Think about Taiwan

    Posted on: 2009-01-16 (台灣) 出版

Think about Taiwan

The strategy of Taiwan’s President is unfortunately working. By constantly including China when we talk about Taiwan, we in the world community shall be accustomed to Taiwan being a part of China.

By Michael Danielsen, Chairman, Taiwan Corner.

Translation from “Tænk på Taiwan”  in the Danish newspaper “Information”  on Januar 16. 2009.

The strategy of Taiwan’s President is unfortunately working. By constantly including China when we talk about Taiwan, we in the world community shall be accustomed to Taiwan being a part of China.

Taiwan’s President Ma wishes that we all think about China when we mention Taiwan. The goal is to make Taiwan more Chinese in the world community and in Taiwan. Language and actions are central tools in this strategy. Language wise he has repeatedly stated that Taiwan is an area which is a part of China.

Thereby he not only breaks with his own election promises about a pro-Taiwan future but goes against the Taiwanese’s own wishes and self-image.

Accept of the end goal

Ma’s change of direction is dramatic compared to the past two democratic elected presidents. The two former presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian ensured that Taiwan became more independent. Ma’s statement that whole China consists of a Taiwan area and a China area, in which he considers himself as president, partially explain why Ma accepted not to be addressed as president during the visit of the Chinese chief negotiator Chen Yunlin in Taiwan in November 2008.

Ma’s regionalization of Taiwan as a part of China fits well into the foundation of the current negotiations between China and Taiwan. The negotiations are built on the so-called 1992 consensus, which dictates that Taiwan and China agrees that there exists only and only one China.

The change of political direction and the change in the policy of identity are fundamental and leave Taiwan with a reduced sovereignty, Taiwan’s government radical change of direction demands an explanation. What are the strategy and the end goal behind Ma’s policy?

The strategy is difficult to miss. As said already, Ma wishes that we think about China when we talk about Taiwan. And the strategy is working. We talk more about China e.g. during the negotiation between China and Taiwan, when propaganda pandas are send to Taiwan during Christmas, when Taiwan outdated Republic of China constitution is actively used and when China will “help” Taiwan into the World Health Organization in the spring. In Taiwan you experience that Taiwan becomes more Chinese when the postal service changes name from Taiwan post to China post and during debates if Chinese actors shall be allowed to participate in TV show productions.

By constantly including China when we talk about Taiwan, we in the world community shall be accustomed to Taiwan is Chinese and Taiwanese shall realize the economical and cultural benefits of being a part of China. All this shall lead to the end goal which is Ma’s vision of the common marked with China.

Divided

Precisely, the common marked will however be Ma’s biggest mistake. The Taiwanese will never accept a common marked that is similar to a Hong –Kong solution. More than 80% of the Taiwanese are opposed to a Hong-Kong model. The consequences will be that the population will react with even stronger demonstration and more unrest than Taiwan already has experienced. Ma already feels the historical low approval rating of 24%, and a massive international and internal critique from international associations of Journalists, Amnesty International, American members of congress and a number of international professors which are worried about Taiwan’s democracy.

Taiwan is again divided between a small but powerful minority, seeking unification with China and the rest of the population. The current policy runs opposite the tendency that Taiwanese increasingly feels like Taiwanese while those who feel that they are Chinese are down to 5-6%. Taiwanese love their own country which they think of as Taiwan and China. The rest of the world should do the same – think of Taiwan.

Precisely, the common marked will however be Ma’s biggest mistake. The Taiwanese will never accept a common marked that is similar to a Hong –Kong solution. More than 80% of the Taiwanese are opposed to a Hong-Kong model. The consequences will be that the population will react with even stronger demonstration and more unrest than Taiwan already has experienced. Ma already feels the historical low approval rating of 24%, and a massive international and internal critique from international associations of Journalists, Amnesty International, American members of congress and a number of international professors which are worried about Taiwan’s democracy.

Taiwan is again divided between a small but powerful minority, seeking unification with China and the rest of the population. The current policy runs opposite the tendency that Taiwanese increasingly feels like Taiwanese while those who feel that they are Chinese are down to 5-6%. Taiwanese love their own country which they think of as Taiwan and China. The rest of the world should do the same – think of Taiwan.