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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan will never be an equal partner

Taiwan will never be an equal partner

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China rolled out a fine example of its command of Orwellian language and logic on Wednesday, with the State Council Information Office’s release of a nearly 18,000-word white paper on the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Taiwan, and the rest of the world, should take note.

In the paper, Beijing declared that the exiled Tibetan leader must focus on seeking China’s forgiveness for his separatist activities. It also claimed that the Buddhist monk supports and incites the waves of self-immolations by Tibetans, and his calls for Beijing to stop its drive for more Han Chinese migration into Tibet are “tantamount to an ethnic cleansing of the [Tibetan] plateau,” adding: “The Dalai group’s logic is absurd and chilling, proposing to force tens of millions of people of other ethnic groups out of this region, where they have lived for generations.”

Such delusions and gross distortions of the facts are nothing new for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but they should not go unchallenged.

However, the Dalai Lama might be suffering a delusion or two himself with his comments over the past year that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) might be open to starting dialogue on Tibet and describing Xi as a “realist” who is being held back by elements within the CCP. Any such hopes will surely have been quashed by the comments out of the Chinese capital in recent months, especially during the latest session of the Chinese National People’s Congress.

Yet the Dalai Lama is not alone in having such delusions. In the months leading up to Xi’s enthronement as head of the CCP and the Chinese presidency — and since then — many academics, think tank pundits and politicians have painted Xi as a liberal political reformer. Xi’s tenure so far has proven these people to be wishful dreamers and there are no indications that he will deviate from his path.

While Xi has made some changes designed to win over China’s growing middle class and hordes of migrant workers — such as easing the one-child policy and household registration system restrictions, abolishing the re-education camps and a far-reaching crackdown on high-level corruption within the party and state-run enterprises — he has also presided over a renewed assault on human rights and political freedoms.

He has also made it clear that he does not support either constitutional reform or judicial independence, which are crucial to loosening the CCP’s dictatorial rule. Then there is the cult of personality that is developing around Xi, which is never a good sign in a reformer.

In addition, the ramping up of Chinese claims to islands and land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea ensures tensions in the region will only increase.

Beijing’s attitude toward the Dalai Lama, Tibetans’ aspirations and those seeking a greater voice in public affairs in China — such as the five members of the Women’s Rights Action Group held for more than a month because they wanted to protest sexual harassment on public transportation — does not bode well for Taiwan.

All the kowtowing to Beijing over the past decade by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), talk of “descendants of the yellow emperor,” “family” and the economic agreements sought by the current administration might have brought limited economic benefits to Taiwan, but they have done nothing to ease the CCP’s antagonistic stance toward Taiwan as a nation or the fundamental freedoms and rights that Taiwanese have fought so hard to enjoy.

Taiwan still needs to engage with China, but it should not pretend that Xi and his cohorts would ever be willing to treat Taipei as an equal, or want what is best for Taiwanese. Like the Dalai Lama, Taiwanese have no need to apologize to Beijing for anything.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2015/04/18

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Questions as to whether President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was misquoted during an interview with foreign media are once again the subject of discussion, adding to a long string of back-and-forth mix-ups.

The Government Information Office (GIO) on Saturday asked a Japanese daily to run a correction on comments about cross-strait relations that were attributed to the president during an interview published last week.

A report by the Yomiuri Shimbun which said that Ma had accepted the “one China” principle was “inconsistent with the facts,” the GIO said, referring to the interview transcript that has since been posted on the Presidential Office Web site.