something happens. We can do it in an agreeable way or you can do it in a disagreeable way.”

India, meanwhile, has come up with its own map, which it is stamping into the passports of Chinese citizens seeking Indian visas.

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, said that Vietnamese border officials — not wanting to appear to validate the new Chinese map — were refusing to stamp visas into the passports of Chinese visitors.

Instead, Vietnam was issuing visas on separate pieces of paper that are inserted into the passports.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario sent a verbal note to China’s embassy in Manila saying that “the Philippines strongly protests the inclusion of the nine-dash line in the e-passport as such image covers an area clearly part of the Philippines’ territory and maritime domain.”

The Chinese passport map includes the popular Taiwanese tourist sites of Sun Moon Lake and Cingshui Cliffs. That did not sit well with President Ma Ying-jeou, who said in a statement that Beijing should not “unilaterally damage the status quo of the hard-fought stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said: “China has ignored the truth and sparked disputes by including pictures of our territory and landscape in its new Chinese passports. It should put aside disputes and face up to reality.”

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“Why Taiwanese Don’t Want Unity With China”

From Tea Leaf Nation, a good explanation of exactly why Taiwanese don’t want to achieve ‘reunification’ with the mainland on Beijing’s terms, written by a Taiwanese author named Long Yingtai:

The Taiwanese people are used to living in a democratic system, which is reflected in their everyday life. Which means: His government building is open to everyone; no guard will check his ID at the door. He enters the building as if he’s going into a shopping mall. He does some paperwork, applies for a document, has it stamped, all without obstacles. He waits to be called his number, nobody cuts in line. When it’s his turn, the government officer won’t give him attitude or trouble.

“He is used to see government officers be impeached or bow and leave the stage for mistakes in policy-making. He is used to seeing newspaper assailing the government, questioning its officers and revealing unlawful practices. He is used to expressing his distain of political figures and making fun of them.

“He pays his tax on time, and the money goes to poor children in need and elderly people who live alone. He’s not against this. He is used to living in a society where fortune is distributed rather fairly; he doesn’t see beggars in extreme poverty on the street, nor luxurious cars. He’s used to seeing many civil charity organizations and volunteer workers helping out when disasters happen. …”

“Is the confrontation across the strait a debate between unification and independence? Or is it between capitalism and socialism, between separatism and nationalism? It’s none of those. For most Taiwanese people, it’s a choice of lifestyle, very concrete and specific, not abstract at all.”

I’ve heard Westerners wonder why Taiwan wouldn’t want to reunite with a rising China, but I’ve always thought the answer there was pretty obvious. Who would want to gamble with their civil and human rights on a table run by the Communist Party?!

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“Diaoyu in Our Heart”

Freelance writer Helen Gao has a good piece in The Atlantic about some of the intricacies of the Diaoyu Islands arrests last week, and how Chinese people see their nation and themselves:

A web user named oncebookstore posted a question on Weibo, China’s twitter-style social network: “If your child were born on the Diaoyu Islands, what nationality would you pick for him/her: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong or the mainland?” (The islands, also known as the Senkakus in Japan, are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan.) It went viral on Sunday, retweeted over 20,000 times in nine hours before censors took it down around midnight. The surprising results would seem to contradict the popular anti-Japanese protests, undercut the government’s efforts to stoke patriotism, and may well baffle outside observers: Chinese respondents overwhelmingly picked places other than mainland China. Around 40 percent answered Taiwan, followed by Hong Kong with about 25 percent, followed by Japan. Mainland China was the least popular option. A formal poll, set up on Weibo after the original post was pulled, returned similar results, with Japan at 20 percent and the mainland at 15.

Though contradictory at first glance, the sentiment at the anti-Japanese protests and that revealed by the Weibo quiz are perhaps not as inconsistent as they might appear, and could highlight the dual nature of the nationalistic feelings deeply rooted in Chinese society today. The same Chinese nationalism that drives citizens to stand up for their native land when outside forces challenge it could also sharpen their pain when they observe the depressingly wide gap between China as it is and China as they wish it could be.

“Political slogans aside, as a citizen of the globe, I would rather have the next generation growing up in an place like Taiwan or Japan,” said zuzhanggaocangwentai. “I don’t want them to have to take poisonous baby formula, sit in brainwashing classes, and love the party that hurts its people.”

Weibozhuanping also saw potential social advantage abroad: “If we speak about society instead of politics, Japan has the most fair and humane society. Workers and farmers won’t have as hard a time there as they do in China.”

“I vote for Taiwan,” said yingdedaobie, “because that’s where you get to vote.”

In fact, web users’ responses seemed to be driven more by a deep discontent with the current China than by a veneration for these more developed economies: a large number of participants put their answers as bluntly as “Anywhere but the mainland.”

The owner of an independent bookstore in a southern Chinese province, he told me that his initial hope in asking the uncomfortable question was to make the public aware that “there are more pressing issues than the Diaoyu Islands.”

“I hope Chinese people can show as much solidarity as they did in protecting the Diaoyu Islands every time someone is illegally evicted from his house by officials; I hope they can shout like they did to save the pro-China Diaoyu activists every time a Chinese dissident is arrested,” he posted on his blog immediately after putting up the quiz.

“Farmlands, houses, and families, they should be the Diaoyu Islands in our heart.”

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“Foreigners Under Fire”

The Diplomat has a piece from writer Tonio Andrade, who describes the changes requested by Chinese censors when he tried to publish a book in the PRC:

My new book, Lost Colony: the Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West, won’t be published in mainland China. It might have found a strong readership there. Its main personage, Koxinga, is famous for driving the Dutch from Taiwan and bringing the island under Chinese rule. The story of his triumph is a gripping one, and I strove to tell it in a balanced way: no East versus West, just humans scrambling to do their best during hard times. As a member of the global history movement, this kind of balanced history is what I strive for. It’s the mission of my scholarly life.

