Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brookings Hosts Call for Taiwan to Enter Talks under One China rubric

This beautiful fellow stood, injured, on the floor of my building this morning.

Got momentarily confused between Brookings and Xinhua today as the think tank hosted a piece from a Chinese academic on Taiwan-China relations that offered some bizarre claims. Are their commentaries not fact-checked before being posted? *Sigh*
Therefore, the DPP would continue its basic line on Taiwan independence and opposition to anything related to Mainland China (feng zhong bi fan), including even welcoming pandas from Mainland China to zoos in Taiwan, now and in the future. The DPP and Pan-Green not only irrationally oppose Mainland China and anything related to Mainland China as their strategy, positions, and policies, they also insist on the confrontational, irrational, even violent approaches to carry out their strategies and policies, including physically beating the Mainland officials or former officials going to Taiwan for exchanging views and talks when those officials are on streets, visiting sites, or in buildings in Taiwan.
It is one thing to allow academics to state their opinions and provide analysis; it is quite another to permit sheer propaganda. It is shameful that someone was allowed to write this nonsense and have it posted under the Brookings imprimatur. No visiting Chinese officials have ever been "physically beaten" in Taiwan. Opposition to being annexed by the authoritarian PRC, where pro-democracy types are routinely incarcerated, is not "irrational."  Letting an academic from a state where dissent is crushed by violence make propaganda accusations that the pan-Greens are "violent" is unconscionable. Wanna see violence? Look up White Terror and martial law in Taiwan history....

On the other hand, perhaps it is good that everyone can see what supposedly serious academics from Beijing actually think.

However, despite the bizarre claims about the DPP, coming from the side that points missiles at Taiwan and promises to murder Taiwanese wholesale in order to annex their land, Chu did argue that the two sides should talk to each other, government to government....
And can one country have two equal-level of “central governments”? Normally, a state should not. But the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are not a normal state, therefore they cannot have completely normal governmental relations. In such a circumstance, they should accept and recognize the other as a “central government” within the “one China.” They should accept and work with the facts that there are two equal level governments within the current framework, and should normally call each other as the normal leaders and officials of a normal government.
Chu also called for a framework to normalize relations between the two sides. If you squint, this might seem something like sanity, but in fact it is the usual pro forma invocation of Beijing's claims that Taiwan is part of China. The piece is simply a long argument calling for political talks on the basis that Taiwan and China are "split" and that the Taiwan side should recognize that it is part of China. The framework he proposes is really just a stealth annexation of Taiwan under Beijing's One China rubric.

While Chu tends to blame the pro-Taiwan side for any problems that might arise with this little annexation fantasy, the reality is that nobody in Taiwan wants to be yoked to the PRC and so the next Ma Administration may be no more supportive of open and formal political talks than the current incarnation, whatever the KMT and CCP might be saying to each other in private. However, the DPP and the pan-Greens do make a nice whipping boy for the complete failure of Beijing to convince Taiwanese that being annexed to China would really be a good thing.

Meanwhile, speculation runs rampant. Why would Brookings host such an obviously propabombastic piece as if it were a serious piece of analysis? Is it a signal of some kind?
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D said...

My guess is that Brookings saw this as the closest thing we'll have to a current view on thinking about Taiwan within the Hu Jintao "administration", since it comes from a quasi-official cross-straits working group. And I guess they assume readers will approach it with the right eyes?

There is a lot of funny stuff in there. Like how he offhandedly defines "status quo" as "the facts that both “ROC” and “PRC” exist and claim to be the sovereign state of “the one China”". I thought "status quo" meant Taiwan is not under PRC control. His comments on the missiles are pretty comical too: "the Mainland participants try to convey to the Taiwan side that the Mainland military deployment along its cost is no longer focusing on Taiwan, but increasingly goes beyond Taiwan and counters growing American military activities in the Western Pacific, which are certainly a threat to China’s national security." That must be reassuring.

I wonder if the boilerplate vilification of the DPP will ever be put to rest. The "destroy by propaganda" approach hasn't worked very well for them with the Dalai Lama, Falungong, Ai Weiwei, or for the past 60 years generally. Perhaps they will see that?

Michael Turton said...

LOL. Nicely put, D.

Anonymous said...

The US liberal position is to love China. Is it because the left taken to the extreme is usually thought to end with communism? It's optimistic on all things foreign, and when you have a deceptive China, the liberals try to bend their minds to accept the extreme position.

The US conservative position is generally xenophobic and somewhat racist (though these days, sometimes it's not as obvious). So it's very natural to hate China and the policy tends to be quite hawkish on the China-Taiwan issue. Which happens to be the right position because China is going to take as much as it can from you unless you stand up and say no.

But I think though as people more familiar with the issues, culture, and people, we arrive at some conclusion, we need to remember the fundamental dangerous optimism and poisonous xenophobia that drives the positions of those unfamiliar with Taiwan and China.

Lon said...

There was a PRC official who came a couple years ago around the time Ma was proposing a change to the system of letting PRC citizens attend Taiwanese universities. He was visiting Confucius Temple in Tainan and an old lady started beating him on the sidewalk.

I saw a video report of it on the BBC world news front page at the time, but I can't find it now. So I think that technically a Chinese official has been beaten in Taiwan, and yes, it was really funny.