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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Old ideas from the New Party

Old ideas from the New Party

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In September 2014, New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), accompanied by the party’s spiritual leader, Hsu Li-nung (許歷農), led a contingent of Taiwanese politicians to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing. This was three years before Hsu declared that the New Party would no longer oppose the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and would push for unification.

At the meeting, Xi told Yok that the “one country, two systems” model would be the optimal way to peacefully and respectfully unify the political systems of China and Taiwan under the umbrella of the Chinese nation.

That meeting was the first time that a Chinese national leader spoke face-to-face with the leader of a Taiwanese party about the concept of implementing a “one country, two systems” model in Taiwan.

Xi said that Taiwanese “secessionist forces” needed to be stopped and that Taiwan’s younger generation needed to understand that its future was tied to that of China’s.

Yok mirrored Xi’s sentiments on that occasion, just as he reiterated the same old ideas at an event on Saturday last week marking 26 years since the New Party’s founding.

It is in this context, repeating the hopes and policy of the president of a hostile country, that Yok’s remarks — calling for the implementation of “one country, two systems” in Taiwan, rooting out the “secessionists” and promoting peaceful coexistence of the PRC and the Republic of China (ROC) under the umbrella of “China” — should be considered.

Yok said his model of coexistence was an entirely different animal from the “one country, two systems” currently foundering in Hong Kong, although it is difficult to see how he differentiates the two.

At its most fundamental, the idea makes perfect sense: The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party agree that there is only one China, and both have professed to represent that China.

However, Taiwanese remain divided over whether they would like to participate in a part of China, for a variety of reasons. Many polls show that increasing numbers of Taiwanese are identifying as Taiwanese, not Chinese, and not even those who identify primarily as Chinese would consider Taiwan to represent China before the world anymore.

When Xi spoke in 2014 of mutual respect for the people under the systems, he added that there were, after all, 1.4 billion people in China, compared with the 23 million in Taiwan. Behind his words was the idea that reality would eventually reflect the needs of the Chinese, not the Taiwanese.

Yok is simply echoing Xi’s words, but his suggestion that Taiwan and China could coexist as equal partners is ingenious, not as a solution, but as a sleight of hand: It is his bid to counter the generational sea change of “natural independence” that has been happening in Taiwan.

His bluff relies heavily on a willful blindness, not only to what has been happening in Hong Kong over the past two months, but what Beijing has been attempting over there since 1997 — in particular since Xi took power.

For all of Yok’s promoting of ideas of the leader of a hostile power, which would lead to the loss of Taiwan’s sovereignty, and his disingenuous attempt at hoodwinking the younger generation into believing in a better future that they do not want and will almost certainly never have — especially when many commentators are fearing a reprisal of the Tiananmen Massacre in Hong Kong in the very near future — the Mainland Affairs Council gave him a mere slap on the wrist, warning him that he is sailing too close to the wind.

Perhaps it is about time that the government showed a bit of backbone in dealing with the New Party’s dangerous rhetoric.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2019/08/22

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