But Chinese censors apparently don’t truck with balance. My erstwhile publisher asked whether I would acquiesce to omitting some “sensitive material” and changing some wording. It sounded like an innocuous request until I got to the details. Since Koxinga is considered a “positive figure in China,” my publisher informed me that the text would have to omit any discussion of torture by him and his soldiers. (Descriptions of Dutch atrocities were acceptable, though.) The book couldn’t refer to Koxinga as a “conqueror” or a “warlord,” and his “restoration of Taiwan” couldn’t be referred to as an invasion or an attack. Similarly, any mention of resistance by Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples (who, historical sources make clear, rose up and killed thousands of his soldiers), would also have to be excised, on the grounds that such episodes hint of “some sort of consciousness of Taiwanese independence.” The Chinese publisher said that if I refused to make such changes, the translation wouldn’t proceed. “Abridgement,” I was told, “is unavoidable.”

And so I set aside my dreams of renown and royalties and said no.

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“Nationality: Democrat”

Foreign Policy tracks the footholds democracy is gaining in and around China, despite the CCP’s racist claims that Chinese people are somehow unworthy of democracy:

But Beijing’s fury reflects a much deeper problem for the Party: any list of factors contributing to the development of a distinct identity among Hong Kong people would have to include civil liberties, independent courts, press freedom, and political parties. When Beijing concluded negotiations on Hong Kong’s return with the British, it promised a “high degree of autonomy” and agreed that democracy was the “ultimate aim.” Beijing, however, gave itself the right to interpret these terms, and since reassuming control of the territory it has repeatedly pushed back the date when Hong Kong people might choose their leader and legislature.

Hong Kong’s people have energetically defended their civil and political liberties. To Beijing’s chagrin, that includes holding demonstrations held each year on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule. In 2003, a massive march, estimated at 500,000, defeated plans to enact legislation outlawing subversion according to Article 23 of the Beijing-drafted Basic Law — “a people’s victory over their Hong Kong puppet government and the dictatorial Chinese Communist Party,” Liu Xiaobo wrote in a 2007 essay, recently republished in a collection of his essays and poems. An uptick in the number of protestors at last summer’s July 1 demonstration has been attributed at least in part to opposition to the government’s proposal to do away with by-elections.

Taiwanese, too, have developed their own distinct identity tied to democracy. Polls show a steady climb in the percentage of people who consider themselves “Taiwanese.”

Perhaps worse, from Beijing’s perspective, as Shelley Rigger, a political scientist at Davidson College writes, Taiwanese people’s “commitment to democracy is stronger than their determination to achieve a particular outcome.” A civic identity that prioritizes democracy is an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party, which peddles a brand of nationalism based on chauvinism, xenophobia, and great power pretentions.

The democratic identity developing among Tibetans in exile is also a challenge for Beijing. Communist propaganda presents the Dalai Lama as an “evil splittist,” the representative of a backward, aristocratic elite from which the Party has emancipated the long-suffering Tibetans. In fact, the Tibetan spiritual leader long ago abandoned independence as a goal, opting instead for “genuine autonomy” within the People’s Republic. He has led the India-based Tibetan government in exile through a democratic transition. Last March, he completed the project by separating his religious duties from his political ones, turning over the latter to a prime minister elected by eligible voters among Tibetan exiles in South Asia, Europe, and the United States. The Dalai Lama has said that whether the institution of the Dalai Lama continues is up to Tibetans, and he pursues dialogue with ordinary Chinese citizens. All of this is extremely threatening to Beijing.

Like the pictures yesterday in the Atlantic, perhaps something to help reassure people who lose heart in the face of the machine Beijing has assembled to defend itself- it is at the same time beset from all sides and within by forces for change. Containing these forces is becoming a larger task every day, and I for one don’t subscribe to the notion that Beijing is infinitely powerful. Change is inevitable.

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“Democracy Taiwan’s ‘best gift’ to China: Ma”

Haha, ok, if Ma is going to troll China like this then I guess it’s ok that he beat Tsai:

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou said this month’s presidential vote was the island’s “best gift” to China, hailing the potential for the poll to show the path to democracy on the mainland.

Ma has said hundreds of millions of people in mainland China watched Taiwan’s presidential candidates debate live on television last month for the first time through the Internet.

The poll, which saw Ma re-elected, could inspire Chinese democracy supporters, he said in a statement released by the Presidential Office.

“The peaceful election, a sign of democracy taking roots and bear fruits on the soil of a Chinese community, will make them feel that this will also happen on the mainland,” the statement said.

“I believe this is the best gift from us to the mainland.”

He added that the January 14 vote will demonstrate to the mainland that “headcount is the best way to solve differences between the two sides”.

If you define ‘best gift’ as ‘gift that fills the CCP with deep, instinctual dread’ then yes, I suppose Taiwanese democracy is a great gift indeed.

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Taiwan Elections: Ma Wins

First, from Daniel Lynch at Foreign Affairs:

In presidential elections this weekend, Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s incumbent president from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, decisively defeated Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). With about 52 percent of the vote (compared to Tsai’s 45.6 percent and the third-party candidate James Soong’s 2.8 percent), Ma will be able to govern with a clear majority of popular support. His margin of victory was far higher than most opinion polls had predicted. Many Soong supporters seem to have decided in recent days that by voting for their preferred candidate, who is almost politically identical to Ma, they might hand Tsai the victory.

For their part, voters seem to have accepted Ma’s contention that reducing cross-strait tensions improves the country’s economic well-being. Indeed, more than ever, Taiwan’s economy is dependent on China’s. This is partly a result of market dynamics (Taiwanese capital flows across the Taiwan Strait in search of lower production costs) and partly a result of the KMT and Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to facilitate integration. By the end of 2011, some 80,000 Taiwanese firms had invested up to $200 billion in mainland factories, research and development centers, stores, and restaurants. And annual trade between the two sides exceeded $150 billion. Meanwhile, out of a total population of 23 million, one million or more Taiwanese live in China. Directly or indirectly, the majority of Taiwanese households depend on Chinese economic dynamism for their livelihood.

