First the awful. Over at Huffington Post Eric Anderson has another one of his excrutiating pieces on "cross-strait reconciliation." Anderson lauds Ma as a "master politician" -- no, I'm not making that up -- and thinks it is just peachy that Taiwan is being sold out:
Over the last year Ma has succeeded in reopening direct links to the mainland, facilitated implementation of military confidence-building measures, and won a place for Taiwan in the World Health Organization. All unprecedented developments. Furthermore, Ma's administration has fostered a "mature" conversation with their mainland counterparts thereby opening the door to reciprocal outreach from Beijing. For the first time in almost 20 years cross-Strait relations seem destined to yield more than heated name-calling and threats of armed intervention.Spot the usual Establishment tropes of "Taiwan the toddler", referring to Ma's approach as "mature" and dismissing the last twenty years of negotiations to hold China at arms length by two presidents as "name calling"? Down the memory hole with ye, Chen Shui-bian! Those of you wishing to wallow in this may read it yourselves. I left extensive remarks there but Huffington Post moderators killed them, as they have before when I have pointed out how wrong Anderson is.
International Security 33:4 brings Saunders and Kastner envisioning "a peace agreement" between China and Taiwan. The strongly pro-Beijing article is mainly an intellectual exercise, since no "peace agreement" will be made without Taiwan admitting it is part of China.
Suzanne Peppers offers a very interesting article in Hong Kong Journal on the inapplicability of Hong Kong's system of Chinese rule to Taiwan. Strongly pro-democracy, sometimes missing a point on Taiwan, but in the main good, she observes:
Now apply that to Taiwan.....enjoy that whole piece, quite interesting.
Other indications of Beijing’s intentions include: the refusal to allow universal suffrage elections for the legislature until 2020; reneging on earlier promises that decisions to hold such elections would be made locally; community-wide national patriotic education that introduces concepts heretofore little-known in Hong Kong, like the Chinese constitution’s proviso for universal suffrage under CCP rule as an alternative to Western-style adversarial democracy; a lower tier of 18 District Councils that is beginning to look like the lowermost rung of China’s CCP-led People’s Congress system; the assertion of Beijing’s “substantive” right to make all the top appointments in Hong Kong’s government; and an “underground” or unacknowledged local CCP branch that is acknowledged in all but name.7 Beijing could have loosened the bonds on any one of these points. In particular, Beijing might have allowed Macau’s new law to decouple national and political security. Instead, efforts by local democrats to deflect the progression toward mainland-style governance are derided as unpatriotic and blocked at every step.
The moral of this story is that the two-systems solution is not what it seems from a distance. Although carefully written and promoted to obscure the endgame, Hong Kong’s Basic Law authorizes all the means necessary to facilitate integration within the national political system and that process is well advanced. Even the staid South China Morning Post has begun slipping lines about full integration by 2047 into its editorials. Letters-to-the-editor also occasionally question the value of an independent Western-style judiciary or electoral system when neither will be needed “after 2047.” The forecast is a given but such real-life implications have yet to be elaborated.
Finally, Asia Policy has a Cross Strait Roundtable this month on defining a healthy balance in the Taiwan Strait. Bruce Jacobs, longtime democracy supporter here, and my former prof Robert Sutter, both have strong pieces in it. Explore, and enjoy
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