Frank Ching in the NST delineates the tragic situation of poor Beijing, victimized by the heartless Taiwan identity:
Beijing is concerned that the sense of Taiwanese identity is growing stronger despite improved cross-strait relations. A majority of people on the island now identify themselves as solely Taiwanese rather than as both Chinese and Taiwanese.This is quite true. Even that rabid fan of all things KMT, TVBS, has found this in its polling. The March poll observed that with three possible choices -- clever of TVBS to offer these choices -- hardly anyone sees themselves as solely Chinese (3%). 54% are Taiwanese and 40% are both. If they only get two choices, Taiwanese or Chinese, the vast majority opt for the first. Among the young identification with China is tiny.
Ching goes on:
President Ma himself is doing what he can to reinforce a sense of Chinese identity.In the first sentence, Ching himself avers that President Ma is doing what he can to help maintain a sense of Chinese identity, surely a necessity for a peaceful annexation. In the next sentence, he reports that opposition politicians "fear" this as if he himself had not just asserted it was true. Hokay....
In April, he presided over a ceremony in honour of the Yellow Emperor, the mythical ancestor of Han Chinese, and was immediately excoriated by opposition politicians who feared that he was paving the way for unification with China.
Ching's major points, that "progress" between the two governments is likely to slow in Ma's second term, is probably true. As he notes, the KMT and the CCP had agreed on all the easy stuff and gotten that done. In the second term there is likely to be greater pressure for talks on annexation. Ching then transmits the Received Wisdom:
This is the nub of the issue. Beijing must realise that a consensus within Taiwan is the precondition to any successful political discussions between the two sides.Well, actually, it is possible for the CCP and KMT to reach an agreement and impose it on the people of Taiwan. Was there majority support for ECFA? Let's not forget, the KMT controls the legislature...would they be restrained by the fall in popularity, street demonstrations, etc? Good question.
Now that Taiwan is a democracy, it is not possible for the Communist Party and the Kuomintang to reach an agreement and impose it on the people of Taiwan.
More importantly, that word consensus appears there. This idea that Taiwan must reach a consensus is common in the literature from pundits on Taiwan. As I've noted before, Taiwan has already reached a consensus: no one here wants to be ruled by the PRC and the vast majority of people favor independence. Violations of that understanding are one important reason Ma's support plummeted during his first term.
So what can speakers for the Establishment mean when they use this word consensus? It often reads to me like just another euphemism for "do what Power wants" -- what they are really saying is that Taiwanese must agree to be annexed before they can be annexed. But it could very well mean that Taiwanese must come to a consensus on what concrete actions to take. It never reads that way to me, though. since that statement is almost never made so clearly.
It is hard to see, given the KMT's adamant refusal to allow meaningful expressions of public sentiment through binding referendums, how such a consensus could manifest itself. Perhaps those who speak about consensus could more gainfully employ their time and pixels by talking to the KMT about letting a consensus be formally and meaningfully evaluated via democratic process, instead of wagging fingers at Taiwan for not having a consensus. But I suspect they don't do that precisely because they know what the results would be....
Ching then claims that Ma's goal is for China to democratize. I have trouble believing that, but let's skip to his last important claim:
In fact, it may well be that the only way Beijing's goal of reunification can be achieved is if, before that, it developed democratic institutions like those on Taiwan.Actually, there is a consensus on this as well. As Emerson Niu's survey found:
Q4. If only small political, economic, and social disparity exists between Mainland China and Taiwan, do you favor or not favor Taiwan unifying with China?Even if China democratizes, Taiwanese don't want to give up their ability to rule themselves.
Not Favor: 56.4%
On the positive side, the call for democracy provides a plausible reason to delay discussions on annexation with China.
On a related topic, re President Ma's defining Taiwan as an ethnic Chinese society and "Chinese democracy", a friend writes:
There was an interesting exchange at the Legislature after the inauguration where members of the cabinet were asked if they were descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors per Ma's comments in his inaugural address.
Sun Dachuan, the head of the Council for Indigenous Peoples, a Puyuma, replied 'No, I am not'.
Hai Zhongxiong (Mongolian Affairs Department) said that he and Genghis Khan were not Chinese (Zhongguo ren) or 'Descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors'. Instead, they were Mongolians.
His boss Luo Yingxue however thought that there 'were different definitions of descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors' and that according to one broad interpretation, the Han, the Manchus, the Mongolians, the Hui, the Miao, and the Yao are all descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors. [MT: note that one definition of the ROC includes Outer Mongolia as ROC territory]
I also noticed that Ma's 'blood and soil' nationalistic statements in his inaugural address were sanitized.
兩岸人民同屬中華民族，都是炎黃子孫，擁有共同的血緣、歷史與文化This was rendered into English as
The people on both sides of the Strait are members of the Chinese people [race], 'Descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors, who have a common blood, history, and culture.
The people of the two sides of the strait share a common Chinese ethnic heritage. We share common blood lines, history and culture.Ask yourself if someone who thinks that way is really a believer in a democratic polity based on citizen participation in a free society.
- Order a box of mangoes and support the Green Party!
- Japan Times: strangely written, but essentially grasps the problem of whether Taiwan will be able to survive the propaganda blitz of "China's legitimate national interests" and similar sewage outflows from the sellout crowd.
- Director of anti-nuke flash mob reportedly placed under tax investigation and violations of Public Safety Act.
- J Michael observes that the recent decisionmaking is alienating Taiwan's US supporters.
- Alert Alert Alert : Taiwan is trying to enter the international aviation organization ICAO. American Citizens for Taiwan has an action alert that explains how you can take action to help push that forward. Go thou and help!
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.