Next, Bruce Jacobs from Taipei Times writes about what the DPP should take from the defeat:

Whether Taiwan gains more international space will remain to be seen. Will Taiwan gain better status in the World Health Assembly? Will Taiwan gain access to other international organizations? Will China continue to belittle Taiwan with terms such as Taipei China (中國台北) instead of Chinese Taipei (中華台北) or the Republic of China on Taiwan? Will Ma’s “diplomatic truce” continue to be respected by both sides so that Taiwan’s diplomatic allies do not switch to Beijing? Will Taiwanese gain visa-free status to the US? Will the US and other nations provide more ministerial-level visits?

The DPP won only 40 legislative seats, well under the 45 that the leadership privately hoped to gain. Even with the TSU’s three seats, the pan-greens have only 38 percent of the seats, an improvement on 2008, but still insufficient for a party hoping to win back control of the government. This poor result clearly indicates that the DPP must reconsider how it determines its nominations for legislative seats, a process that has failed in the past three legislative elections.

Although the DPP has made some gains, it still has a considerable distance to go before regaining the presidency. This campaign showed some substantial difficulties with the DPP and its campaign organization.

Tsai initially did not listen to advice. Thus, for example, her performance in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) debate with Ma was disastrous. After that, she improved her debating performance, but her key aides, who controlled access to her, remained limited to three young women. These aides were overworked and blocked access to Tsai herself. On several occasions her aides proved they weren’t up to the tasks facing them and the DPP.

Tsai’s nomination enabled the DPP to begin a generational change among its top leadership. However, such a leadership change has yet to be completed. Many new leaders will emerge over the next three years, including vice presidential nominee Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全). However, in addition to a leadership change, the DPP needs to listen to a much wider range of people. The party has large numbers of people capable of making major contributions. These willing and able people must not be cut off from contributing to the party and to party decisions.

Finally, Shanghaiist translates the web commentary from mainland web users reacting to the election:

When I saw Sinopec’s 12 million RMB chandelier, I was not jealous; When I saw Guo Meimei’s Maserati, I was not jealous; When I saw the 3,000 square metre luxury apartment bought by the former chief engineer Zhou Shuguang of the Ministry of Railways in the US, I was not jealous; When I saw that the former Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun had been sleeping with actresses from the Dream of the Red Mansion, I was not jealous; When I saw the son of an official trample upon the law saying “My dad is Li Gang”, I was not jealous; When I saw the people of Taiwan elect their own president under a one-man-one-vote system, I was jealous.

If it’s at all possible to assign scores for democracy, then today’s Taiwan is probably a lot more democratic than many of the more established democracies of the world. These people are like you and I — yellow skinned, brown-eyed, speak Mandarin, and eat Chinese food. Those people that think democracy is not suitable for the Chinese people can now shut up. Those people that say democracy is not possible because the Chinese people are not well-educated enough, or that China is too unique for it, can now shut up. Those people that are still going on about how socialism is superior — please, either go to North Korea for a taste of real socialism, or shut up.

In the re-election of Ma Ying-jeou, 18 million Taiwan voters were co-stars, while another 1.3 billion mainland residents became a captivated and openly envious audience. The shouts of democracy and election that have rung day and night are like a big tight slap across our face, one that leaves our cheeks burning and our ears ringing. There is hope for democracy on the mainland. Come, everybody, let’s talk about democracy and elections on Sina, Tencent, NetEase an

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“Neither Independence nor Unification”

Time has another piece on the Taiwan elections, which are now just more than a week away:

There’s a more crucial, cosmic element to Taiwan. It is worth defending, if not as a territory, then as an idea: that freedom is compatible with the Chinese world. Taiwan could do a better job strengthening rule of law and fighting corruption. But in many stellar ways, it is the un-China: a vigorous democracy; an alternative fount of Chinese language and culture; an arena of fiercely competitive (and partisan) media; a crucible of creativity (tech, film, food); a haven of environmental consciousness (you’ll find recycling bins on remote hilltops). Heck, even the people are nicer — literally a civil society. China has muscle; Taiwan has soul. It’s the true people’s republic.

Taiwan’s voice, particularly during elections, is strong enough to reverberate even on the mainland. The islanders take politics very seriously — it seems to suffuse their lives — because they know their votes really count. In the presidential contest, the 99% figure a great deal: Tsai and her opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accuse Ma and his ruling Kuomintang (KMT) of pandering to Big Business and ignoring income inequality. But beyond livelihood issues, the giant shadow of the mainland looms largest. The elections are, in truth, a referendum on China.

Ma, Beijing and Washington all want the current peace to keep. Ma believes that in a globalized world, no economy can be an island. Engagement with China “carries risk,” he told me, but “it’s in Taiwan’s interest.”

Tsai, 55, demurs. She says she is willing to do business with China — on Taiwan’s terms. She thinks Ma has given away too much to an authoritarian state. “We [should] treat China as a normal trading and economic partner,” Tsai told me. “A lot of people are concerned that we are moving so close and so quickly to China that we would at some point pass the point of no return, meaning the only option is to be with China in the future rather than being on our own.” That sounds perfectly reasonable. But because the DPP advocates de jure independence for Taiwan (an extreme red flag to China), many interested parties — most notably Beijing and Washington — worry about a Tsai victory. One scenario: a return to the cross-strait cold war witnessed during the DPP’s eight years in office before Ma’s election in 2008. It’s clear to all that China and the U.S., which seldom agree on much, both prefer Ma over Tsai — Beijing because it sees him as friendlier, Washington because it doesn’t want to be caught in the middle of any new quarrel between Taiwan and China if Tsai wins.

The planet’s two strongest nations don’t have a vote, however, and neither Ma nor Tsai can impose their will on Taiwan.

Given that Taiwan is its own political, economic, military and cultural master, it’s surreal, and somewhat tragic, that such a discrete and open society cannot be a normal nation. While much of the blame lies, of course, with Beijing — which, through its clout, blocks any meaningful overseas role for Taipei — much is also Taiwan’s own doing. Two polar illusions, rooted in misguided hope, have governed the island: that Taiwan will win back the mainland and unify the two as a noncommunist state (the KMT’s raison d’être) and that Taiwan will be formally recognized as an independent country (the DPP’s cause). For too long, Taiwan has been defined by the struggle for one or the other. But now there’s a growing realization that both unification and independence are impossible dreams, so much so that you don’t hear those words mentioned in Taiwan anywhere as often as before.

