The Chinese democracy movement and Taiwan

The following article is taken from the Internet magazine "Huaxia Wenzhai / China News Digest", published in New York by Chinese students and dissidents (No. 513, January 4th, 1998)

Talking to Jiang Zemin about unification

by Xin Ming

Original text in Chinese
Secretary-General Jiang:

I am not a member of the Communist party. However, being nonetheless concerned about the Chinese Communist Party and about China, I would like to talk to you about the issue of unification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. I know, you are quite anxious about it. Being placed on the seat of Secretary-General at the age of 70 is not an easy task, after all, one needs some kind of great achievement to go down in history. However, the fruit of economic reform is ascribed to your friend Zhu [ie Premier Zhu Rongji] and you refrain from political reform. So the only thing you can do, is to write a chapter for history on the issues of Tibet and Taiwan. But these two issues are also quite tricky ones and not too much time is left of your term of office. You're in real danger of leaving the scene completely empty-handed!

Recently Grandpa Koo from Taiwan [note: first visit of the Chairman of the semi-official foundation concerned with contacts with China, the "Straits Exchange Foundation", Koo Chen-fu] undertook the hardship of a long journey to Beijing. To put it clearly, firstly, the "One China" in their mind is the "Republic of China"; secondly, if the mainland became democratic anything could be discussed. I believe you're quite clear about it yourself, the "People's Republic of China", that is presently under your leadership, is unacceptable to the people of Taiwan, and the people from the mainland have long since lost their supportive attitude from the year 49 when it was declared that "from now on the Chinese people have risen" [note: using these words, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China at the time]. On the contrary, rising mess and trouble has become more and more widespread. You and your comrades are dodging these facts and endulge in empty talk on "the great national cause", do you call that being wise? Is that of any use? Look, Vice Premier Qian [note: Qian Qichen, former Minister of Forreign Affairs] keeps on saying: "Making the Taiwan kind of democracy a decisive precondition for unification is obviously not realistic" and that the issue of both sides of the Strait is not a "rivalry of systems" and other foolish things of the sort! American style democracy doesn't suit China, French style democracy doesn't suit China, Taiwanese style democracy doesn't suit China, so, is Soviet style centralism after all suitable for China? So, why does the issue of political reform give you so bad headaches? In 1895 Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese, this lasted for 50 years. This fact alone resulted in a portion of our Taiwanese compatriots to develop a non-Chinese attitude. During the last 10 years, they terminated the "provisional terms for the suppression of the Communist rebellion" [note: clauses of the state of emergency that had remained in force from the times of the civil war right down to the eighties], they allowed new parties to be established and carried out general elections, and you lot are still sticking to "leadership by the party" with your "leadership" resulting in "putting down unrest", in military manoeuvres off the coast of Taiwan and in producing more and more political prisoners. Do you actually think you can make the Taiwanese relinquish their democratic life and throw themselves into the arms of your "leadership"? On top of that, you're even asking Taiwan to "end the confrontational attitude between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait". One can read your opinions in Taiwanese newspapers, how about your newspapers then? Who is actually being confrontational? This is a clear-cut case of a "rivalry of systems"!

Secretary-General Jiang, of course you're ostentatiously wagging with your "One country, two systems" thing. So let's have a look at that experimental base called Hongkong. Now the people of Hongkong enjoy the freedom of association and forming political parties, they can freely found newspapers and publish books, however, the people on the mainland of course can't; the people of Hongkong have the freedom to return to their ancestral places [ie in mainland China], but the people from the mainland cannot freely go in and out of that piece of olden Chinese land. Let me ask you this question: is this what you mean by "One country, two systems"? Or does this rather mean "One people, two classes"? Is this what you call real "unification"? Or is it rather just a formal return of territory?

Unification according to "One country, two systems" is nothing more than a nominal and formal joining together. To those in power, it means that they can award themselves a nice reputation for "upholding the great cause of national unification", but to the ordinary people it has no practical meaning, while the latter is what really counts. Let's have a look at today's Hongkong. Is has become the backgarden of your "crown princes party" [note: ie the sons of influential cadres]. Is it possible for ordinary people to go to Hongkong to study or to do business? Hongkong has not been returned to the people at all. Therefore, if you really want to get unified, what you have to do is to realise a merger of systems. You must engage in peace talks between both sides of the strait under the prerequisite of democratic principles and win the consent of the Taiwanese people, this is how your basic policy guideline towards Taiwan should look like.

If you're still not convinced, then I can only ask you to study the quotations of former Chairman Mao. In volume 3, page 432 of the "Selected works of Mao Zedong" the old fellow says: "What is the purpose of a revolution? It is to overcome that pressure (meaning imperialism), to release the productivity of the Chinese people, to liberate the Chinese people and let them be free. Therefore, firstly, we must strive for national independence, and secondly for democracy. Without these two, China will not be in a position to unite and will not be able to become rich and strong. Without independence, we will continue to be suppressed by imperialism, without democracy, we will continue to be subdued by the feudal forces, what about unification then?"

Secretary-General Jiang, your government is now independent, it is independent to such a degree that it needs no longer heed the voice of the people. But is it democratic? If you are a great leader, how could you forget that? When you're pondering the issue of unification and other social issues, you'd better first think thoroughly about the issue of democracy. Secretary-General Jiang, you really do not have much time left!


Original text in Chinese


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