Having never been to Taiwan I do wonder about the people being nicer- it’s been my experience that mainlanders are mostly very friendly. Anyone have an opinion on that one?

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“Ties to China Linger as Issue as Taiwanese Prepare to Vote”

The NYT has an article about Taiwan’s elections, which are now less than ten days away:

But when voters go to the polls on Jan. 14 — only the fifth time they have done so since Taiwan threw off single-party rule in 1996 — they will also be guided by their views on a separate, overwhelmingly important issue: whether this vibrantly democratic island of 23 million should speed, slow or halt its wary embrace of China.

Mr. Ma, 61, a Nationalist, has overseen a raft of agreements that have revolutionized the way ordinary Chinese and Taiwanese interact. There are now direct flights, postal services and new shipping routes between Taiwan and the mainland, and a landmark free trade agreement has slashed tariffs on hundreds of goods.

The agreements opened the gates to the deluge of Chinese tourists — 213,000 arrived in November, 30 percent more than in November 2010 — who buoyed the local economy with more than $3 billion in spending last year. Other firsts include a pair of giant pandas from China, an early reward for Mr. Ma’s Beijing-friendly gestures, and nearly 1,000 mainland students who now study at Taiwan universities.

The burst of contact has reawakened old sensitivities and raised new ones.

Business-minded Taiwanese know where the money is: the million or so Taiwanese now working and investing in China appear to be backing the Nationalists and Mr. Ma.

“We certainly don’t want to jeopardize the status quo,” said Liu Chia-hao, a spokesman at Taipei 101, an iconic green-glass tower that dominates the Taipei horizon. Mr. Liu said that mainland visitors packing the building’s observatory and high-end shops helped the $1.8 billion project break even three years early.

“We’d like this vibe to continue,” he said.

But warming ties have also stoked deeply rooted fears, fanned by Ms. Tsai and her party, that the island is becoming too cozy with the authoritarian behemoth next door.

“Let’s face it, China wants nothing more than to devour us, and the K.M.T. is giving us away,” Zhou Zhu-zhen, a retired nurse, said last month during a rally.

The front-runners dance gingerly around the issue of China. It emerges mostly in the form of debate on the so-called 1992 Consensus, a nebulous pact between Beijing and Nationalist Party leaders that allows both to recognize the principle of one China, bypassing uncomfortable details. Ms. Tsai, a former minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, which helps set cross-strait policy, says the arrangement is a fiction. She wants the voters to determine how Taiwan defines itself in future negotiations with China.

Although she has dialed down her party’s stridency on independence, Ms. Tsai warns that Nationalist policies are eroding Taiwan’s sovereignty. In an interview, she offered a simple example of distasteful compromise: “When Chinese visitors come, we have to put away our flags,” she said.

Mr. Ma waves off such complaints, saying that détente has strengthened the island’s global standing.

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“Taiwan Elections: Chinese netizens praise democracy”

One of the things that must make Beijing angriest about Taiwan is that it disproves their weird racism in insisting that Chinese people are somehow unsuited to democracy- and that it does so in their language, right off their shores. The Taipei Times reports on mainland Chinese internet commentary on the elections:

Data mining conducted last week on various Chinese social media platforms seems to indicate great interest in the first presidential debate on Dec. 3 between Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

On the Baidu platform alone, more than 880,000 Chinese–language searches for “uncut television debate for the 2012 Taiwan Area leadership election” were recorded, with several variants also producing a high number of returns. Two combinations had more than 1 million searches.

Searches for “Taiwan Area/TV debate,” meanwhile, featured some revealing tweets from Tencent and Netease.

One, written under the handle Sipai, read: “When I was a child, I used to get real excited when I heard all that jazz about taking Taiwan back. After watching the debate video, I’m thinking when the heck is Taiwan going to take us back.”

In another post, user Li Fangjun wrote: “While watching this debate over the lunch break I suddenly thought about what two colleagues said last week during a drive. According to them, if it was not for the Cultural Revolution and its extirpation of thousand-year-old traditions, the obstacles today’s China faces in its transition toward modernity would be even worse — almost unimaginable. Is it true that a beautiful future can only be drawn on a blank sheet of paper? Are Chinese people only fit for despotism and totalitarianism? Just take a look at Taiwan.”

On Sina weibo, a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, the hash tag “Taiwan presidential election” brought 154,000 results, with one tweet, whose authorship could not be ascertained, rebroadcast several thousand times.

Titled “What the Taiwan Presidential Election Tells Me,” the entry read: “1. Chinese people are actually able to be democratic and it’s got nothing to do with race; 2. Elections are actually supposed to be debated and to depend on getting the approval of the people and it’s got nothing to do with ‘getting represented’; 3. Electoral platforms are actually supposed to be broadcast to the people first and they’ve got nothing to do with grand theories; 4. Democracy actually requires multiparty competition and it’s got nothing to do with one-party rule; 5. The people actually are able to choose and it’s got nothing to do with supporting or gratitude to the leadership; 6. The powerful are actually to be held accountable and criticized and it’s got nothing to do with their greatness and unfailing wisdom.”

According to one US analyst who could not be named in this article, some Chinese Internet users have written that they want Taiwan “to stay Chinese” not because of territorial sovereignty, but because Taiwan stands “as a shining example for China’s democratic future.”

While it might be that some in China have always held this opinion and were merely censored before, the analyst said that opinion had discernibly grown as exposure to the facts and realities in Taiwan have increased.

The Chinese government, which maintains a tight grip on media, has allowed coverage of the presidential election to be discussed and covered on social media to an unprecedented, if not altogether complete, degree.

As of Friday night, Sina weibo, one of the most popular microblogging platforms in China, with more than 250 million registered users, had not blocked the search term “Taiwan Presidential Election.” This indicates that the terms are not on the platform’s list of blacklisted keywords, such as “human rights” and “Liu Xiaobo” (劉曉波).

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“US and China fret over Taiwan vote”

Asia Times has the latest on the Ma-Tsai race, where Tsai is looking ok by most accounts:

The presidential election in Taiwan is scheduled for January 14, 2012, and the race is extremely tight. Regardless of the outcome, the election will have significant impact on the cross-Strait situation and on United States interests.

With the election only 10 weeks away, polls show Ma in a dead heat with Tsai Ing-wen, the candidate from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Together with the People First Party and Chinese New Party, Ma’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party forms the Taiwanese Pan-Blue coalition.

On November 4, xFuture, a market operated by Taipei’s National Chengchi University where users bet on future events similar to investors in a stock market, gave Tsai a 49.7% chance of victory and Ma a 45.2% chance.

A third candidate, James Soong from the People First Party (PFP), announced on November 1 that he would enter the race after collecting the requisite number of signatures to add his name to the ballot. Most polls indicate that Soong can obtain approximately 10-14% of the total, drawing an equal number of votes from both of the other candidates.

However, it is more likely that Soong will siphon votes from Ma and tip the results in favor of Tsai. In the 2000 elections, Soong ran as a third-party candidate, splitting the Pan-Blue vote, which enabled Chen Shui-bian to win with only 39.3%.

If Ma is re-elected for a second term, Beijing may become impatient for faster progress toward reunification and pressure Taipei to launch talks aimed at settling political differences. Absent a domestic consensus on the island, cross-strait political talks could be extremely divisive with negative repercussions both within Taiwan and between the two sides of the strait.

A victory by Tsai would create different challenges. Tsai is unlikely to accept the two pillars on which mainland China has based its willingness to engage with Taipei: the 1992 Consensus – the formula that made possible the historic Singapore talks between Taiwan and the mainland in 1993 and represents an understanding that there is only one China, though disagreement persists on how to define it – and opposition to Taiwan’s independence.

A Ma victory is Beijing’s preferred outcome, although in private conversations, Chinese officials and scholars do not conceal their disappointment and frustration with Ma’s cautious approach to mainland China and his insistence that many cross-strait agreements yield greater benefits for Taiwan than for the mainland.

Even if no substantial progress toward reunification is achieved in a second term under Ma’s rule, mainland officials are confident that cross-strait relations will at least be stable and predictable, enabling Beijing to focus attention on other pressing matters.

Ma has said that Taiwan could “cautiously consider” signing a peace agreement with mainland China within the next decade if the pact met three preconditions: it wins strong support from Taiwan’s people, whose views would be polled in a referendum; it meets the actual needs of the nation; and it is supervised by Taiwan’s legislature.

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On Paul V. Kane and His Stupid Op-Ed

I’ve occasionally featured bad journalism on here, articles which serve as examples of what happens when dumb people write about China. Today I have the dumbest yet, an op-ed from the NYT by a Paul V. Kane, apparently “a former international security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.” One wonders if the ‘former’ bit comes from him being expelled from the school?

He writes about how America should ‘dump’ Taiwan. Take a look:

WITH a single bold act, President Obama could correct the country’s course, help assure his re-election, and preserve our children’s future.

He should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015.

This would be a most precious prize to the cautious men in Beijing, one they would give dearly to achieve. After all, our relationship with Taiwan, as revised in 1979, is a vestige of the cold war.

Today, America has little strategic interest in Taiwan, which is gradually integrating with China economically by investing in and forming joint ventures with mainland Chinese firms. The island’s absorption into mainland China is inevitable.

China would want a deal on Taiwan for several reasons. First, Taiwan is Beijing’s unspoken but hard-to-hide top priority for symbolic and strategic reasons; only access to water and energy mean more to Chinese leaders.

Second, a deal would open a clearer path for the gradual, orderly integration of Taiwan into China.

Third, it would undermine hard-line militarists who use the Taiwan issue to stoke nationalist flames, sideline pro-Western technocrats and extract larger military budgets. And finally, it would save China the considerable sums it has been spending on a vast military buildup.

Where to begin?! It’s always a little painful to read something written by someone who clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, but this article just throws nonsense at you from every angle. Giving up Taiwan would correct the country’s course? Really? An issue most Americans know little/nothing about would ensure his re-election? Really?!?! It would preserve our children’s future?!?!?!? Really?!??!?!?!

Then there’s the ‘absorption into mainland China is inevitable’ bit. I take it Kane has only learned about Taiwan from Beijing propaganda releases or something? This is a country which has been de-facto independent for decades, where the people have grown more and more invested in a Taiwanese identity defines them as not-PRC, where the realistic chances of integration grow smaller every year. As Peking Duck said in response to the article:

The only thing missing from this op-ed: the Taiwanese. I lived there for nearly two years. This “solution” would be met by abject horror, and not just by the Green fanatics. (And not all Greens are fanatics; I know some splendid ones. But I also know a few fanatics. And when I say fanatics….) I know plenty of politically apathetic Chinese who emphatically say Taiwan will never accept being ruled by the CCP. And they really mean it.

Has Kane ever… oh, I don’t know, spoken to a Taiwanese person? Glanced at an opinion poll? The Taiwanese can see what happens to people on the other side of the Taiwan Straight, they know what being ruled by Beijing means. Kane also seems to have no idea that Beijing actually frequently and loudly talks about how reintegrating Taiwan is one of their top priorities- indeed, it’s frequently called a ‘core interest’ by Chinese leaders, which makes it odd for Kane to describe it as ‘unspoken.’ Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider points out another huge flaw:

Two, and this is more important, China doesn’t hold a sword over our heads. There are all kinds of reasons why we have to take China seriously, but their debt holdings aren’t one of them. They can’t dump our debt even if they wanted to, and as long as they wanted to trade with us (which will be forever) they won’t be dumping our debt. People think the Chinese own our debt because they’re our lenders. This isn’t the case. The Chinese own our debt because they run a trade surplus with the U.S., and that surplus cash gets recycled into Treasuries. That’s it.

People more interested in the economic flaws of Kane’s argument should read this post by Chovanec, who explains in great detail exactly why the plan makes no sense.

It’s rare to see the entire Chinese blogosphere united in derision like this. Here’s to hoping no one important ever reads his op-ed.

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“Washington on the move: The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011″

The View from Taiwan relates that progress is being made on the Taiwan Policy Act, which bodes well for the alliance between America and Taiwan:

The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011 aims to “strengthen and clarify the commercial, cultural and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan, as codified in the Taiwan Relations Act, and for other purposes.” The bill underscores the policy of the United States is to “support Taiwan, Taiwan’s democracy, and the human rights of its people.” Notably, the bill states that it shall be the policy of the United States to strengthen the Defense of Taiwan, to revitalize trade and investment ties with Taiwan, to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the international organization, and to encourage visits by cabinet level officials between both countries.

Taiwan is strategically essential to the United States and this piece of legislation is a vital step in reinforcing our commitment to our democratic partner and ally.

The Formosa Foundation has worked closely with Congresswoman Ros-Lethinen and other members of Congress to bring the important issues of Taiwan policy to the top of the agenda in Washington and to the attention of the American people. In June, Ros-Lehtinen assured over two hundred participants at a Formosa Foundation community event that “it is strongly in America’s national interest to re-energize and upgrade relations between our two peoples and our two great democracies. In my capacity as chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I hope to do just that in the weeks and months ahead.” Today she put her words into action.

Beijing’s strategy is to divide and conquer its various adversaries. Things like this can make a real difference in voiding that strategy.

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“Taiwan’s Tsai Stresses Slower Track for China Ties”

Tsai and Guomindang incumbent Ma are very close- although some pro-DPP sites I’ve seen sound a little pessimistic about her chances in the end, she’s certainly looking OK right now. From the WSJ, on her views about China and Taiwan:

Taiwanese presidential challenger Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan should take its time to develop trade and tourism links with China, in an interview that highlighted a shift that ties between Taipei and Beijing might undergo if she defeats incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, who has fast-tracked relations with the island’s giant neighbor.

“Ten years, in my view, is just too short,” she said, referring to what she said was a common time frame for economic opening under free-trade agreements. Chinese banks are “much, much bigger,” she said, and local banks may not be able to withstand a competitive onslaught. “We have to think very seriously about the survival of our financial institutions,” she said.

She also said that Taiwan doesn’t currently have the infrastructure to cope with a sudden influx of Chinese tourists. In 2010, the number of Chinese tourists soared to 1.6 million from a mere 200,000 in 2008.

She said the DPP is throwing out “olive branches” to China to show its goodwill, but she rejected a vague agreement between Beijing and the KMT on Taiwan’s status as a part of “one China,” which both view to be the foundation for recent economic cooperation. Instead, she said, Beijing must accept the Taiwanese people’s commitment to their own sovereignty. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Ms. Tsai acknowledged there are significant “conflicting interests” between the DPP and China. “China must face the fact that Taiwan is a democracy and they have to treat Taiwan as a democracy. The way they conduct business with us, the way they have dialogues with us, they all have to keep this in mind: Taiwan is a democracy,” she said.

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“Of Change and Continuity”

The oddly-named Knowledge@Wharton, somehow connected to UPenn, has a good interview with Jacques deLisle on the upcoming changing of the guard in Zhongnanhai. A few selections:

China Knowledge: Given that context domestically, what’s your take on what some say is Hu Jintao’s other big legacy — for China to be a more assertive power regionally and internationally?

DeLisle: The dictum that Deng Xiaoping, and his successor Jiang Zemin, followed was, in effect, “Hide your light under a bushel” — become a strong country, but don’t be too noisy about it because people will push back against you and be suspicious of your aims. That policy faded halfway through the Hu years, partly because China is doing well and wants the recognition that comes with doing well, and partly because they put a lot of resources into the military. This all coalesces into China being much more assertive about its interests and preferences in the international system.

Since 2008, China has been throwing sharper elbows. A lot of the good will and soft power advances of earlier years have dissipated quickly. You see it in disputes over the South China Sea, frictions with various neighbors, like Vietnam and Japan, certainly, and the problem of China backing North Korea.

Taiwan has been an exception.

China Knowledge: Has China’s next generation of leaders shown their cards yet in any of this?

DeLisle: The fifth generation will start taking over in the fall of next year at the Party Congress. Li Keqiang is going to be Wen Jiabao’s successor as premier, and Xi Jinping will succeed Hu Jintao as president and general secretary.

The Chinese political system now is not one where successors show their cards all that much. It’s not as if there are elections and a premium for distinguishing yourself from other aspiring leaders. It’s very much a pyramidal system and people rise to the top by staying within the consensus that frames the leadership’s policy. There are, of course, internal disputes over policy, but they tend not to be terribly publicly visible.

So there are few cards shown. You don’t secure your succession by challenging your predecessor openly while he’s still sitting on the throne…. What we’ve heard Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang say is not very far off from what orthodox policy has been under the fourth generation.

Some areas to look for indicators of change are career paths and personal history. A fairly standard, and generally accurate assessment, of fifth-generation politics is to talk about the “princelings” and the Communist Youth League group. The princelings are basically the sons — I say sons, because there are few daughters at top levels– of the first-generation revolutionary leaders. These people have grown up as China’s elite. They have largely served in China’s booming coastal areas — Shanghai, Beijing and so on. They’re thought of as people of the Jiang Zemin model — inequality is okay, growth is what it’s all about and so is deep engagement with the outside world. The Youth League faction that Hu Jintao — and to a certain degree Wen Jiabao — are more associated with are more concerned about inequality, the less-developed hinterland, and social stability and justice issues.

China Knowledge: So it will be more of the same generally in 2012?

DeLisle: The Mainland is the one place that we know where there will be a change of leaders by the end of 2012. We pretty much know who they are and have a good idea of their general orientation. And the fact that the occupants of offices formally change doesn’t mean the old guys leave power and the new guys have all the power. It takes more than a year for the successors just to accumulate all the formal posts, and it takes a couple of years or more for the old group to fade. Whether we will see continuity in foreign, or external, policy is really dependent to a great degree on what happens in presidential politics in two other places.

As for the election in Taiwan in January, a fair reading of the DPP candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, is that she would be a good deal more moderate than Chen Shui-bian, partly by personal preference, partly by temperament and partly by virtue of the political constraints she would face as the elected leader of Taiwan under current circumstances. But at a moment of formal transition on the Mainland, which — for all the continuity — is a period of high tension when nobody wins points by being soft, and given what are pretty entrenched Chinese suspicions rooted in the pro-independence Chen Shui-bian era of what the DPP in power means, there’s a real risk that China would react very badly to a DPP victory. That risk is particularly significant if it comes in the wake of Mainland-bashing or pro-independence electioneering in Taiwan, which is a real possibility. Taiwan has democratic elections and that means candidates face complicated calculations about whether to play to their more extreme base or to play to the middle. Ma may have to say relatively critical things about China to court median voters.

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“Chinese Su-27s breach center line in Strait”

In short: an American spy plane was chased out of Chinese airspace by two fighters… which then breached Taiwanese airspace, prompting Taiwanese F-16′s in turn to chase them out. The View from Taiwan gets into more detail, and explains why the Strait is such a contentious issue:

As this 2004 piece in the Straits Times observes, the line has never been clearly defined between the three gov’ts — because Beijing fears that a clear cut demarcation in the Strait will make Taiwan even more independent than it already is. Other pieces give clear lines.

In 2004 the TSU actually called for a new constitution to clearly define what is Taiwan’s and what is China’s in the Strait — who owns what in the Taiwan Strait will become yet another contested issue if Taiwan formally ratifies its existing de-facto independence one day. You can imagine what China will do — fight rearguard sovereignty actions over the Penghu, which are “indisputably Chinese and have been for every freakin’ second of the last 5000 thousand years.” Then will come the struggles over fishing and mineral rights. Taiwan independence won’t be the end of the process of disengagement from China, but the beginning of one….

It should be clear by now that the whole fictional construction of “5,000 years of Chinese history” exists merely to facilitate China’s territorial expansion.

I’m curious about how this is being covered in Chinese-language press. Do they cover it loudly as an example of American imperialism, and just trail off about Taiwan’s role? Do they just ignore the entire thing? Do they concoct some even more outlandish stance on it?

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“Strait Ahead? China’s Fifth Generation Leaders And Taiwan Policy”

With China and Taiwan set to see a leadership change and elections, respectively, over the next year and a half, observers have been curious about what this means for cross-straights relations. Eurasia Review has a slightly long and slightly dense but good article here with their forecast. It starts with a review of how the last few years have seen changes in their relationship, covering some of the finer points:

The Anti-Secession Law was indeed strongly assertive (although not new) in its core principle: Taiwan is a part of China that has not been, and will not be, separated from China. But the law also included a foundation for moderation and stability in practice: since Taiwan had not left China, there was no pressing need to take action to reunify Taiwan with the motherland. This point is clearer if one contrasts the Anti-Secession Law with an alternative considered at the time: a Reunification Law. A Reunification Law would have been much less provocative in principle, implicitly conceding that Taiwan was to some degree (and perhaps to a very great degree) separate from China. But such a law would have been more destabilizing and threatening in practice: because non-unification was for Beijing an ultimately intolerable state of affairs, there would be considerable pressure to establish a timeline and articulate concrete steps or conditions for achieving reunification.

In the period since Ma came to office in Taiwan, the Hu administration’s cross-Strait policy has included: a de facto diplomatic truce (with Beijing suspending efforts to induce—and reportedly rebuffing a handful offers from—Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners to switch formal ties from Taipei to Beijing); acceptance of a modest expansion of international space for Taiwan (including, most notably, “Chinese Taipei’s” participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly meetings beginning in 2009); and ECFA and other cross-Strait arrangements that have been, in narrow economic terms at least, fairly generous to Taiwan. Such measures have seemingly helped to calm the fear or sense of desperation in some quarters in Taiwan that had generated support for Chen Shui-bian’s more confrontational and risky policies. And they helped to flesh out a scenario in which stability and ongoing improvement in cross-Strait relations offer a significant upside for Taiwan.

Hu-era policy toward Taiwan follows and builds upon China’s longer-term learning about how to engage Taiwan’s democratic politics, specifically its presidential elections.

They go on to lay out what they see coming down the road:

A much more powerful China faces growing concern and scrutiny concerning its intentions. For the outside world trying to discern China’s proclivities, Taiwan is something of a canary in the coalmine. Given a cross-Strait military balance tilting ever more heavily in the mainland’s favor, China’s firm and long-standing ideological and legal position that Beijing has the right (and perhaps the obligation) to use force to protect its long-identified “core interest” in sovereignty over Taiwan, and the sensitive place of Taiwan in U.S.-China relations, signs that Beijing is belligerent or coercive toward Taiwan will receive outsized attention. Although China would surely try to portray any such measures toward Taiwan as purely a domestic matter with no bearing on the PRC’s truly “international” behavior, much of the world—including China’s neighbors and the United States—may well not see it that way. On the other hand, Beijing likely can tout a sustained period of tolerance for the status quo and voluntary progress in cross-Strait relations as evidence of its benign intent toward the outside world in generally.

Second, and more broadly, China under the fifth generation leadership has a continuing fundamental interest in a stable and peaceful external environment (including across the Taiwan Strait) to help achieve its still-primary goal of economic development. To be sure, China is now sufficiently awash in capital that drawing foreign investment is not likely to be the priority it once was. And the crucial role that exports have played in China’s growth will decline given the likely lasting flattening of consumer demand in the developed world, the growing pressure China faces from the U.S. and others to level the playing field in trade and to allow its currency to appreciate, the long-term unsustainability of an export-led growth strategy for the world’s second largest economy, and the increased reliance on domestic demand that predictably accompanies China’s greater affluence and efforts to address severe economic inequality. Nonetheless, China’s deep integration with the outside world, its enormous export sectors, and its still-daunting development tasks mean that a fundamental reorientation will not occur in the near term. For the fifth generation leaders, like their predecessors, the domestic economic growth imperative endures as a powerful driver of a foreign policy that seeks stability and good relations abroad. Cross-Strait relations are likely to remain a particularly visible and significant part of those external relations. And, in the closing years of fourth-generation rule and likely into the period of fifth-generation rule on the mainland, Taiwan has been an especially bright spot in Beijing’s otherwise increasingly friction-ridden interactions with the outside world.

Finally, they get into how various candidates wins in the Taiwanese elections might effect the whole thing. Obviously, if the Guomindang loses Beijing will feel more uncomfortable. But they don’t find much evidence to support the idea that a DPP candidate would risk rocking the boat too much either, so it looks like ‘continued stability’ is the most likely outcome.

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“One Country Two Governments”

Politics from Taiwan has a post about “One Country, Two Governments,” one proposal for solving the Taiwan “issue.” Apparently the Guomindang has signaled they might be interested in this framework for talks with the mainland:

The ‘one country, two governments’ model is what “greater China” advocates in Taiwan have dreamed of for years — they envision a world where the ROC government survives intact and gains recognition from China and the world. Basically, pro-unification advocates in Taiwan envision this as a symbolic unification with practical independence maintained.

I think if there were any formulation for “unification” that will not send the Taiwanese people running to the DPP, it’s this one. Truth be told, even I would be interested in hearing more about the idea, and would not reject it out of hand. The major concern, of course, is that the CCP uses this model as a lure to ‘solve’ the unification problem, then puts increasing pressure on Taiwan to gradually gain control over the island.

That would definitely be a real concern. Hong Kong has seen subtly increasing Chinese pressure on their political system, and Taiwan would do well to keep a close eye on how Beijing treats HK. As far as Zhongnanhai is concerned there’s only one party in China, and it does not share power…

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“Leaked Propaganda Directives”

The Chinese propaganda department seems to have sprung a number of leaks over the last few years, with instructions to media outlets and vast armies of paid internet commentators occasionally making their way to the public. China Digital Times has a new one, with instructions for how to comment on Taiwan:

In order to circumscribe the influence of Taiwanese democracy, in order to progress further in the work of guiding public opinion, and in accordance with the requirements established by higher authorities to “be strategic, be skilled,” we hope that internet commentators conscientiously study the mindset of netizens, grasp international developments, and better perform the work of being an internet commentator. For this purpose, this notice is promulgated as set forth below:

(1) To the extent possible make America the target of criticism. Play down the existence of Taiwan.

(2) Do not directly confront [the idea of] democracy; rather, frame the argument in terms of “what kind of system can truly implement democracy.”

(3) To the extent possible, choose various examples in Western countries of violence and unreasonable circumstances to explain how democracy is not well-suited to capitalism.

(4) Use America’s and other countries’ interference in international affairs to explain how Western democracy is actually an invasion of other countries and [how the West] is forcibly pushing [on other countries] Western values.

(5) Use the bloody and tear-stained history of a [once] weak people [i.e., China] to stir up pro-Party and patriotic emotions.

(6) Increase the exposure that positive developments inside China receive; further accommodate the work of maintaining [social] stability.

It’s funny- you can find people posting exactly these things all over the place. It’s also a testament to the odd place Taiwan has found in China- despite Beijing claiming that Chinese people are unsuited to democracy, Taiwan has a thriving democracy just off their coast! And despite Beijing claiming that the Taiwanese people all want to return to China, from the results of Taiwanese democracy we can see that this really isn’t the case. Rather than adjust their propaganda to meet reality, they’ve chosen to just generate a lot of noise and try to confuse Chinese people on the issue.

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China and Taiwan: linkage rather than unification (I)

In the first of a multi-part special report on China Elections and Governance, Juntao writes about the difficulties of cross-straits relations:

Since Ma Ying-jeou entered the president’s office in 2008, China-Taiwan relations have retreated from the brink of war into peaceful development. In their interactions, both governments have adopted a principle of “economy first, politics second.” Fifteen agreements and one memoranda have been signed in the past three years. Currently, the cross-strait relationship is regarded as being at the best stage since the separation in 1949.

However, no one can doubt the common sense that politics and economy are two sides of the same coin. Any changes in economic policy reflect political engagement. Sometimes, even though there is no explicit government intervention, sovereign issues cannot be ignored. For example, how do courts deal with a cross-strait trade dispute? A legal framework must be established to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The two sides must agree on whether to treat it as an international dispute or a domestic dispute, but each side wants to pursue its own interests. Beijing tends to consider such disputes domestic matter, while Taiwan emphasizes its autonomy. Under this dilemma, a de facto and informal country-to-country relationship is the status quo. This relationship is inherently unstable. Beijing worries that its confirmation of this quasi-diplomacy will be transformed into real diplomacy if the pro-independence party wins Taiwan’s presidency.

So the current working paradigm is to downgrade the interactions to the non-governmental level. Both sides authorize NGOs (the Straits Exchange Foundation of Taiwan and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits of China) to launch bilateral negotiations–though in reality the members are high-ranked officials and the legal documents are nearly the same as international treaties. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement is one example. Up to now, this method has worked well. But how far it can go?

Quasi- or even real diplomacy is more acceptable in Taiwan. But Beijing is trapped by its unwavering commitment to unification. If Beijing allows Taiwan to act independently, it would delegitimize the Chinese government. China once promoted the “One Country, Two Systems” concept to bond the two sides. The policy has been experimentally applied in Hong Kong. However, the “One Country” here is exclusive defined as the People’s Republic of China and thus, is unacceptable to the people of Taiwan.

Right now Beijing is glad to have the Guomindang in power- over the years they’ve changed from Beijing’s implacable enemy to actually being the friendliest major party in Taiwan. If they lose in the upcoming elections, and especially if their pro-Beijing stance is perceived to have been a factor in their loss, expect to see a reinvigorated DPP coalition push the envelope even further after they take over. China is reaching the point where it has put too much money into Taiwan to let silly posturing ruin their investments, and young Taiwanese seem to be less and less interested in reunification.

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